Max Kellerman has said come up with some fairly silly takes in his time at ESPN, mainly that whole Tom Brady falling off a cliff nonsense.But the “First Take” host came up with one that really takes the cake, and this one is personal to this journalist.
On a recent episode of “First Take,” Kellerman proclaimed that track and field is not a sport and it “only tests your fast twitches.”
First of all, that take makes as much sense as Kyrie Irving’s “flat earth” logic, and anyone who suggests track and field is not a sport is a complete buffoon.
I dare Kellerman to tell that to my track and field coach, Dave Jeffrey, who fashioned a hall of fame career at Brewer High School that included multiple regional and state championships.
I dare Kellerman to tell that to Bangor’s Riley Masters, who we could see in the 2020 Olympic Games, and could run a 5K faster than Max could run a mile.
How about Kellerman mention that to Jesse “Flex” Labreck, the former University of Maine and Messalonskee High track star turned “American Ninja Warrior” inspiration? I’m guessing Flex Labreck could hold a hover longer than good ole Max.
This struck gold with this writer because track is MY sport. My varsity letter from Brewer High and all-conference accolade from my senior year proudly hang in my bedroom. I still have my regional championship medal from cross country my junior year. I wouldn’t be the fitness leader I am today had it not been for the tutelage of the legendary Jeffrey, who named me one of his captians my senior year. His last of a remarkable 24-year coaching career. I wouldn’t be the coach I am had it not been for him. I’ll admit, the only way I’d get into coaching is if the Brewer indoor track and field coaching job somehow became vacant.
If you follow high school sports in Maine, you may know that track and field sends more athletes to Division I institutions than any other sport. One of the marquee road racing events in the country – Cape Elizabeth’s Beach to Beacon 10K – was founded by a Maine high school running sensation, Joan Benoit Samuelson. Masters? His 2006 Bangor High team did something almost no Eastern Maine team does: Go to southern Maine and bring home a Class A state championship.
Thanks to a passion for the sport, this writer was given the keys to the BDN’s running beat three months out of high school, writing stories about guys whose butts I was trying to beat the season prior. The first sunburn of the spring almost always came from covering local meets. Perhaps one of my favorite journalism quotes in 19 years in the profession came from a track coach about the aforementioned Masters, who dubbed him “a Master of running.”
Kellerman is a master of idiotic hot takes, and this one was as stupid as it gets. Track athletes are a special breed of hard workers. We often see baseball and softball games rained out, but rain or shine, warm or cold, track meets go on. I’ve covered state meets on rainy days and on 90 degree days. I’ve competed in every condition imaginable. One of my best friends got a scholarship to Florida State, and held an Eastern Maine record in the mile for well over a decade.
It takes a special kind of talent and passion to take up this sport, and unfortunately, there will always be talking heads out there like Max Kellerman who try to disdain the accomplishments of some truly remarkable athletes.
Max, if you read this, I’d like to invite you to Brewer, Maine, for a 400-meter race. I have to warn you, the last time I participated in such a race, this fitness-instructing, 30-something ex-trackie completed it in under 60 seconds. I still have my spikes from high school in my closet somewhere, but if those don’t fit, my friends at Reebok can surely hook me up.
By: Ryan McLaughlin