July 13, 2017
It’s time to bring back an irregular feature on LetsRun.com, “Running in the Real World,” where we highlight how track and field is perceived in the real world. Maybe this feature is irregular because track and field barely causes a blip in the bigger sports world in the United States.
On Friday, LetsRun.com co-founder Wejo was listening to the best sports radio station in the country, SportsRadio 1310/96.7 The Ticket in Dallas/Fort Worth, when talk surprisingly turned to track and field.
The hosts weren’t talking about the Diamond League meet in Lausanne, the upcoming Diamond League meet in London, or even Usain Bolt.
They were talking about The Freeze, the Atlanta Braves mascot enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. As a result of talking about The Freeze, they were talking about the TrackTown Summers Series final in New York City, as The Freeze had been at the TrackTown meet to race some fans from the crowd giving them a 20-meter head start. The Freeze got beat, but that didn’t prevent him from getting interviewed on ESPN’s SportsCenter, and from getting discussed on the Ticket.
If you’ve got 3 minutes and 25 seconds and can laugh at yourself, it’s worth a listen. The hosts mock the concept of a track league in the United States, and the idea that track and field is popular anywhere in the US.
If you don’t want to listen, some highlights (or lowlights):
They Classify The Freeze as a World-Class Sprinter
“He’s a world-class sprinter, his name is Nigel Talton.”
We at LetsRun would say Talton, who has PRs of 10.47 in the 100 and 21.66 in the 200, is more the equivalent of a minor league baseball player.
On Team Track and Field: “I think the WNBA is laughing at these guys”
Host Dan McDowell: “I turn on ESPN, they have this track and field thing and they actually have teams.”
McDowell talking about The Freeze racing, “Apparently this was just a bit beforehand to get you a little loosened up before the real serious running – 100 yards in a row starts. They have teams though, the Portland Pulse, the New York Empire, the Philadelphia Force, and the San Francisco Surge.”
Other host: “That’s it – there’s a four-team league?”
They then discuss how the names are very PC and all don’t end in “S”
“I don’t know if this is the whole league or just last night’s game.”
“They don’t have a team in like, Vicksburg, Mississippi?”
“[No, they only have teams] where track and field is extremely popular.”
“You can’t throw a rock in Philadelphia without hitting like, a — they’ll just have neighborhood sprint-offs… They have pickup track and field events in Philadelphia.”
“When I go to San Francisco, it’s Pier 39, it’s Ghirardelli Chocolate, it’s maybe take the trip out to Alcatraz and then go see the Surge… (others start laughing).”
Mocking: “The hottest ticket in town.”
“Usually before I do any of these other things, I check and see if the Surge are – is it playing? Meeting?”
“I think the WNBA is laughing at these guys, right? Like, ‘Guys you’re not real, like us.’”
One thing is clear to LetsRun.com: the time to put on track and field meets in the US is in the summer, when baseball is the only sport in town. These guys were talking track and field because nothing else was on TV and the local Texas Rangers had an off day. Why not host a huge July 4th meet somewhere every year?
If you’re got more time, here is the lead-in to the clip above. They talk at length about The Freeze.