Sports writers are a surly lot.
We are taught to be unbiased, which can cause us to seemingly be void of emotion. A lot of journalists are cynical and jaded, thanks to years of covering the worst life has to offer.
That’s why covering the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene the last four days was a breath of fresh air.
It was hard to not get goose bumps as the huge crowds at Hayward Field rose to their feet as the milers hit the home stretch Sunday.
It was difficult to not be inspired by the performances of athletes who likely have given up all semblance of a normal life the last four years, training exhaustively to have their one chance at fulfilling an Olympic dream.
It was hard not to feel the disappointment of the athletes who stumbled or tripped, the emotion of defeat washing over them.
The trials are the closest thing to going to an Olympics that most of us will ever have.
The fact they have been in Eugene in 2008 and this year makes it even better.
Not only is this Oregon city truly Track Town USA, but it also is an easy drive from the Tri-Cities.
It presented an opportunity that a few Mid-Columbians took up, going and watching the nation’s best compete for a chance to get on the ultimate world stage in London.
From Bend’s Ashton Eaton setting the world record in the decathlon, to the controversy of a tie between Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh in the 100 meters, to Justin Gatlin returning from a four-year suspension and winning the men’s 100, to Oklahoma’s Brittany Borman not only winning the women’s javelin on her final throw Sunday, but earning the Olympic "A" standard and setting the meet record.
And to top it all off, Oregon graduate and crowd favorite Andrew Wheating -- who helped captivate the country in an epic 800 at the 2008 trials -- roared back to finish third in the 1,500 on Sunday, much to the delight of the Ducks faithful.
Needless to say, if you relied on NBC’s one-hour, tape-delayed coverage of the track meet, you sorely missed out.
And if you are a smart track and field fan, you already would be scouring the web for details on the 2016 trials, which easily could be held in Eugene again.
Don’t make the mistake. Buy tickets and go watch athletes who compete for more than just money, but also for representing their country.
Washington connections: University of Washington graduate Katie Mackey and Tacoma native Andrea Geubelle struggled on the last day of the trials.
Mackey, from Colorado, finished ninth in the women’s 1,500 in a time of 4 minutes, 11.46 seconds. Morgan Uceny won the title in 4:04.59.
Geubelle took 11th in the long jump, leaping 20 feet, 7 3/4 inches.
It has been a wild spring for the Curtis High graduate.
Three weeks ago, Geubelle thought she won the NCAA Division I title in the triple jump, launching 46-11 3/4. But 30 minutes after the contest ended, the Kansas junior learned the mark was thrown out on a late challenge. Her toe was a millimeter over the line.
The overturned jump was taken away, and she finished third, instead of first.
Rather than let that moment define her career, she came to Eugene and advanced to the finals in the triple jump, eventually placing third with a jump of 45-3. She didn’t qualify for the Olympics, however, because she hadn’t met the Olympic standard.
Brittney Reese won the long jump Sunday with a jump of 23-5 1/2.
* Craig Craker: 509-582-1509; firstname.lastname@example.org