The November 19, 2007 cover of Newsweek has a vintage Sixties look featuring some psychedelic images and news personalities from that year. On the cover is the headline: 1968 – The Year That Made Us Who We Are. As I saw the magazine on then table in the reception area I was struck with how true that was. It certainly was a defining year in my life. It was the year I graduated from college. It was the year I was going to go and change the world. Just like many young people of my era I was very idealistic and willing to question authority. The difference was that now it was OK to question, it was even encouraged. I remember going to see Bobby Kennedy in late May before a packed audience at the outdoor amphitheater at Fresno State. I went there convinced that I would never vote for him because he was poser riding his dead brothers coat tails. I came away convinced that he was the answer. He would solve the racial tensions and get us out of Vietnam. Two weeks later he was dead! The first candidate I had ever voted for was dead, a heavy dose of reality. Two days later I finished college not quite as idealist as I had been, really wondering what was in store.

From a sporting point of view 1968 was a time when sport changed. The Mexico City Olympics was the first track and field competition held on a synthetic surface. The podium protest of Tommy Smith and John Carlos was a rude awakening for some that sport and society were not separate. There was the scandal of athletes actually being paid to wear a certain brand of shoes. They even got bonuses for medals, all under the table of course.

Yea 1968 changed me as it changed many people. My idealism was tempered by a heavy dose of reality. Reflecting back I think that year did much to change the society we live in today, both good and bad.


At 12/4/07, 9:06 AM, Anonymous Brian said...

Hi Vern,
this only mildly on topic so I apologise. In terms of what is needed to train elite athletes has the equipment needed changed much since 1968?

I'm interested to know what you think is the necessary equipment and facilities that are needed to train Olympic level athletes? There is a bit of talk on this subject in Ireland and I'm interested in your views on this, because most of our facilities are probably at a level below the US was at in 1968.

At 12/4/07, 1:47 PM, Blogger Joe P. said...

Something for you to think about for the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. If you could be Pete Townshend, the top 10 people YOU would like to whack across the head with a guitar. Feel free to substitute with the functional gadget of your choice.


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