You’re taking the best minds in the sport and letting them have some freedom and let them be the artists that they need to be. John Godina on his ALTIS World staff
Dave: Here’s something I’ve been curious about. I coached a lot of high school track and field and you’re there (at a meet) all day or all weekend. Do you think there should be some adjustment made along the line of making it easier for family and friends or do you just ‘well that’s a part of being a track athlete’?
John: That’s kind of the beauty of it. It takes so long because so many people want to do it. It’s a very participant rich sport. It isn’t the easiest thing for people to observe, you know? You get out there 12 hours a day, Arizona…that’s not the ideal situation in the summertime. There’s a lot of things that people have tried to do to make it different. I think the biggest that could ever occur is if facilities had two tracks side by side. It would cut your hours in half. Truthfully most schools have extra soccer fields anyway, so having two tracks side by side really does make a lot of sense. Especially when you figure that your track team could have 200 kids on it and not enough room on the track for them. It’s jus probably something nobody has really thought of before.
Logistically speaking I think the meets run fairly well, it’s just that there’s a lot of people who want to do it. It is what it is.
Dave: That’s the good part…and the bad part?
John: It’s good, it’s bad. You have large invitation meets that are 120 teams at the high school level. It’s such a carnival that they just enjoy it despite the hours and the running around. It’s a unique aspect to our sport that other sports just don’t have.
So a ton of athletes having different abilities can go to the Chandler meet or any large meet, where a football team you have to be at the very top-level to be at that kind of carnival.
That’s what makes our sport so great. If you’re doing our sport and you are never going to make it to the state meet you can still participate, challenge yourself and get something out of it and grow as a person because of it. You’re going to have the same thing in football and basketball and other sports, but just not the same way because you’re not necessarily going to get that opportunity to compete if you’re a mediocre or lower level football or basketball player. You might never even see the court or the field.
There’s something to be learned from practice and team work, and I think there’s valuable aspects to that, but nothing beats pure participation. Our sport’s unique. You get to go out here and try to improve on yourself and you have empirical evidence as to whether you’ve done a good job. You have feedback as to the process, and you just don’t get that in other places. It’s the greatest sport for personal development out there.
Dave: And you believe it, right?
John: I do. We got a whole lot of athletes here (ALTIS) that are never going to the Olympics, but they’re welcome to come and try to improve themselves. ‘Let’s get some personal bests, let’s see how good we can ultimately be.’
And it’s not about, yeah we’re going to win a lot of medals at the Olympics. But it’s not totally about that. It’s about what can we do to keep this sport growing and thriving and a lot of that has to come from the people enjoying the personal experience, and the sport, and improving themselves.
Dave: Just from what we can see here (PVCC/ALTIS), you seem to have some really quality people. Athletes and staff.
John: Best (staff) in the world. I’ll put it up against anybody. I’ll put it up against any major university, I’ll put it up against any federation. I’m saying we’ve got the best staff on earth, and we’re continually adding more people who just keep the level growing. I feel like we attract good people because they believe in the environment.
They have the freedom to practice what they want to do, they don’t have mandates and dictates coming from up high telling them how to do their jobs. I believe that if we hire the best people on the planet that I as “administrator” have absolutely zero capability to tell them how to do their jobs. I don’t know anything more than they do, there’s no way I have a right to question how they’re training the athletes. It’s just a matter of trust and freedom that you’ll probably not get anywhere else.
I love the fact that we can give them that opportunity. That’s growing the sport too. You’re taking the best minds in the sport and letting them have some freedom and let them be the artists that they need to be.
Dave: That’s quite a statement!
Garry: Yeah, that’s awesome. We were in awe before. After hearing what you say…
Dave: We were only in semi-awe, now we’re in total awe.
John: I got a 50% awe increase. That’s great!
Coming next in Living a Dream
- Garry’s Incredible Journey to the Trials
More with Pole Vault Legend Steve Lewis
Wrap-up Interview with John Godina
Dave and Garry: Appreciations
New Living a Dream Feature: How to Get Nowhere Without Even Trying
Which one of these fictional sleuths should Garry emulate to discover the whereabouts of Constance Delaney?