Could Dick Tan Ever Run!

The school decided that we were going to have a track and field team. It wasn't organized very well and we didn't have a Phys Ed program or a teacher so things happened at the last minute, people practiced in various locations. One year we all had to head down to the old dirt track south of Battleford where there used to be stock car races and pow wows to hold the distance running events. The good thing about holding the long distance races there was that the track was made of dirt and there was no gravel on it, some of us didn't have running shoes so we could race in stocking feet and you didn't have to worry about stepping on any stones.

Someone decided we should have a relay race, I think there was only one relay team from each division, it might have been junior, intermediate and senior. The big race was held at noon hour and started right in front of the school. There was no track so there was no place to hold it except on the road and the teams would race around the block. The Teams of four were chosen and spread out approximately 100 yards apart. We had to send people out to each corner to stop traffic once the big race started. Could you imagine that happening today, it would make the papers and the school would be sued.

I was a senior, but wasn't part of the relay team. I remember that Gerry McNabb and George Petch were running on the older teams. The junior team was made up of students from grade 9 so we kind of wrote them off because when you are a senior the kids in grade 9 don't count for much. The race started and we were in the lead, everything went well until George who was our fastest runner got the baton and headed to the last corner down by the rink, he was well in the lead and we could taste victory. But about 15 yards behind was Dick Tan and when he got the baton it was obvious something was wrong, he was only about 5' 3" but he was gaining on George, he ran like the wind, we watched in disbelief as he caught him, passed him, and won by about 5 yards. We were in a state of shock, where did this guy come from. It was very embarrassing for the senior team but we made lots of excuses and put it out of our minds.

When track season came along it was interesting how the whole practicing thing worked itself out. One spring when the track season was in high gear Gregg Sheppard's hockey career almost ended before it started, his sister Shirley was practicing throwing the discus in the field in front of the school, a ball game was going on, kids were crossing the field coming back from downtown, some of the guys were heaving the javelin etc. kind of organized chaos. The field was shared with kids from Junior High, I think that High School only occupied the top floor, the ground level and the basement had younger kids but I can't remember if they were elementary, Junior high or whatever. Into the portion of the field she was claiming as her practice turf Shirley let fly with the discus, Gregg was out on the field doing something and when he heard a shriek from Shirley and turned just in time to get whacked by the discus which broke his arm. She was terribly upset that she had nearly killed him "Dutch" was the nickname she had for him. Shirley was very pale in class and spent the afternoon telling everyone "I could have killed him, I could have killed him.

Good old Battleford and Track and Field time, its a miracle that he was the only casualty.