How Norman Harris Wrote “He Called on it All”

Legend-of-Lovelock

In our blog posting of May 24, 2011, (“He Called On It All” – A Motivational Video for Track Athletes) I provided a video showing Dave Wottle’s dramatic come-from-behind finish in the 1972 Olympic 800 meter final. The video concludes with a quote by Norman Harris – a description of New Zealand miler Jack Lovelocks’s finishing kick to win the 1936 Olympic 1500m in Berlin.

“It came like electricity, it came from every fibre, from his fingertips to his toes.
“It came as broad waters come through a gorge.”.
He called on it all.”

After the blog was posted, Norman Harris, the writer of that dramatic passage, wrote me with a correction on the exact wording of his contribution that was, in fact, from his biography of Jack Lovelock titled, “The Legend of Lovelock” (1964).

In our subsequent discussions, Mr. Harris described some of the process and inspiration that allowed him to write those wonderful words – in my opinion, some of the most powerful in the history of running literature. I thought you’d be interested in reading about it.

The following comes from his memoir, “Beyond Cook’s Gardens (I don’t think it’s available in the US, although it may be available through Amazon, UK). I’ll let Norman Harris take over from here.

“I guess there was an element of inspiration in those words. I had been writing the book in a cafe in a Paris suburb, where I’d shared lodging with some cycling friends. In a recent Memoir, “Beyond Cook’s Gardens”, I recounted the romantic influences on the passage in question. It’s self-indulgent of me to quote it but, encouraged by what you said about getting the blood pulsing, I figured you might be interested

The Lovelock draft moved steadily towards its climax, a chapter titled The Ultimate, for which special inspiration was required. The portable typewriter in my room at the [Cafe] Zanzi was no longer good enough. I needed to go with exercise book and pencil to the Parc de St Cloud, where, near to a splendid fountain, I found a perch on a grand piece of white, marble-like statuary. It was there, with an apron of white, crushed stone surrounding my seat, and with the park’s heavenly grasses rippling in the breeze, and the late afternoon sun aglow, that I found the words to bring Lovelock home.”

I’ve attached the video one more time, for those of who missed it.

 

 

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]physical education,Jack Lovelock,Norman Harris,track and field,800m,Dave Wottle, Nick Symmonds[/tags]

Outward Appearances Can Belie the Talents Within

In the “Looks Can be Deceptive” category. Never discount a person, no matter how feeble or unassuming they may appear. This video shows a tiny old lady participating in a talent show. She’s 80 years of age, can barely walk, doesn’t hear too well and her hands shake as she is holding the microphone.

Then, when she sings, she absolutely fills the room with her voice. This is the “Britain’s Got Talent” video of Janey Cutler. Be sure to watch the video right to the end to hear her really belt it out.

This video provides a teaching point for young people: never discount that elderly person using a walker; the street person sleeping on a park bench or even fellow students in physical education class who can’t catch a ball or sink a foul shot. Those people may have talents in other areas that would put yours to shame.

And for those students whose abilities don’t lie on the courts or in the gym. Make sure you encourage them to develop the other talents they have hidden within!

 

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]physical education,inspiration,looks can be deceiving[/tags]

“He Called On It All” – A Motivational Video for Track Athletes

It’s track and field championship season. If you’re looking for a video to motivate your runners, check this out. It’s not a high quality production, but it’s set to music and the message is great. It’s called “He Called on it All.”

It shows Olympic 800m champion, Dave Wottle, in his surprise come-from-behind victory at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. It shows Wottle, wearing a white cap, trailing the field by 10m over the 1st lap. It does a nice job of following Wottle in his final 300m as he moves up on the field, then the final 100m in which he overcomes an apparently insurmountable lead to win.

It’s interspersed with video of current American 800m star, Nick Symmonds, running similar tactics at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. He’s wearing a white singlet and black compression shorts.

If this doesn’t get your runners fired up, nothing will.

The video concludes with the quote by Norman Harris – a description of Jack Lovelocks’s finishing kick to win the 1936 Olympic 1500m:

“It came like electricity, it came from every fibre, from his fingertips to his toes.
“It came as broad waters come through a gorge.”.
He called on it all.”

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

P.S. Norman Harris, the author of the wonderful verse that ends this clip has told me that the words shown on the video have become confused. In fact, the correct wording is:

“It came as broad waters come through a gorge.”

Thanks for the feedback, Norman!

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[tags]physical education,track and field,800m,Dave Wottle, Nick Symmonds[/tags]

Some Team Nicknames Aren’t Intimidating

Ferocious, tenacious, aggressive, fierce, proud. These are the qualities we usually associate with our sports teams.

As coaches, we want the very mention of our team’s name to strike fear into the hearts of opponents. We want them sitting in their locker rooms the day before they play us, stomachs knotted in fear, thinking, “My gosh, tomorrow we play the Screaming Scarlet Eviscerators. Maybe my mom can write me a note so I don’t have to go.”

That’s why we give our teams nicknames that embody these traits: Lions, Hawks, Vikings, Wolves, Red-Eyed Panthers.

Keeping this in mind, it’s surprising how many teams are named for less than frightening things. A quick scan through a university directory reveals some interesting monikers.

For example, some team nicknames seem downright nice. I can’t imagine a friendlier contest than one between the Gentlemen of Centenary College and the Monks of Saint Joseph’s College. Or the Poets of Whittier College and the Missionaries of Whitman College. Heck, they probably don’t even hire referees for their games.

In contrast, one of the yuckiest matchups would have to be the Banana Slugs of U. of Cal at Santa Cruz versus the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian. How’d you like to mop the gym floor after that one?

And another messy contest in which the feathers are sure to fly: the Fightin’ Blue Hens of Delaware against the Power Gulls of Endicott College.

Some nicknames conjure up powerful images: The Austin College Kangaroos slam-dunking the basketball. The Fighting Parsons of NYACK College telling their opponents, “Don’t elbow me again, or I’ll give you a good blessing.” The Florida Southern Moccasins getting stepped all over by their opponents. The Rhode Island College Anchormen doing their own play-by-play TV coverage. The Retrievers of U. of Maryland-Baltimore County going for the long ball. And the Vandals of Idaho U. spraying graffiti on locker room walls wherever they play.

And then there are the totally uncoachable Mules of Central Missouri, in contrast to the Diplomats of Franklin and Marshall College, who’ll do anything you ask. And, of course, the Chokers of Grays Harbor College, who, for some reason, always seem to miss that game-winning shot.

Some schools, realizing their men’s team nickname may not be popular with their female athletes, have a separate women’s nickname. The Weevils of U. of Arkansas-Monticello mercifully become the women’s Cotton Blossoms. The Student Princes of Heidelburg College become the Student Princesses. However, some teams are not so sensitive to the image of their women’s teams. Surely the Jumbos can’t be a popular nickname among women athletes at Tufts. Ditto for the Pittsburgh State Gorillas or the Trolls of Trinity Christian College.

Finally, there are some team nicknames that just leave you wondering what they are—a great strategy for keeping the opposition confused and unprepared. How do you match up against a Gee Gee from the U. of Ottawa, or an Ook from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology? And what exactly is an Washurn U. Icabod, or a St. Louis U. Billiken?

If nothing else, the research I’ve done for this article has given me some great words to use in my next Scrabble game. For example, do you know what a Saluki is? Or a Catamount? Let’s break out that Scrabble board!

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

P.S. FYI:
Saluki: A hunting dog native to Asia and North Africa. Team nickname for Southern Illinois U.
Catamount: A wild cat such as a cougar or lynx. Team nickname for Vermont U.

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[tags]physical education,team nicknames[/tags]

PE Teacher With a Flatulence Problem

There’s nothing better for brightening a depressing February day than a little potty humor. And since this is a physical education blog, why not potty humor with a PE twist?

The following video, entitled “Simmer Down,” portrays a PE teacher with a flatulence problem. Who knows, maybe this has happened to you!

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]physical education teacher,pe teacher[/tags]

Practical Skills for Physical Education

Practical Skills for Physical EducationThousands of North Americans experience serious injuries every year as a result of shoveling snow.

To some degree, this is the result of a lack of technique training. Who, after all, teaches snow-shovelers the essentials of lifting with the legs, keeping the back straight and avoiding rotational twisting of the torso while the feet are planted?

It makes me wonder why we don’t we teach practical physical skills in PE…skills like shoveling snow, lifting sofas, cutting grass or hammering nails. There’s a good chance that students will spend more time over their lives operating a snow shovel  or lawn mower  than climbing ropes or doing handstands.

But where would they practice such skills, you might ask? Hmmm. I believe that teachers should offer their own homes as physical education life-skill labs, and receive school board reimbursement for the provision of these excellent learning opportunities. I personally will be the first to volunteer. I have an old sofa that needs moving right now. My PE students could remove it using my pickup truck that could use a wash, wax and polish – another highly practical skill-set    🙂

In the meantime, here’s a video of another practical skill we can add to our curriculum – using juggling to hammer ceiling nails.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]practical physical education skills,pe skills,pe curriculum,physical education curriculum,pe humor,physical education humor[/tags]