Saturday, August 24, 2013

Double Pump Dunks: Cross Country and 16 Bit Video Games (8/24/13)

Race: Thomas Chamberas 6k
Location: Carlisle, MA
Goal Time: 23:42
Actual Time: 24:18

Sega Genesis was released in 1990.  With it came the revolution in sports games.  But at there were always odd glitches that lived outside the pale of regular sports.  In NHLPA '93, you could score almost every time with Pavel Bure making a this left to right deke move.  In Madden '92 you could return every single punt if you were the Bills and ran back Bruce Smith to steal the punt.

But my favorite was the unstoppable double pump dunk of Tom Chambers on Celtics versus Lakers.  It was unstoppable from the three point line.  It made Chambers better than Jordan or Bird.  And it was comical. Bure and Smith are Hall of Famers, you can see computer programmers overstating their abilities.  Tom Chambers?  His career Win Shares per 48 minutes was .112 (an average player would be .100; Lebron is .241 and had a WS/48 of .322 last year).

Alas, this race - which opened this year's USATF-NE Cross Country Grand Prix - isn't named after the double pump dunking master of Celtics versus Lakers. Instead it is named after an adorable 8 year old kid - Thomas Chamberas - who has been stricken with Cystic Fibrosis. The race raises money for research for the CF Foundation to help Tom and others like him.

Cross country is a broad category.  You can have some races that are largely over grass with some fire roads like the Mayor's Cup or other Franklin Park Races.  Or, you can have a race around an empty college campus with some running over athletic fields and a little trail thrown in like the 4k on the Fourth. Or, you can have a virtual trail race.

The Thomas Chamberas was one of these trail races.  The start was not the classic Cross Country field start.  Teams did gather together (I was the only SRR racing), but in a road race box instead of the long rank of Cross Country.  I fit myself a bit to the back, next to the Cambridge women's team.

At the gun, most of the Cambridge women moved left and shoved their way past me.  The first half mile or so was through meadows of the state park.  Then (after I had passed most of the Cambridge women who had so desperately needed to get ahead of me), the race enters the woods and what Chris Smith called a technical climb.  It was.  Switch backs and surprise rocks throughout.  I put myself at the tail end of a group with USATF-NE President, Tom Derderian, leading the way and taking a relatively easy climb.

On the way down I passed most of the group and spent the next 2 and a quarter miles passing people who appeared to run out too fast in the beginning. With about 200 yards to go, the race ran out on to the park's main road - where I passed one more person.  Then a sprint to the end brought in the 3.27 mile "6k" in just a bit slower than my goal 7:15 pace.  Considering Thursday's Double Disaster - I felt it okay about it.

If you want to help put a slam dunk on Cystic Fibrosis - click here.

Coming in hard at the finish
Photo by Krissy Kozlosky


  1. Thanks so much for coming out! Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for posting the link to the CF Foundation too.