Pete Taylor on last legs as USATF masters nationals announcer?

Pete (left) had help at 2014 masters nationals.

Pete Taylor, 71, has wisened since my last full-blown interview with him in 2002. He’s also been through several medical wringers. But Pete is always worth listening to — either as a meet announcer or masters observer — so here’s another Q&A. This time, I delve into his day job. And his boss at Palladian Partners graciously offered his thoughts as well. Robert “Rob” Wald, director of editorial services, told me: “People in the masters track and field world probably don’t know how multitalented Peter Taylor is. I’ve been in the health and science communications business for more than 20 years, and I’ve worked with dozens and dozens of editors. The simple truth is that Peter is the best editor I’ve ever run across.”

Rob continued:

He’s careful, thorough and fast, to be sure. But what really sets Peter apart is the way he works with authors and helps them better understand and ‘see’ their writing in a new way. Peter is a part-time employee now, but when he worked full time for us, he would receive several rave reviews and notes of thanks from our clients every week. In our line of work, that’s unheard of. No one on our staff, which is stocked with talent, received so much consistent praise. Will Grand Rapids be your last masters nationals?

Pete Taylor: It’s a question of endurance. At Albuquerque in March, I announced 218 races, some of the high jump (especially Olympian Chaunte Lowe), and almost nothing else. I ate no lunch, took no extended breaks, and yet it was not all that hard.

If I am asked by Albuquerque to announce there next year, I will probably accept, or perhaps I will have declined physically too much by that time. Key issues are voice preservation, warding off physical and mental fatigue, and being able to get the information needed for my announcing.

In terms of difficulty, the outdoor championships are three times as hard as the indoors. I remember last year getting up at 3:30 a.m. on the final day of Jacksonville nationals. As I recall, the first track event on the final day was set for 6:30 a.m., although the schedule from last year now shows it as 7.

My hotel was a pretty good drive from the meet, I had no place to get breakfast on the final day, there were far too many trials, etc., etc. It was rough.

I hate these very early starts. Let me go further — as an announcer I would like to ban all early starts – nothing before 9 is my motto. This is largely a personal issue; it’s just too rough to get everything done early, which may include a search for breakfast, traveling to the meet, finding parking or taking a cab, etc. If the first event is at 8 I should be there no later than 7:30; just imagine what I have to do between 5:00 and 7:25, not to mention getting a short sleep.

One of the hardest outdoors was my second one, the 2001 championships in Baton Rouge, and the same site (Louisiana State University) will be used in 2017. No way am I going there again.

In 2001, I was assigned to one of the dormitories at LSU, and we were told to bring our linens with us on the plane, as there was no linen service during the meet. In addition, there was no cafeteria service.

Announcing there was like performing for 8 days, as each day we had a morning session, took an extended break, and then had an afternoon-evening session. After that was over, people like me had to walk to a place off the campus, eat something, then walk all the way back to the dorm fairly late at night (I got lost coming back only once). I had to do the same thing in the morning for breakfast.

I did find a restaurant, but the meals were substandard. On the final day, I simply consumed an orange soda for breakfast and headed over to the meet. Let me add that early in the meet I found I was supposed to add the awards ceremonies to my regular announcing. It was impossible to do well at both, and I even got into a shouting match with one of the organizers about that. My words: “You’re killing me.”

I will stay in a dormitory at Grand Valley State University, and there the question becomes the alignment of two schedules that may be out of sync: the one for the cafeteria and the one for the meet. I am very much concerned about having events at 8 a.m. or even earlier, and I’m guessing that Grand Rapids will have some of those, possibly even some at 7:30. This can simply crush the announcer, as the meet must be given precedence over meals. I am expecting to have huge difficulties in Grand Rapids in terms of both breakfast and dinner.

Also relevant to my choices of whether to announce nationally in the future would be the expectations for the announcer. I have come up dreadfully short of expectations for the position, especially in the throws and the horizontal jumps (long jump and triple jump).

Let’s take the throws first. In Albuquerque, Victor DeMarines topped a field of seven in the M50 shot put with a very nice throw of 15.13 meters, or 49 feet, 7¾ inches. I have no idea who Victor is, nor did I say a word about him or any of his throws.

One of the key difficulties with the throws and horizontal jumps is that the announcer does not know which of the six tries will be the best of the day for that athlete. Imagine having a very short sprint, the 20-meter dash, and running it six different times for each athlete. You can’t tell from looking at the sprints which one will turn out to be the fastest of the six, what the time was, etc. Now that would be hard to announce.

Now think about the discus, the triple jump, or something else in which you get six attempts but the announcer knows nothing about the progress or results of any one competitor (earlier distances, distance for the attempt just completed).

In addition, you have track events going on simultaneously, events in which the entire group competes at one time rather than individually as in the field events. The track events can easily drown out the field events, both figuratively and literally.

Choices have to be made, and for various reasons I have emphasized the running events. Perhaps some critics of mine are overly influenced by television, where they see the broadcasters cover track events and then cut away to jumping or throwing events. I have trouble doing that.

Remember, one must set the stage. Who is that thrower or jumper, which attempt will this be, what is his/her best throw/jump to this point, who is the current leader, and so forth? In Jacksonville in 2015, we tried to cover Henry Ellard, a former National Football League star, in the triple jump. Sitting very high up we needed to be absolutely sure of which competitor he was (what was he wearing?).

Finally, we sent someone down there, but he/she was rebuffed by security. After that, a woman who was bringing us lunch volunteered to go down there, and she wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. She identified Henry for us, and we were set. I don’t recall announcing any of the other triple jumpers, however, although we might have mentioned one.

One thing I have noticed recently is that the bloom is off the rose for me in terms of respect. Last year at Southeastern Masters (Raleigh, NC) a sprinter simply decided to rip me at very close quarters to express a perceived shortcoming of mine. In July in Jacksonville a different person came up to the booth to give me a message that I had messed up the announcing of a particular race, the 5000 as I recall. It was hard to get rid of him, as he was persistent if not correct.

Like many people who have perhaps hung on too long, I’ve moved into a stage where I am no longer an “idol” – the tide has definitely turned. People feel free to tear into me.

Do you consider yourself semiretired from Palladian? Tell me about your tenure there, whose work you edited? Any big names in the medical world?

I started at Palladian Partners (Silver Spring, Maryland) in the mid-1990s and am indeed semiretired. The great bulk of my editorial work has been for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) ranking a distant second.

My self-imposed standard as an editor is whether a general physician (such as a family practitioner) could understand the final copy. In other words, I put myself in the place of that physician. Without question, I have edited more on diabetes than on any other subject.

I call myself an editor in epidemiology, public health, and preventive medicine, three fields that overlap heavily. How do you get to be good enough? (a) Do a lot of reading on your own, especially of journal articles. (b) Study very carefully how the top journals, such as New England Journal of Medicine and Annals of Internal Medicine, handle things.

You can observe muscle weakness and hand/leg tremors. Over time, in some patients, symptoms disappear without discontinuation of the drug, but in others, they may last for a long time.

I’m talking about choice of words, the way the article evolves from introduction to conclusion, statistical analyses, and many other factors. You’re telling a story, and the reader is learning valuable things from you along the way. Do not insult the reader with unnecessary repetition, consider the evolving state of the reader’s knowledge of your topic as the article proceeds, and so forth.

As far as big names, none of the people I’ve edited would be widely known by readers of this blog. I have been mentioned in Lancet and, I believe, JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), as well as in many other leading journals. In addition, I have edited several reports of the U.S. surgeon general, most often on smoking and health (I have done this as an employee of Palladian and, more recently, as an independent contractor).

You’ve overcome prostate cancer, a blood clot in the lung and a stroke. What’s your current health? What lingering effects do you feel from these ailments?

My current health is fair, as I am overweight (about 204) and lack energy despite working out aerobically seven times a week. In addition, I have developed chronic stiffness in my legs. I had brachytherapy (a form of radiation therapy) for prostate cancer, and thus the lingering effects I feel are from the treatment, not the cancer per se.

Surprisingly, I have essentially recovered from all the negative effects of being treated with radiation, although complete recovery was not achieved until about 12 years after treatment. The primary effects of the blood clot in the lung and my two strokes would be seen in the drugs my physicians prescribe for me, not in my physical health.

Perhaps there was enough damage from the strokes to reduce my cognitive abilities; I am not really sure. I used to have a pretty decent memory, but it has fallen off in recent years.

Besides nationals and other major meets, you’ve announced the Hartshorne masters miles? When did you begin? How many so far?

Tom Hartshorne, the son of the man being honored by the Hartshorne miles, is the world’s greatest host, among other things. In January 2017, I will drive 6 hours and 20 minutes or so from Fairfax, Virginia, to Ithaca, New York, to announce this race for the 11th consecutive time.

The names of the runners change, but my routine does not. I stay at the same hotel (selected by Tom), we go to the same restaurant the night before, Tom always picks me up the morning of the event to drive to Cornell, etc.

I already know the location of the three rest stops I will make in January 2017, can anticipate every turn on the route, will marvel once again at the beautiful scenery in northern Pennsylvania, will enjoy going through areas with a real history, and so forth. Yes, revisiting a familiar routine can be very pleasurable.

I tell people that Lorraine Jasper of middle-distance fame is kind enough to dance with me at the party afterwards. Lorraine has not been there every time, but it’s better for me if she is. This past January, however, I tried to put on a few new dance moves and got a very poor grade (not from Lorraine, but from a woman with a short last name who shall remain nameless). This runner gave me a 36, for crying out loud. I swear I deserved at least a 65. I may have to take some lessons.

Name the top five male and female masters athletes you’ve seen in person. Not in any order.

Does Olympian Chaunte Lowe count? She’s been in our meets, but she’s still under 35. Watching her up close in Albuquerque was amazing, as her ability to change from going in a horizontal direction to soaring almost straight up is spectacular, to say the least. She’s only 5-9, but at Albuquerque she high jumped 1.94 meters (6 feet, 4¼ ).

I’ve seen Olympian Ed Burke in person, and his form in the weight throw and super weight is extremely impressive in its speed and, of course, in the results he obtains.

For sprinters who regularly attend our meets I would go with Bill Collins, who is somewhat unusual in that he was a big star collegiately (Texas Christian) and as an open runner and then simply continued without a major break. I am tremendously impressed by Willie Gault, but I have announced him in just one meet to date.

I’m a huge fan of Irene Obera, as this 80+ sprinter gallops like a much younger woman. The key here is deception; will the average onlooker with no track experience be deceived? Tell someone who is perhaps a tennis player aged 45 or so to watch Irene from a distance of about 50 meters away. She might say, “That young woman can fly, but she seems to have a bit of gray in her hair.” I would respond, “Well, she’s over 80.”

Name the top male and female performances you’ve seen. What made them special?

Among the women, I would have to go with Irene Obera in any of several sprint performances I have seen over the years. Why? She runs young, and she runs fast. I would lean toward Bob Lida among the men, even though I cited Bill Collins above. People who know track just can’t believe that he has run 13.49 (100) and 27.73 in the 200 while in the 75-79 age group. Both are world records, of course.

Bob runs like a locomotive, to use a word that might be unfamiliar to your younger readers. Without question, however, I could list 40 other athletes who can be included here. Going in reverse order in terms of age that would include The Great Earl Fee, Kathy Bergen, Ty Brown and numerous other stalwarts.

Who might be your successor as regular announcer at masters nationals?

I wouldn’t think that anyone would want this job. Put bluntly, it’s a job that can’t be done well.

You’ve seen meet management close up. How can USATF or event directors improve how masters meets are run?

In terms of track events, there are too many trials. When they make me king I will throw out the great bulk of the trials, beginning with the hurdles.

Having so many trials may be viewed by some as an illustration of fairness, but the trials drag out the meet, cause a lot of uncertainty, and are just not good overall. I will rid us of all trials in the hurdles and in any races beyond 200 meters. If there are a lot of runners in a five-year age group, run two sections on time, with the faster runners competing in the second section.

In terms of uncertainty, masters plan their trip with the scheduled trials very much in mind. I still remember the great Tony Young traveling all the way from the state of Washington to the great state of Maine (Orono, to be precise) to participate in the 1500 trials at nationals.

Yes, we used to have trials in the 1500, as unwise as that may seem now. Tony did a lot of warming up, only to find that the 1500 had rolled to a final later in the meet. What a waste. In the case of the 800, the scenario of having the runners arrive on Wednesday, show up at the track on Thursday for a preliminary, then waiting around until Saturday for their final after the trial “rolled over” was repeated an unconscionable number of times in the past. We need to re-examine what we do.

In the field events, it would be nice to have “display boards” or whatever they’re called to let people know how high the bar is in the pole vault or high jump. In terms of announcing, it would be good to have a second announcer who wanders from field event to field event to give people an idea of what’s going on, who’s excelling, and so forth, especially in the throws and the horizontal jumps. This worked quite well in Oshkosh in 2009.

Also, we may need more coverage in terms of weighing the implements and otherwise inspecting them. Selection of a good site for the long throws is critical, of course. I understand that Olathe (2013) was quite bad, and Berea (2011) had a poor venue for the hammer, as I recall.

USATF has competition now from masters games and other multisport
festivals. How can USATF make its meets more attractive? Prize money?

This has been discussed a lot, and I don’t have a great deal to add. I would consider a merger with some other organization or at least some joint events. To use a business example, if you had a company in which your gross revenues were dramatically higher in 2000 than they were in 2015, you should consider looking for a partner. We should do what is possible in terms of joint ventures with the Senior Games.

Should masters track expand drug-testing? Or should USATF masters push for more exceptions to USADA rules?

Surprisingly, we haven’t had a lot of “scandals” in which someone was busted for taking a necessary drug, or at least a drug deemed necessary by that competitor and her/his physician. Still, this remains a challenge, with the basic issue being that masters athletes are very much different from collegiate and open athletes and thus need different rules.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.9% of Americans aged 65 or over have diabetes (either diagnosed or undiagnosed). Sounds to me like a population that is very much different from that found on the track and field teams at the University of Oregon, Villanova, etc.

Would you consider writing a tell-all book on masters track?

I’ve told a lot, but only to friends and acquaintances. No, I won’t write such a book.

How do you rate the USATF masters national office-holders? Are they doing all they can to advance the interests of masters athletes?

I assume that they take their responsibilities very seriously and are doing the best they can in light of budgetary constraints and competition from the U.S. Senior Games and the state seniors meets

What will you do with your time when fully retired?

I enjoy teaching ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) classes at a local church, and I will probably continue with that. If I dare, I will do some serious writing about the ways in which our lives are evolving here in the US. I do like history, particularly social and economic history, and I might have something useful to say in those areas.

In terms of my personal life, I have even thought of getting married for the first time, but that seems unlikely, as I don’t think any woman would put up with me, especially given my lack of experience with the married life. Better for a woman to choose someone who has been married before, even married two or three times, than to select someone who has never been married. Actually, living with a woman for an extended time might be a good alternative.

How do you want to be remembered in masters track?

I set forth an interesting way of announcing, one that emphasizes what’s going on currently rather than results and includes various attempts to use my voice to convey excitement, incredulity, respect, and so forth. Many people like my style, while others no doubt abhor it. So be it.

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June 17, 2016

33 Responses

  1. Francois Boda - June 17, 2016

    Great article Ken. The one thing that always stands out about Pete is the tremendous respect he shows to all athletes. He is obviously always very prepared and brings much added value to the meets he announces. Great announcer but also a great human being.

  2. Terry Parks - June 17, 2016

    Thanks for all your hard work Pete. I only felt that I had actually arrived as far as Masters track once you announced me as a former Stanford runner. That was pretty cool that you looked that up.

    Reading this article makes me wonder how it is possible for one human to do your job. Amazing! Thank you for making the Nationals much more interesting.

  3. Lindy Raney - June 18, 2016

    Thanks to Pete for your excellent announcing at Masters meets. I have only been to a handful of national meets yet Pete knew who I was. Incredible knowledge of our sport and people. Hard to imagine why anyone would rip into Pete but I guess that is the world we now live in. Best wishes to your future Pete and hope your health improves.

  4. wayne bennett - June 18, 2016

    A great announcer with a great memory of people and their accomplishments. I have several memories of his comments as I went down the track. The greatest is “Bennett’s flying, Bennett’s flying” as I won my first national championship in 2002 at Maine. I can still hear those words today. Thank you Peter.

  5. Kenton brown - June 18, 2016

    To add to Wayne’s point…at this years indoor masters 200m finals 70-74, I remember “this is a field you would only see at Worlds” coming over the PA. Focused and made the moment more special and important; sorry I only got in on the tail end of pete’s tenure.

  6. Rob Jerome - June 18, 2016

    Pete is the “soundtrack” of Masters meets. Without him would be like watching “Lawrence of Arabia” without its sweeping score. He builds excitement, places results in historical contexts and creates a feeling of organization even when meets are not that well-organized. I’ve photographed meets all over the world and Pete is simply the best announcer there is.

  7. Bill Collins - June 18, 2016

    Pete, we all have been around this great sport of ours called Masters track and field for a more then 25 years. We have seen a lot of changes during our time. You have been a constant in our sport as one of the best announcer in the world, it has been a pleasure and joy to call you a friend on and off the track. We have had many conversation on issues as it relates to bettering our sports. We live in a different world today, and people are for you or against you. Those thing in life we just have to except. You will always be in my prayers, and I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

  8. tb - June 18, 2016

    Sounds like he needs to invest in a cooler with wheels and load up with food. Those are long days.

  9. dave albo - June 19, 2016

    I think we are fortunate to have a genius in our midst, that’d be you Peter. No one has done more to bring energy and life to the masters scene especially averaged over so many years.

    I’d suggest you keep doing this, but take some breaks and let some events slip through without your participation. Eat breakfast! Pick maybe just a few key races and do only those. A little of you would be a lot better than nothing.

  10. Dave Neumann - June 19, 2016

    Your announcing has been extraordinary and elevated the event experience, not unlike the great announcers like Curt Gowdy, Jim Mckay, and Howard Cosell, all ow whom had a unique style and delivery. Thank you.

  11. David E. Ortman (M63), Seattle, WA - June 19, 2016

    Yes, many thanks to Peter for both his memory of masters athletes and his announcing ability. He is a national masters treasure. A meet without Peter would be like watching the Sound of Music with the sound turned off. That said, the field events, which often take place out of sight of the track, would benefit with some announcing help. You can’t announce what you can’t see.

  12. Rob Jerome - June 19, 2016

    One possible solution to assisting Pete with including the field events in his announcing would be to have a USATF intern (someone possibly interested in a sports announcing career) roam the field and feed information back to Pete.

    The lucky intern would certainly be learning at the feet of the Master Announcer of Masters.

  13. Terry Ballou - June 19, 2016

    Simply put, Peter is the unsung hero of masters track. As many have stated above, his knowledge of the athletes is nothing short of astonishing and it is clear to all that he is passionate about the sport. He is his own worst critic, often dwelling on one thing he got wrong rather than the 99.9% he got right. We appreciate all that you do for us, Peter. No retirement for you soon, you are too much in demand!

  14. Arnie Pollinger - June 19, 2016

    I like the wheeled cooler stuffed with food idea. I would chip in for that. Peter is such a great announcer and makes championship track meets so much more exciting.

  15. Doug thompson - June 19, 2016

    Pete, if you do Albuquerque next year I will come over from Phoenix and be your personal valet to make sure you get fed and to the venue on time. If interested let ken know as I believe he has my email address.

  16. Joseph Burleson - June 20, 2016

    Tens of thousands of us have listened to this wonderful man over the decades, sometimes feeling incredulous, but always transfixed by the fact that OUR name! was being mentioned. Peter Taylor is inarguably the most unifying force and source of inspiration at all the meets he has graciously agreed to honor. In a perfect world, Dwight Stones would still be Pete’s intern on TV (and earning way less!), learning all the while from the Master of Masters’ T&F. From superstar to newbie, once Pete learns your middle name (or your high school PB), he will not likely ever forget it. We are all so lucky to have been in his watchful presence.

  17. Doug Spencer - June 20, 2016

    Thank you for all the years of service, you are the “best” I have ever experience both as a participant and a spectator . GOD BLESS YOU !

  18. Karla Del Grande - June 20, 2016

    Peter is such a knowledgeable, respectful, passionate fan of our sport … and we’re masters! We are lucky to have him at a meet, adding his unique commentary. Meet directors should support him with food and water, field event assistance, and the respect that he deserves.

  19. Rick Easley - June 20, 2016

    Pete take care of your health first. I am taking this year to do the same. That being said, I am very hopeful that when I do return to the sport, it will be to the same familiar sound of your voice. The Nationals are just not the same when you are not there and I see no one currently around to fill the void that will be left when you hang up the mike

  20. Daphne Sluys - June 20, 2016

    Peter: Care for your health with the same enthusiasm and intense attention to detail that we hear in your announcing. You are with us round that track every step of the race; your voice and what you say has definitely motivated me to run faster.
    Looking forward to seeing you again. Meet Directors….please take good care of our Announcer(s).

  21. Don Cheek - June 20, 2016

    Hi Peter,I have heard track announcers from the Penn Relays (which you attended and reminded me about)as a high school competitor in 1948 to my beginning of Masters Track at the Worlds in Toronto in 1975–and to date, but have not heard anyone with the knowledge,grasp and articulation that you have–you’re simply one of the best.Our sport is better because of you. Trust your health stays good and you find a good woman. God Bless. Don Cheek

  22. Martha Mendenhall - June 21, 2016

    You are truly THE best!!! There has not been a Master’s Meet that I have attended (I’ve been to a few in 22 years competing Masters)that wasn’t enhanced by your savant like knowledge of each and every athlete. The amount of energy you put in to your announcing shows that this is NOT just a job for you. It is a calling. You have always made every competitor feel special and valued in our sport. I can remember an indoor National Meet in Albuquerque, I believe (I know you’ll correct me if I’m wrong:-), that the Meet Organizers decided would be announced by a local radio announcer. Well…THAT was an abysmal failure, and many were unhappy. We love you. You ARE Mr. Track and Field! Martha

  23. Kay Glynn - June 21, 2016

    Ken, thank you so much for doing this well deserved article on Peter. And Peter, I look forward to hearing you announce for many years to come! You’re the best!

  24. Craig Godwin - June 21, 2016

    I was asked to be the announcer for the national meet one year when Pete couldn’t do it. I wisely turned it down. No way could I fill Pete’s shoes. I could just imagine being unable to live up to impossible standard Pete had set, and all the people who would come up to ask where Peter Taylor was.

    It is such a huge amount of work to announce a large, multi-day meet and do it well. People don’t realize the amount of prep work required. Pete makes it look easy!

  25. Richard Watson - June 22, 2016

    Pete, thank you for your outstanding announcing over the past decade plus. Your knowledge, curiosity, personal interest in each of the athletes, enthusiasm, energy, time and determined hard work under often trying circumstances is greatly appreciated by many and needs to be acknowledged. It is unconscionable that circumstances forced Pete to work hungry, dehydrated for prolonged hours multiple days in a row, often in hot, humid weather. To show him the appreciation that he most richly deserves, he should be housed in a nice hotel and fed well, not just fast food and sandwiches and coffee on the run. Most of our championship meets offer the opportunity for individual athletes to donate to Friends of the Meet, Fund for Officials or something similar. We should be given the same type of opportunity to donate to a fund to pay, house, and feed Pete as long as he is willing to generously give of his time and expertise to announce at our meets. I would give generously to such a fund and am sure that many others would do so likewise.

  26. Peter L. Taylor - June 22, 2016

    Thank you, Craig, and earlier posters. Right now I’m looking at Grand Rapids with some trepidation, as it could be quite a challenge physically and mentally.

    In my “glory years” I often announced down in the infield (e.g., Orono in 1998, 2002, and 2007), but those days are mostly over now, although I did announce from the infield in Sacramento in 2010.

    Announcing from the press box in Oshkosh (2009) was fine, but sometimes the press box is too high up, as in Winston-Salem in 2014 and Jacksonville in 2015.

    As the meet gets closer I am most concerned about the possibility of catastrophic failure, i.e., being utterly unable to do the job. That could come from being too high up to see the action, from mental disarray, or from overwhelming physical fatigue.

    What I know so well is that announcing indoors is almost like cheating; from my experience the proximity to the action, the controlled climate, having three days instead of four, etc. make indoors infinitely easier than outdoors.

    I’m the only one in the history of this country who’s ever announced 34 national masters, not to mention one worlds (Buffalo 1995) and two North Americans (Eugene, OR and Kamloops, BC). Talk about an obscure accomplishment. Quite frankly, I’m afraid that having such a history will not do me a whole lot of good in Michigan.

    Predicted highs are 79, 84, 85, and 84, with essentially no rain for the four days. It will not, therefore, be like Charlotte 2006 or even Jacksonville 2015.

    There is no final schedule for the meet, even though the big adventure starts three weeks from tomorrow. This brings me to a concern that is right near the top for me right now: The first event each day might start at 8:00 AM or even earlier.

    To me, that would be a huge negative, for a variety of reasons I don’t need to describe. Ideally for me, the meet would start at 10:00 AM each day and just keep running.

    “So there you have it,” as my father would have said. I’m worried now, but will be more worried later. I must note, however, that my father did worry a lot, his impeccable appearance and outward calm notwithstanding.

    William Howard Taft was president when he was born; for my dad and his father, life was much different from what it is today.

  27. Peter L. Taylor - June 22, 2016

    Obviously, when I made this long post I was not aware that Dr. Watson (Princeton University, medical school at Tulane, etc.) was just about to post. Thank you, Dr. Watson.


  28. Christine Gentile - June 23, 2016

    Peter is simply the best announcer, not just masters announcer, I have encountered in my 35 years of competing in track and field. I will never forget my first major Masters Indoor event at the Hartshorne Mile in Ithica, NY. The night before the event many of us gathered for a traditional pre-race dinner. Peter sat next to me gathering information and recording notes on my background for his presentation on the mike the next day. He is one of the most personable, knowledgeable and motivating announcers in the sport. He is truly dedicated to the athletes and respectful of the sport. For example, this past March at the USA Open Indoor Nationals a Masters Invitational Mile was featured. The announcer had absolutely “no” knowledge of the Masters athletes, their accomplishments or even the correct name of the leader throughout the entire race (he was going off only a hip number that was a no show and replaced on the leader who was the World Recorder holder for the event). His announcing was boring, had dead spots with silence and was a total embarrassment to the Masters track circuit. Such disorganization and disrespect would never happen with Peter at the mike. While our 4 x 400 m relay team (W 40-49) was going for the World Record, Peter was right there motivating us and the fans all the way plus the stats on the current standing record we were trying to beat. He is simply amazing and one of a kind and certainly irreplaceable. I wish Peter was announcing, or even writing the script for, the Masters Exhibition 1500 m at the upcoming Olympic Trials on July 3. He would surely create goosebumps even on those knowledgeable Haywood Field fans. Thank you Peter for all your hard work and knowledge. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  29. Roger Pierce - June 24, 2016

    It brings a smile to my face to read all these wonderful endorsement confirming your ability to be an absolute Icon for Masters Track and Field. None of our meets would be complete without you doing the announcing. You have been absolutely incredible in my opinion, for your entire tenure with all of us in Masters Nationals. You are a fountain of information which has been greatly appreciated over all those years. You make the meets more exciting and memorable with your play by play and background information.
    If you aren’t there, it is like a Dance without the Music. Thank you so much for everything you have done for us over the years. I know it has not been easy…I have watched some of the turmoil you had to put up with… always did a marvelous job.
    You are an integral part of all of our National Meets Peter and we all know it.
    THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING you have done.
    Love ya Buddy,
    Roger Pierce

  30. Peter L. Taylor - June 24, 2016

    Thank you, Roger. You’re a music guy, and I want to be musical, and thus we’re a good fit in more than one way.

    Ironically, my best call at my initial nationals as an announcer, which of course was the 1996 indoors in Greensboro, NC, involved you. You were in a three-horse race in the 400 with Bic Stevens and Ron Johnson, and even coming down the final straightaway you were third.

    Approaching the finish you swung to the outside and then went airborne, landing on your stomach and chest. My call: “And here comes Roger Pierce and I THINK HE WON IT.”

    The results: you, 55.74; Ron Johnson, 55.75; and Bic Stevens, 55.88. Yes, that still goes down as one of my best calls.

    Ironically, Martha Mendenhall (post no. 22 above) was high jumping at that meet, and I asked her whether she had heard my call about you. “Yes,” she said, “And it sent chills down my spine,” or words to that effect. I still remember that brief conversation.

    Christine Gentile (post no. 28), when I used to go to the IC4As at Penn or Villanova and watch the Villanova teams perform so beautifully (you were one of their many splendid runners over the years), little did I know that at some point in the future I would be considered a good announcer. Thank you for your kind words.

    In my own post (no. 26), I may have gotten a little too personal, but I wanted to share with people who might not know the issues the fact that being a masters announcer is actually quite difficult. Nineteen days from today I will arrive at the campus of Grand Valley State University, and my first inquiry will be, “Where do I get the key for my dorm room?”

    After I move into the dorm my next inquiries will be about the cafeteria and what hours it will be open. I will go to bed no later than 9:15 on Wednesday night (July 13). I expect to get up about 5:15 the next morning (first day of the meet).

    Last I looked, there was no real meet schedule, and
    thus each day I will simply look anxiously for its posting. If the first event is 8:00 or earlier I will be disappointed. If it’s 7:30 or earlier I will be very much disheartened.

    My second concern is that I will be so high up as to be unable to identify the athletes except for those I know extremely well, such as Bill Collins.

    My final concern is that I will either not get the materials I need to announce or will get them too late.

    If I do a good job on the first day of the meet I will be OK for the last three days. Take it from an announcer; if you’re good early you can stay good. If you struggle early you might struggle all four days.


  31. Ty Brown - June 25, 2016

    Peter, you will truly be missed. I echo the sentiments of my fellow Masters athletes who have rightfully put you on the announcers pedestal You have made my races memorable. You are a wealth of knowledge and you are greatly appreciated.


  32. george haywood - June 29, 2016

    Peter, you are without question the best announcer we could ever want or hope to have in our sport. You are a true treasure, and any meet that is blessed with your presence becomes more fun, vibrant, and memorable because you are there.

    Thanks for all you have done for masters track and field. Please keep announcing forever!

  33. Bill Bittner - July 1, 2016

    “And they’re off”. Pete’s at the microphone again! Pete, you are simply the best. Thanks for your dedicated service over the years and a special thanks for helping me receive my watches at the Penn Relays. Hopefully I’ll see you in Albuquerque in March. God bless.

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