Mulcahy '66 has weathered plenty of storms during three decades as a professor
of physical education and coach of track and cross-country at Pomona. The
strangest was in 1974.
taken a band of Sagehens to the Midwest for a series of track-and-field meets.
One stop was Arkadelphia, Ark., for the NAIA Track and Field Nationals. On
the last night of the competition, the wind picked up, and a few drops of
rain began falling.
"We could see
green lightning in the distance," Mulcahy says. "We could actually hear a
big rain coming before we could see it. All of a sudden, it came in so hard
the rain was going parallel to the ground." Coaches and athletes sprinting
for cover saw a strange sight on the field: The massive cushions used in the
high jump and pole vault pits began to rise up from seemingly secure anchorages.
"We saw them
moving--I mean, those things are heavy--and that's when we said, 'We're not
in Kansas anymore,'" says Mulcahy. "These huge cushions lifted up and just
started rolling right across the field. They got up a head of steam and went
up a little hill and over a 10-foot chain-link fence and down onto another
field. It was pretty funny to see the coaches cowering in the stands while
all this was going on."
'75, a pole vaulter, remembers it well. "I went to pick up my poles and
the wind caught them," he says. "It blew me about 6 feet across the runway.
Someone yelled 'It's a tornado!' and I found myself wading through nearly
waist-deep water to get across the field. We hit the dirt on a small hill
and stayed there until it let up after about 10 minutes. It was real bizarre."
As the Midwestern
swing continued, the region's fickle weather remained a foe. While in Illinois
for an NCAA Division III meet, the Sagehens and the other small-college teams
ran into a thunderstorm. The meet was moved into a field house. Just as a
pole vaulter began his jump, says Mason, a bolt of lightning hit the building
and the lights went out.
"No one got
hurt, but it was scary," Mulcahy says. "After all, we're from California;
we don't do lightning." Mason says the other athletes joked that the vaulter
whose attempted jump was rudely interrupted should have flopped onto the cushions
in the dark, then risen up and proclaimed, "I cleared it! I cleared
eventful trip to the Midwest, the Sagehens were meeting and competing against
athletes from many other small colleges, says Mason, who has fond memories
of the excursion and the connections he and his teammates made.
At one stop,
Mason says, a pole vaulter from another team was frantically trying to borrow
poles from others. This vaulter had arranged to have his own poles loaded
as baggage on the plane his team took to the meet. But upon arriving, the
unfortunate athlete learned that his poles had not fit into the baggage compartment.
To solve the problem, the baggage handlers had sawn them in half.
of that mishap, Mason made sure to inform airline workers on the Sagehens'
return flight that if his poles wouldn't fit in the baggage section, they
should be set aside and sent later by some other means. Not to worry. When
he boarded the plane, there were the poles--tucked right along the aisle.
Question for Next Issue:
your favorite (or hated) Pomona traditions
your school days.
have changed dramatically over the years. Take a moment to remember some of
traditions you liked most (or least) during your years at Pomona and share
them with new generations.
submission by December 15, 2000, to: Sarah Dolinar; ATTN: Parlor Talk; Pomona
College; 550 N. College Ave.; Claremont, CA 91711, or by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include your name, class, address and phone number. Responses will
be selected based on the content and will be edited as necessary for publication.
Post-mailed responses can be returned if requested.