Category: Harding University

Old Olympic Dreams Never Die–They Just Go Slower

Ah yes, the ol’ missing first paragraph is back:

My Olympic dream died sometime around 1978. The reality was that I could barely crack the top 10 of an average high school cross country race, so there was little hope of me ever mounting the winner’s platform and hearing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in my lifetime.

And here’s the rest.

Here’s some footage of me running the last lap in that charity fundraiser at Harding University in 1983.

And here I am today with my Sunday morning running buddies, “Team Wannabe” (that’s actual speed, not slow-mo).

Old Olympic dreams never die–they just go slower.… Read the rest

My Olympic Dream Dead? Not So Fast!

For Jim Ryun, his Olympic dream of winning a gold medal went unfulfilled. He failed to qualify for the 1500 meter final in 1964 (he was still in high school, though) and then finished second to Kip Keino in the high altitude air at Mexico City in 1968.

But the most bitter disappointment came in 1972 when he was tripped by another runner in a qualifying heat. Although the judges ruled that he was fouled, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), for reasons still not understood, didn’t reinstate him. Dream over.

Still, an Olympic Silver Medal, a world record in the mile and a high school mile record (3:55.3) set in 1965 that stood for 36 years–not too shabby if you ask me.… Read the rest

The Morning Run, A Reprise

Some of you have been clamoring for a shot of the proprietor of this joint. Well, here’s a shot of me “back in the day” when my morning workout was truly a run and not just a slog:


I sense some skepticism out there coursing the interwebs and emanating from my computer screen. What’s that you say? Is that really the Eyeguy?

Would I ever pull your leg, kid around, be factitious, yank your chain, or otherwise out and out lie simply for effect?

Yup, you bet I would.

Actually, that’s a very young Jim Ryun working out in the 1960s when he was rising to the top of the distance running world and around the time that he set the world record in the mile run.… Read the rest

Where Were You In ’72?

In a few minutes, I’ll lace up my Nike Vomero running shoes (black and gold swoosh for Harding–Hail, alma mater!) and once again hit the pavement for an early morning 5-miler. It’s a habit with roots from the early 1970s, more specifically, the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.

I’ve been reminiscing some about that time these past few days as I’ve been writing my next Huntsville Times community column which will appear on August 10th, the opening weekend of the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.

Here’s a sneak preview:

During the 1972 Munich Games, American runners like Jim Ryun, Steve Prefontaine, Dave Wottle and Frank Shorter captured my elementary schoolboy imagination and launched my own much less stellar running career…

…I fashioned a makeshift running singlet by cutting off the sleeves of a white t-shirt and stenciling a crude “U.S.A.”

Read the rest

Malibu Librarian Sighting

I know all you Fusioneers think I just live in sleepy little ol’ Huntsville, Alabama. But truth be told, we’re quite the hip and happening place, and we’re very accustomed to hob-knobbing with the elite.

Whether it’s Tom Hanks dropping off his kid at U.S. Space Camp or Kurt and Goldie showing up to watch their son Wyatt play hockey for UAH, a celebrity sighting hardly even draws a gasp of awe these days.

But a Malibu Librarian sighting? Well, now that’s a different story altogether:


I can assure you there’s nothing wrong with your eyes. That really is Harding alum and now Pepperdine’s own James Wiser, librarian extraordinare, standing outside Little Rosie’s Taqueria in Huntsville.… Read the rest

How I Became An Eyeguy; Or, It’s All In The Wrist

Regarding the various times that I worked construction jobs while in school, there are really only two words that need to be said.

I’m sorry.

Sorry for the outlet covers that were put on upside down, sorry for the insulation that wasn’t stapled in correctly, sorry for that door that just won’t shut quite right.

In numerous subdivisions and neighborhoods throughout the Southeast United States, homeowners are starting to do a double take at some of the so-called “quality craftsmanship” of their suburban executive homes and declare: “Who the @%#$&*! put this thing together?!”

Uh, that would be me, and I like I said, I’m sorry.… Read the rest

Freudian Slips

I first heard about it from Eyegal who heard about it from the parent of a Harding student (who, ironically, was named “Regina”) who heard about it from the student himself who apparently witnessed the incident live.

Heh, that’s funny, I thought. And then: I wonder if it’s on youtube?

Yup, it sure is.

Freudian slips + digital cameras + youtube = worldwide embarrassment.

Chapel announcements have rarely been so interesting.

Fortunately, Dr. Burks is a decent guy who doesn’t mind poking fun at himself. I would have probably run screaming from the stage.

Read the rest

Vote For David Manes

I hear there’s some kind of big election or something today, but unless you live in Ohio or Texas, you may not get a piece of the action. And since I know you’re dying to pull the lever for somebody, you might as well do it for David Manes.

David is a fellow blogger, Harding man and overall good guy who runs a very good blog called Political Cartel which I read and have linked to for sometime now. In fact, he’s done such a good job that now he’s a finalist for the 2008 Political Blogging Scholarship from College Scholarships.orgRead the rest

One Saturday, Two Different Shirts


On most Saturdays during college basketball season, I can be found beside by TV set wearing my Duke Blue Devil shirt and hat. Yeah, I know it’s silly, but I’m firmly convinced they can’t win without me. You see, Coach K is really channeling for me during those time outs when he lays down the law and the Blue Devils return to the floor guns a’blazing.

Until recently, I’d never had cause on game day to don my circa 1980s gray Harding sweatshirt with the frayed, black and gold stitched letters. But last Saturday I had the opportunity to wear two different shirts on the same day as the Harding Bisons defeated longtime rival Henderson State 72-59 before a packed Rhodes Fieldhouse and a national audience on CSTV.Read the rest

He Came, He Ran, He Tackled

I’m pleased to report that Torrance “Tank” Daniels, former star linebacker for the Harding University (Hail!) Bisons, is continuing his NFL sojourn and has landed a spot on special teams with The New York Giants.

Good for him, good for Harding and good for me. Good for me because that gives me a reason to pay attention to what’s going on in between the commercials come this next Super Bowl Sunday. So be on the lookout for #52 and here’s hoping that he leaves some tread marks on some patsy Patriot during a kickoff return.

I have a bone to pick with that Wiki, though.… Read the rest

The Last of the Doughboys

doughboy.jpgAlthough yesterday was officially Veterans Day, every day is Veterans Day for me. By virtue of my choice of practice, I have the privilege of providing eye care to “him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” (and increasingly these days, her as well).

I consider it an honor and a privilege to care for these men and women who are, by and large, among the most decent, salt-of-the-earth folks you’ll ever meet. Indeed, they are cut from a finer grade of cloth than any politician who ever sent them into battle. At this point in my career, if I was suddenly thrust into a situation where I had to care for the well-to-do and whiny LASIK/liposuction crowd, I would probably end up strangling someone in frustration.… Read the rest

A Rush of Blood to the Head

I’m not talking about the Coldplay album–although it’s a good one. I’m talking about the rush of blood to the head that occurs anytime you take a good lick to your noggin’. For Garrison Keillor, a close encounter with a low-lying beam elicits the memory of his old battle-hardened, ex-Marine journalism professor at the University of Minnesota, Mr. Robert Lindsay. For me, it’s the memory of the understated brutality of my old, formaldehyde-soaked anatomy professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Steven Zehren.

For the most part, I sailed through an academically challenging public high school and Harding University without too much difficulty.… Read the rest

Dropping Off a Kid at College

We’re off to Tuscaloosa today to drop Number One off at Bama. That’s right, pull up to the curb, shove him and his stuff out the door, and then pedal to the metal baby!

I know, I know, it probably won’t be quite that simple. First off, you won’t be able to even find the curb for all the hundreds of cars ahead of you, and then there’s the small matter of getting the stuff up to his room. And do you think Eyegal is just going to plop all that junk in there without doing some “arranging?” I don’t think so.… Read the rest

Pitch Perfect

Philip Yancey is one of my favorite contemporary Christian writers. My first exposure to him was during my premed days at Harding when I read Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, a book he coauthored with Dr. Paul Brand. Since then, he’s only become better and more prolific. As someone who in the past has described himself as a “reluctant Christian,” Yancey to me feels like spiritual next-of-kin.

Two weeks after the Virginia Tech massacre, Yancey waded into the morass of grief that was Blacksburg, Virginia and delivered these words.

I sent this link to Number One Son, figuring that he might appreciate some of the things that Yancey had to say as he prepares to take up the tricky business of learning and living out his faith on a state university campus.… Read the rest

Vote for Boo–It’s the Right Thing To Doo

boo-ii.jpgWhen I was in high school, I had a teacher who made sure that we knew about the civil rights struggle in America. I’m thankful that I learned early in life about Medgar Evers, the Birmingham church bombing and the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. I can remember chafing and squirming when I learned how the perpetrators of those crimes had escaped justice and were still free to live their lives as they pleased.

Little did I know that the goofy, red-haired guy wearing the suspenders and top hat who used to do the announcements in chapel at Harding would be the one to help bring those scoundrels to justice.… Read the rest