Pete's Arboblog

One of USC's greatest, shot-putter Parry O'Brien has died. A two time Olympic champ who competed in FOUR Olympics!! A Hall of Famer on every level.

Some off (football) season musings---

I am still saddened and shocked that Nick Young took the wrong path and opted for the NBA too soon. Hopefully, there's still some sense in him, he won't hire an agent, and will find out as the draft approaches that he is not as highly regarded as all that, and will come back to finish up at SC, bulk up a little bit for the rigors of the physical life of the NBA, help the Trojans to the promised land, and THEN, when the time is really right for him, get his degree on time, get drafted highly and earn tons more money then than he will now.

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While the Lakers still own the town in terms of fan support, it's pretty obvious they are still a great wing and superior center shy of a championship run. Still, it's nice to see at least one team in the playoffs, even if they will get run out quickly by what I consider the favorite to win the NBA championship.

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Nice start for the Dodgers, but they'll probably need to swing a deal for a big bat somewhere along the line. Too many slap hitters. It worked for the 63 team, but they had these guys named Koufax and Drysdale throwing every fourth game.

I've been to two games, and am 0-2 so far, including yesterday. Might have to stay away for a while.

I did notice they let my good friend Nancy Bea Hefley play a lot more than usual yesterday. Hooray!

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One of USC's greatest, shot-putter Parry O'Brien has died. A two time Olympic champ who competed in FOUR Olympics!! A Hall of Famer on every level.

I was a teammate of Parry's, believe it or not. As a member of the USC Master's Track and Field team. All former Trojans (and, really, anyone who wanted to join) compete in local all-comers meets around the southland and often in other areas.

Hey, when O'Brien and I actually competed against each other, I finished second to him in the shot at the USC Invitational in the early 90's. He was larger and stronger than me, better at it than me, and there were only two people competing in the event that afternoon, and then, only because I saw he was in it, so I thought it would be a hoot to compete against a guy with his credentials.

I have run the 400 intermediate hurdles against Edwin Moses, and strided out in the 200 against women's Olympian Merlene Ottey-Page, again, just to say I did it.

In both cases I purposely chose lane 8 on the outside so I could watch the two great athletes run past me. I had never even attempted the 400 IH before seeing Moses was in the event. What a thrill.

I have hit a double on one hop off of the wall against the late former Dodger pitching coach Don McMahon in the old broadcasters vs sportswriters' game at Dodger Stadium, too. One gets their mid-life athletic thrills where one can find them.

Anyway, O'Brien could plainly see that I was not a good shot putter, so he took time that day in showing me a few "how-to's" in technique that I could apply right away, and I topped my personal best by about three feet as a result.

(I had previously only thrown the ball as part of several decathlons in which I had competed)

He knew who I as from the football broadcasts, and we sat and had a sandwich and some Gatorade together after the event. Very cool.

And a year later, with no one else in my age group of course, I actually won the Southern California AAU shot put for men 35-39. With another PR. Thanks and FIGHT ON to Parry O'Brien.

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The Smart and Final Golden Valley Magic are 5-0 in the ARC spring high school girl's basketball league, while the Santa Monica Bronco Twins are 7-3-1 and tied for first in the league nearing the half way point. My youngest daughter turns 15 next week. My eldest daughter just announced she is with child, making me a grandfather (what the heck!!??) in early October. It'll be a girl. They have chosen Tristan Joanna as the name, the middle name after my departed mother, Stephanie's grand-mama. In honor of no one, I plan to call my granddaughter "TJ".

I am blessed with good fortune at every turn it seems.

Finally, for this time, if I haven't said so out loud, thank you to all of my friends who have been so supportive of me this past year. The literally hundreds, nearly a thousand notes, cards, letters, phone calls, and in person greetings from each of you has made me feel loved and in turn grateful for having each of you care enough to at least wish me well, and at best give me support and leads towards the next stop.

Thanks again everybody. It's great to have so many friends.

Fight On!


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