Boston, Champions All
We want to congratulate all the the athletes who won National Championships and set 30 U.S. and 16 world records. In my eyes everyone who showed up and participated is a champion. It would have been easy, considering the high alert conditions, and the fact that most airlines were waiving penalties, to just take a pass on this Championships. I think we showed our strong American spirit and heart that we have for our sport by making the Championships one of our best. We salute you all for your participation.
Boston was also the first time we started unofficially scoring our club participation. At the athlete's meeting on Saturday night there was a strong positive reaction to the announcement of the clubs scores. I think many people are starting to realize that the club concept is a significant element of the satisfaction we get from this sport. Many of us had the great experience of representing a school during our early competitive days. Masters track & field has brought back that competitive experience and probably a greater sense of collegiality, but hasn't, if you don't belong to a club, given recognition for representing anything other than ourselves. The club provides a second level of competition that may enhance the experience for many.
There is a strong feeling within USATF that the club is the basic grass roots element for the growth of our sport. I hope that this club movement will be embraced by most of our athletes. If we like this activity the Masters Committee may well wish to make the scoring official in the future and maybe consider a separate Champion as they have in the open ranks.
Some athletes have been trying to create a national club format. There has been strong direction away from this within USATF. Mostly because it is felt that it undermines the basic local character of the club and retards growth.
We have recently become aware of the process to be followed when an athlete wishes to join another club outside his or her association. Formerly, you could only join clubs in adjoining associations with permission of both associations. Now it is possible to join clubs anywhere in the country as long as permission is granted by the two associations involved. They have made this easier by having all requests going through the Manager of Association Services in Indianapolis, Andy Martin (Andy.Martin@usatf.org). It should be understood that when an athlete joins a club in another association in this manner the athlete then represents the new club association for association and regional championships. Athletes can participate in their resident association but can't be the resident champion. To be the association or regional champion they must participate in the championships where the club is based.
2004 WMA Indoor Meet
Many thanks to The New York Armory for the fantastic site visit they provided for Torsten Carlius, President of WMA, who traveled all the way from Sweden and Rex Harvey, Vice-President (Stadia), who traveled all the way from Cleveland. Sandy Pashkin, also a member of the WMA Stadia Committee, traveled by subway from Cathedral Parkway in Manhattan. Dr. Norbert Sander, his staff and local dignitaries, did a wonderful job in proving that they are the best site for this first championships. Particularly since New York is the only one of the three bidders (the others are Sindelfingen, Germany, and Malmo, Sweden, have four lanes) which has a six-lane track.
The WMA Council will make its decision by the end of April, with (hopefully if its the U.S.) ratification by the General Assembly in Puerto Rico.