Fall 2000, Volume 37, No. 1

The Mystery of 47
In Full Bloom
The Sagehen Network

Pomona Forum
Being 47

Pomona Today
Say What?
Making a Gleeful Noise
New Professorships
Trustees Named

Sports Report
The Price They Pay

Faculty News
New Faces

Portrait of the Artist

Campaign Update
Community Properties

Alumni Past
The One-Man Air Force

Parlor Talk
Against the Wind

Family Tree
The Lorbeer Family

Alumni Profile
The War Room
On Wilderness Time

Alumni Photo Gallery

Alumni Puzzler
Just Say Yes

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Patrick 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.
Mulcahy had 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."
Steve Mason '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 it!"
During the 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.
After hearing 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:
Share your favorite (or hated) Pomona traditions
from your school days.
Pomona traditions 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.
Send your 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: sarah.dolinar@pomona.edu. 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.
Running Against the Wind