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Walt Murphy's News
Last Updated: June 2, 2003

Memories from Penn
Bob Hersh

(Bob has been coming to the Relays since the mid-1950s and has only missed a handful since then. He gave up his role at Penn as fan and split-timer last year to fill in for the ailing Jack "Legs" O'Reilly, the long-time "Voice of the Relays". Bob had good training for the announcer's job at Penn, having worked in that role at many Olympics, World Championships, Millrose Games, and countless other U.S. meets.)

It Is The Penn Relays

IT IS the middle of spring, when the morning's chill slowly yields to the sun, which gives warmth but never heat.

IT IS the camaraderie of friendship, renewed annually in the seats, in the restaurants, at the parties, and even on the telephone and the internet, in the anticipation leading up to it and in its reliving after the fact.

IT IS the magical moment on Friday afternoon, when the young men of Arkansas, Georgetown, Villanova, Michigan, and of other schools that dare to challenge tradition, walk from the paddock to the starting line to begin the Distance Medley Relay, the most perfect race in the most perfect meet in the most perfect sport on earth.

IT IS the exuberancce of youth on Thursday afternnon and Saturday morning, the unrestrainedd outpouring of the energy of thousands of boys and girls, preopelled by excitement and fear, as their adrenaline level peaks and they strive to reach the limit of their potential as they run a lap on a track that they will never forget.

IT IS the passion, the rhythm, and the soul of the issland of Jamaica, pulsating throughout the hallowed stadium, embracing everyone and relaxing its grip only when, as darkness descends on Saturday evening, the surrounding streets are finally clear.

IT IS, to those who truly understand it and feel it, a dedfinign experience that can transform a sporing event into a quasi-religious ritual, which nourishes our intellect, stirs our emotions, and provides an incentive to live and rejoice in life by confirming our capacity for exhilaration.

IT IS the Penn Relays.




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