Today we move from the school athletes to those who coach them; we dive into the world of Track & Field coach Jim Walton. I'm sure when you woke up this morning you weren't anticipating reading about Seinfeld, rattlesnakes, and the Ancient Greeks all in one place, but that's why we've got Coach Walton on The Hot Seat:
Graham Leader: What sports did you play as a kid? What got you into sports?
Jim: All of them, I loved football and baseball the most. We played everything though. I loved track also. We had a track mowed into the pasture behind our house, had neighborhood meets and all, but I got stupid and gave up track after Jr. High (big mistake), and just played football and baseball after that! I think I was just born with a love for sports, but all my friends and my Dad loved sports too!
GL: Of all the track and field events out there, which one do you feel would be best to incorporate into everyday life and why?
J: Boy, that's a good question. They all require something that you can take into life, but I think maybe the mile because it requires speed and strategy. It requires a lot of training and perseverance but still finishes with a great kick and sprint at the end!
GL: What got you into coaching and how long have you been coaching track & field?
J: Ya know, I was just born to coach. I was coaching a neighborhood football team when I was in the 3rd grade! I have been coaching track and field for 31 consecutive years.
GL: Why do you think they ever combined running events with field events? And could they ever separate them and have them survive on their own?
J: Well I think you would have to ask the Ancient Greeks. They invented the Olympics, track meets etc.… I know they had shot, discus and long jump, as well as the running events. I think maybe that's the case because there is something there for everybody. Sometimes I think we don't really appreciate the field events, but they really require a lot of skill, practice and athleticism. By the way they belong together! It really is track and field. A great event most of us seldom witness is the decathlon: 10 events, both field and running!
GL: Funniest comedian you've ever heard? What's a memorable line or bit from their act?
J: Comedians. Well, I enjoy Jerry Seinfeld and Robin Williams, but the three stooges probably fit me the best. I use their lines all the time in track and the kids don't even know it. They think I make that stuff up! “You know ole coach so-and-so has TB and they say tuberculosis and you say no, two bellies!”
GL: You've got to spend 24 hours either on the roof of the tallest building in the world or locked in a solitary confinement cell at Alcatraz – which one and why?
J: That's easy. On the roof. I want to see the stars and breathe fresh air. By the way, I went to Alcatraz last summer. Cool place but I wouldn't want to be locked up in that dungeon!
GL: What's at the top of your bucket list of places to go or events to attend?
J: Well, there are quite a few places, but my short list would include the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and maybe the Pyramids and the Holy Land. Events, that's easy, the Summer Olympics track and field, and maybe the Kentucky Derby too!
Read the entire Hot Seat in this weekend's Graham Leader.