Saturday, August 1, 2015

And when it's done

So this wraps up another year of live Penn Relays coverage here on the blog. It was, just like last year, a real privilege to be able to do this.

And when it's done


So this wraps up another year of live Penn Relays coverage here on the blog. It was, just like last year, a real privilege to be able to do this.

For any number of reasons, the Penn Relays is one of those events that just keep drawing you back year after year. A number of people I know in the local media who cover this thing talk often of just how much they enjoy being here.

Believe me, they don't say the same thing about covering the Eagles or Phillies.

I don't know that there is any one specific reason for it, or even multiple specific reasons. It's just the ethos of the event. Year after year, I see people come here for the first time and get hooked.

It happened to me six years ago, and I still haven't forgotten sitting there in a chilling rain watching the USA vs. the World races for the first time.

My sincere thanks to all of you who've emailed in or posted comments with your Penn Relays memories. Hopefully, we'll all be back here next year to do it again.

I don't know how much I'll be blogging over the summer, given that there's nothing like the Pan Am games coming up. But I'm sure we'll find something to talk about.

I'd like to write a bit about the Olympics, or at least what we see of them from over here. Beijing is going to be a really, really big deal, both for the sport and the politics, even if most of what happens takes place in the middle of the night our time.

If that interests you, or if you want to chat about college sports, you can email me by clicking the link at right. 

For now, I leave you with one last video, and it comes with a bit of a preamble. A few weeks ago, I was watching the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Valencia online, and I heard what I thought was a familiar voice on the public address loudspeaker.

The next day, I called up Penn Relays director Dave Johnson and asked him if my hunch was correct. It was indeed. The voice in question was Bob Hersh, who announces the USA vs. the World and featured college races at the Penn Relays.

As it turns out, there's a lot more to Hersh's story than just that. He's the English-language public address announcer for track and field at the Olympics, which has to be one of the most prestigious announcing jobs anywhere in sport.

On top of that, he's a vice president of the IAAF.

As soon as I found all this out, I knew I had to get an interview with him at some point this weekend. And while it didn't happen until after Saturday's races were done, I got a few minutes to talk to Hersh about how he got to where he is.

He's a really nice guy, by the way. We're lucky to have a number of great public address announcers in this town, from Dan Baker to Lou Nolan.

And of course, no discussion of public address announcers can be conducted without mentioning the best of them all, the late John McAdams.

Now we know that one of the very top announcers in the world works here in Philadelphia as well. It's something to keep in mind next year, and thereafter.

Until then, thanks once more for coming by.
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About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Jonathan Tannenwald
Andrew Albert
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