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Masters Wish List

June 2004
George Mathews

Soon, most USATF masters athletes will be receiving information from the USATF Foundation asking you to consider your passionate interest in track & field when you do your estate planning. We hope that you all give this serious consideration. Many will ask, "What will they do with my money?" The real question is "What do YOU want them to do with your money?" There are many ways that the money can be spent. You can direct this. But what is best for our sport if we have extra money?

I'll throw out some ideas, but I would like to hear your ideas as well. The first consideration might be for those things that are not doing very well. How about making sure that have a Masters Association Championships in all 57 associations, or making sure that we run all our Regional Indoor and Outdoor Championships as well as we can? And the same for all of our other National Indoor and Outdoor Championships. How about additional indoor meets for the East, West, and center of the country?

Memorial meets are another great idea. Some of you may be familiar with the Chuck McMahon meet we have every year in San Diego. As I understand it, Mr. McMahon was a thrower who left a sum of money, the interest of which is used to put on a meet in his honor every year. It provides additional competitive opportunities for our members.

You don't have to pay for a whole meet, but maybe an event in a significant meet. Even though it was a sponsor, AdvoCare paid the Modesto Relays to set up a masters hammer throw this year. I'm sure other major meets would be happy to add masters events if they provided extra income.

Maybe we could publicize the meets better by getting them on cable TV. Perhaps we could publicize our sport better if we hired a publicity organization to run ads in various different media. The paid kind.

How about making an effort to increase our membership? How many "baby boomers" out there don't know we exist? We have our own national and masters media people who do a great job getting free publicity for our national championships, but that only lasts for a short period of time.

Some think we should provide a fund to compensate, in some way, our highest performing athletes. I personally think this runs contrary to our mission. We are already perceived too much as an "elitist" organization.

How about prize money? Maybe for one meet or a series of meets. Maybe bigger and better awards.

How about some awards and or compensation for our officials? Something that would reward them for working our meets.

Should we have our own full-time professional staff? We get a lot of help from the National Office, but we don't have a dedicated position. The National Senior Games, which deals with athletes age-50+, has an office staff, but it serves many sports.

Does someone want to provide uniforms to all athletes at, let's say, our national championships?

How about seed money for the development and support of clubs? I believe this is the future of our sport.

A special fund to rent practice facilities? You may think that's impractical and silly, but anyone can say how their contributions will be spent.

Again, please give your input on this important opportunity to do something positive for masters track and field.

Olympic Trials

Speaking of opportunities! Thanks to Stephanie Hightower, John Chaplin, Vince Peters, and Sandra Farmer-Patrick for allowing USATF Masters to have two exhibition races at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field in Sacramento on July 17. We will have a men's and women's 800 at 4:25 and 4:10, respectively. Thanks also to John Cosgrove for pushing us to get this done.

Mark Cleary, as usual, is working hard putting the field together and will make sure that the races are executed to perfection. We would like to see a large contingent of masters athletes supporting their colleagues in these races.

Thanks for your support.

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