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Rodney Milburn Biography

October 19, 2014

So I’ve finally posted all chapters of the biography I wrote on 1972 Olympic high hurdle champion Rodney Milburn. I’ve had several chapters of the biography buried for years in the “Stories” section of this site, but had lost a later chapter a few years ago when my computer died. Recently a friend of mine was able to retrieve a copy to send to me, allowing me to put all the chapters up here now.

I initially began the project in 2004, conducted dozens of interviews and did tons of research between 2004 and 2006, and visited Milburn’s hometown of Opelousas, LA on two separate occasions.

To read the bio, check out the menu bar above: Rodney Milburn: The Quiet Champion. All chapters are there, in order. For more info on the process I went through in completing this project, read the intro.

You Know You’re a Hurdler If… #3

September 9, 2014

For today’s blog post, we’re back with another round of “You know you’re a hurdler if…” Came up with ten for this set. Got a bit of a football theme going on in honor of the beginning of the NFL season. Hope you can relate!

You know you’re a hurdler if:

  1. You’ve been accused of not being a team player because all you want to do is hurdle.
  2. You have a stash of practice hurdles in the trunk of your car.
  3. You’d rather stay in and watch hurdling videos than go out with friends.
  4. All your favorite NFL players ran hurdles in high school or college.
  5. You think Robert Griffin III made a mistake by sticking with football.
  6. You’ve broken a hurdle and kept the crossbar as a souvenir.
  7. You have posters/pics of hurdlers on your bedroom wall.
  8. You get annoyed when you see teammates using hurdles for plyometric drills. HURDLES ARE FOR HURDLING ONLY!!!
  9. You view days off from team practice as golden opportunities to get in some hurdle work on your own.
  10. When you saw this vid from last weeks Steelers vs. Browns game, you were critiquing Antonio Brown’s technique.
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Still Hurdling After All These Years

July 29, 2014

Masters hurdler Francis X. Shen, who splits time between Minnesota and Boston, recently contacted me about his hurdling endeavors. Shen, who ran for the University of Chicago in the late ’90′s, has continued to train and compete into his mid-thirties. Seven years ago he wrote an article entitled “Still Hurdling after all These Years,” and he recently updated it to reflect his current status. It’s a long article about his hurdling journey, and it’s well worth the time to read the whole thing.

What you realize in reading Shen’s article is that all of us who dedicate ourselves to the hurdles share a special bond, that there are commonalities in our stories that unite us in ways that are unspoken and invisible, yet very, very real. To read the article in full, click on this link: Still Hurdling after all These Years.

Here’s a snippet from the article that really rang true for me:

This is the difference between competitive sports and “going to the gym.” In the gym, you can’t lose. The Boston Sports Club, like so many others, markets themselves by telling customers, “We want to make the experience easy for you.” They have televisions so you can forget about the running; trainers with you at every step so you don’t have to think for yourself; and guarantees that you’ll leave feeling great. Hurdling does something else entirely. It humbles you. Hurdling isn’t a way to forget about the reality of life. Hurdling brings that reality front and center. Like other serious track and field athletes, hurdlers feel anxiety as they realize that everything hinges on one, short race. Hurdlers feel disappointment and experience failure when they don’t perform up to expectations (especially their own). Hurdlers don’t always walk off the track feeling great about themselves. Sometimes they walk off the track so disgusted and deflated they don’t know why they ever started doing it to begin with. Hurdlers get knocked down. But the great lesson of hurdling, the great lesson of competitive athletics, is that you fight back. You feel the pain, but you work through it. You acknowledge defeat, but you don’t accept it.

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