Tuesday, July 5

Catching Up

Much to my surprise, I had two people tell me over the weekend that they read this blog! Of course, it was my niece and my cousin, but it was still two people who really don't have to read it at all! So my apologies to Judy and Amanda - and others who have been waiting breathlessly - for my next posting. I'll be doing several in the next few days (I have a list of things to catch up on), but this one is just to give you a rundown over the past few weeks in my life.

When I last wrote, I was preparing to head to Sacramento for officiate the NCAA Outdoor Field & Track Championships. That trip was from June 7-12. I officiated the combined events at this meet - which means I worked the field events for the men's decathlon on the first two days (three events each day) and the field events for the women's heptathlon on the last two days (two events each day). I also got to work the women's pole vault final on Saturday. I'm primarily a "vertical jumps" guy, so that was fun. It was a good meet, the competition was great, the Sacramento weather is always beautiful, and the Razorbacks won national championship number 41. And, of course, I got to see a lot of friends from around the country. I roomed with "Little David" from Mississippi, flew out and back with Stanley from Lubbock, and was treated to a wonderful dinner at a fancy place called Biba's by Ray and Judy from Seattle.

After an all night flight home, Stacy and I went through orientation at the UofA on June 13-14. She's going to be in the Walton College of Business, so I got to learn a lot about that program. But the best part was just hanging out with her and going through the process. I'm excited about having her on campus next year!

Then a week later, June 22-27, I flew to LA for the US Field & Track Championship - the national championship for professionals and collegians. I was a head high jump official there and had the opportunity to work with other officials selected from around the nation. My crew was from Kentucky, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Nebraska. I had the chance to work the event as Matt Hemingway (former Razorback and good friend) won his first national title. And, again, the weather was beautiful. I also taught a workshop for about 40 officials that was very well received. But the trip was memorable for a couple of other events:

* Just as I was arriving at the track at about 4:45 pm on Wednesday, a coach from the University of Tulsa stopped me to tell me that an official had been hit in the head with a shot put. He was an older man (77) who had been hired to work during Wednesday's practice times before the real competition began on Thursday. Though he had officiated for years, he, basically, wasn't being attentive enough and leaned or stepped out into the "sector" and was hit with the 16-pound ball. He died later that evening. We also had two officials hit with the discus later in the week. This is a more dangerous hobby than I thought!

* On Saturday night, one of the local officials (Bob Seaman, former collegiate record holder in the mile for UCLA) invited us over to his home for a party. I was sitting at a table on the patio with two other men when another official came over to join us. I scooted over on to the bench that was at the table next to me to make room for her. But in a few minutes, I discovered that the bench wasn't a bench but a glass and wrought iron table. I discovered this when I went crashing through the glass table top! Though my shirt was cut, I wasn't hurt. But it was loud and definitely embarrassing! All the next day, people kept asking me, "Hey, Armstrong, are you still picking glass out of your a$$!" And now I need to send them a check for the table!

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