I don't think I've ever told this story on here, so here goes!
I was a freshman or sophomore at Tennessee ('82 or '83) and I was walking back to my dorm from classes via Tom Black Track. I always walked by the track. The track is smack in the middle of the campus, so it's hard to miss anyhow.
As I got near the track, I saw this guy flying down the straightaway. He had neon yellow shoes on and I swear his feet were turning over so fast, the neon yellow looked like it formed circles -- just like in the cartoons.
I thought to myself that this had to be a world class athlete -- or damn close! I was taken aback by the incredible speed! As I got closer, I could recognize that it was Stanley Floyd -- on campus courting a Lady Vol trackster, the beautiful Delisa Walton.
I figured I'd hang around and watch Floyd work out some, but since there was nobody else around the track, I didn't want to be too conspicuous. I didn't want him to feel like I was "reading over his shoulder." So I kind of stood at the top of the stands -- peeking over a wall -- hoping he wouldn't see me.
All of a sudden, he looks up toward me and says, "Hey, give me a hand for a sec." I was hoping somebody was standing behind me or something! No, he was talking to me. Oh no! So I walked down there.
"I want you to time me in in ten-meter starts." He handed me his watch, which probably cost more than my car. My car now! I was so nervous I almost dropped it.
"Give me the standard 'on your mark, set, go' command and time me over ten meters."
I'm still far from an expert at track, but back then I was even moreso. Since I'd never been a sprinter, I didn't know how to do that command, with the proper time in between. So I said, "marksetgo!"
Floyd patiently told me how to give the command. After 'on your mark', wait until the sprinter is still, then say 'set'. After he is set, there is a split second before you start the race.
"I'm blowing it," I thought to myself. It was just a matter of time, I figured, before he told me "never mind."
The next time, I got the start right. I followed him as closely as I could and I've never concentrated so hard as I watched his chest cross the imaginary line at ten meters.
Right as he crossed the line, Floyd said, "One what." (As in the time -- one second and how many tenths and hundreths.)
Oh Jesus, I had him in 2.something. It took every bit of courage I could muster to tell him that. "That can't be right," he said.
So we tried it again. Again, he said, "One what." Again I had him over two seconds. He's going to chew me out, I imagined. Or worse.
We tried it about five more times and they were all over two seconds. I told him, "I'm sorry. I just don't know how to do this properly."
He told me I was doing it perfectly, that he was out of shape. He thanked me and was nice to give me an autograph for the road!