INDIANAPOLIS - Ten-year-old Tai Brown gazed toward the high jump mat and focused on the bar set higher than he is tall, but that did not faze him as he began his approach and sailed cleanly over the bar to claim the USATF Youth National Indoor title. Watching Brown, it is obvious that he is a talented young athlete, but he is so much more than just a young track star.
Tai with his spike autographed by David Oliver
As successful as Brown is on the track, the young New Yorker from Brooklyn is equally successful in the classroom. He loves to compete in robotics competitions where he works with a team to build a robot out of Legos and program it to complete a specified mission. He serves on his school’s student council as a class representative. He says writing is his favorite subject, especially literary critique, and he has an insatiable appetite for books. Weekdays in the Brown house are busy with homework, track practice and martial arts, but the one place you won’t find Tai on a school night is in front of the TV.
“When school is in session, there is no television,” said Tai’s mother Debbie Gittens. “He has to do his homework.”
Gittens went on to explain “The only other rule in our house is to take pride in your work, take pride in your reading and take pride in your writing, and I think it shows in how meticulous he is.”
While other kids his age are watching TV or playing video games, Brown spends his time reading and dreaming about his future. Brown already declares that he will be going to college and compete in track and field for LSU or USC. He keeps a track and field book where he writes down his accomplishments and schemes up new goals like setting the American Record in the high jump.
While Brown has tried other sports like soccer and basketball, track and field is the one sport he truly loves. Growing up being toted along to his older sister’s track practices and meets, Brown eventually began wandering out on the track and running around on his own. Brown joined his first club team at five-years-old and has tried his hand at events ranging from the 400m to cross country and even hurdles and high jump. When asked why he chose track and field, the sport is so much a part of Brown’s life that he has trouble explaining why. To him, track and field is simply fun.
When Brown grows up he wants to use his love of building things from robotics to be a mechanic, but he will quickly add that no matter what he is doing he still wants to be involved in the sport he loves, track and field.