Getting A Few Track and Field Items Off My Chest


Time for a semi-regular discussion of topics common to track and field conversation.

I get it. You don't visit this site to hear me rant on about things. 

But, there are a few things I want to share with you here. Things that are good for everyone involved with the sport to know ...

  • A dropped baton is not a disqualification. It might as well be in the 4x200, and especially in the 4x100, but if the baton can be picked up without interfering with another team, the baton is very much alive and the relay team in question still in the hunt.
  • When calling out the names of field eventers about to come up for a trial, the correct terminology is "on deck" and "in the hole," rather than "on deck" and "on hold." This is a case where track and field borrows its terminology from baseball. I'm not sure what hole the expression "in the hole" refers to--it would take someone better versed in baseball lore than I am to answer that--but that is the correct usage nevertheless. For those reluctant to use the terminology in the absence of an actual, physical hole for said person to stand in, one could just as well ask "Who or what is holding the thrower/jumper, and why?" as "What hole are you talking about?"
  • While we could argue that the last bullet point is a matter of inconsequence, this next one--also near and dear to the hearts of certain field event types--is not. Sooner or later, this one is going to blow up into a controversy over who qualifies for State and who doesn't. That is, by rule, the measurement for a discus throw is to be rounded off to nearest lower full inch. So, a throw that physically measures 140-4.75 should be recorded 140-4. A throw that physically measures 140-4.5 should be recorded 140-4. A throw that physically measures 140-4.25 should be recorded as 140-4. And, a throw that measures 140-4 should be recorded as 140-4. To be honest, it's presumptuous to think a discus landing can be properly recorded even as accurately as to the nearest inch. A discus is about nine inches across and typically lands rather level to the ground. It's generally very difficult to tell exactly where the thing first touched the ground, and even more so if the sector is of grass or field turf composition. You could make a solid case for rounding off discus throws to the nearest six inches!
  • In light of the last lament, you may be wondering why MileSplit doesn't automatically round off discus marks to the next lower full inch. That would fix a lot of issues, right? Except that if the throws are being measured in metric units, the rule is to round off to the next lower even (as opposed to odd) centimeter. If that throw is ever converted to English units, you kind of need the quarter and half inches, lest the mark get rounded down twice.
  • Wind readings. Ah, wind readings! "Why don't you, Alan Versaw, post 100, 200, LJ, TJ, and 100/110 hurdle marks that come without wind readings?" Shouldn't kids who earn these times or distances have them recorded on their athlete profiles on Colorado Track XC? Well, yes, they probably should. But until MileSplit gives me an online registration system that allows filtering between wind-legal and non-wind-legal marks, it is imperative that I keep marks that aren't wind-legal out of the system, at least until that athlete will not be entered into any more events using the MileSplit database of marks (typically when the athlete graduates from high school). Indoor marks do not require wind readings because, presumably, any air currents present are clipping along at something less than 2.0 meters per second. Outdoor marks for the aforementioned events do require wind readings in order to be used as records or as seed marks for upcoming meets. It would be patently unfair for an athlete who had run a 10.80 (+3.5) 100 meter dash to be included in the top heat of a 100 ahead of another athlete who had a 10.82 (-0.4). So, the way I ensure that doesn't happen is to keep marks that aren't wind-legal out of the system. That would include marks with no wind reading.

Thank you for hearing me out!


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