Cat Bird Seat

By David Yon

All good things must come to an end. Three years is a long time to serve as President, and it is certainly time to pass the leadership role on to someone else. But I must say that it has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had and it would be relatively easy to keep going. I am extremely grateful for all of the help and guidance I have had. I have been fortunate to work with some tremendous people and three of the best Boards to ever serve the club. Mae Cleveland, as past President, has been an invaluable help, keeping me from missing numerous deadlines and gently guiding me out of trouble. This column was my first experience at writing anything for public view, except legal documents. It has been a great experience that has spilled over into other items such as the web page and reports on races and people, more than you ever cared to read. It has been a fun way to communicate though. Rex has been incredibly patient and a great editor. I just do not think it can be emphasized enough how important what he does is. It is easy to see the finished product and think, there it is again. But it takes an enormous amount of work. Rex brings a degree of care and thoroughness to his work that is unsurpassed and makes the Fleet Foot, probably, the best newsletter in the country. Perhaps most importantly, I want to thank Martha Haynes for her incredible dedication to building our web page into a real communication tool. This has been one of the most fun projects I have worked on and I hope it has been a great source of keeping up with GWTC news. It would have gone nowhere without her help.

For the past several months, National Public Radio has broadcast excerpts from some of the best of the Bob Edwards and Red Barber Friday morning chats. I have listened in vain throughout that time trying to hear them. As I pulled into my parking spot at work recently, I heard the NPR announcer say that the station was about to conclude the series by playing three final excerpts from these shows. I stayed right there of course and listened to them all. It was a little bit ironic and very fitting that I would tune in for this final broadcast, as I prepared to write my last column. Red Barber was incredible at doing so much more than just calling a baseball game or other sporting event. He brought a vivid sense of community to his listeners, especially a generation of New Yorkers who listened to him call Brooklyn Dodgers’ games and other events. He brought this same skill to his Friday morning chats with Bob Edwards as he painted pictures of our city, and his new home, over the radio for listeners. He captured Tallahassee in his conversations in away that made you aware of its many strong points. When I wrote my first column as president in January of 1997, I explained that GWTC filled a similar role for many of its members helping create a sense of community. By naming my column the Cat Bird Seat, a phrase made famous by this wonderful man, I hoped to emphasize what I believed to be the most important aspect of GWTC. You have had to put up with a lot of gibberish from me since that time, but I am more convinced now than when I started three years ago, that we have an organization made up of tremendous people and resources, and of members that are not afraid to reach out and help each other. Whether it is our many races, the Tuesday night track sessions, Sunday morning running groups, new runners classes, the newsletter, the GWIND list, the web page or the socials and parties, there are many great ways to participate and belong to this community.

One of the areas I am most enthused about is the increased involvement in youth running activities. The club has sponsored many activities. From Thursday night track meets, to Champ Days middle school cross country meets, to the CCCC and Big Bend Track clubs, and finally, to our renewed emphasis on prep running. Have there ever been two better ambassadors for track and our club than our two Chenoweth Award Winners, Theresa Daniels and Travis Woullard. Many of our races have increased their emphasis on youth participation. I watched a number of high school cross country meets this year, including district, regional and state meets. It is very impressive to see the level of commitment in these programs. Once again Gary Droze took his teams to the state meet and came back with two championships. Perry Shaw (Lincoln), Marilyn Wills (Leon), Alan Gibson (Marianna), Kevin Swain (Florida High) and Scott Gowen (Chiles) also took teams to the state meet. Florida High finished fourth in the state. If we stay active and interested in these groups, they will be our future members.

The last month will be busy as we wrap up Grand Prix, pick awards and prepare for transitions. Turkey Trot will be behind us by the time you read this, but hopefully it will have been a success. I hope I see you at the Year End party on December 17. I thank you for all of your patience with me and for the opportunity you gave me. It has been three years of fantastic trails.Thanks for allowing me to run down them with you!