My university, Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California, was a rareified atmosphere, to say the least. During my tenure there, from 1976 to 1982 ( a year in the seminary, and working in an auto plant included), I finished degrees in European History, Fine Arts/Painting and came close to a third degree in Modern Dance (my son will love this). Also during that time, I ran cross country, track invitationals and road raced to my heart's content, knowing that the small band of runners at the school were never going to .....
put our sports activities above our educational activities.
One of my favorite professors was Dr. Istvan Mocsy. Hungarian, and a child of the old Soviet system, one could tell when he had office hours as the constant gray smoke from his old country cigarettes would billow out of the top window of his office. The good doctor knew that I ran and in fact, would wake me up from my lunch nap. I slept outside of class, next to a tree near the center of campus. Dr. Mocsy would see me stretched out and gently prod me, " Larry, time for class." I took all nine of Dr. Mocsys' European, Russian and German history classes. They were a combination of culture, history, and literature courses.
Dr. Mocsy, spoke to me sometimes about Emil Zatopek. He admired my running, but told me to keep it under wraps when the time came to apply for graduate school, because I did not want them to think I was a jock.
My college coach was Dan Durante, a professor of engineering and a manager at Lockehead Missles and Space. He lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where we would
join him for fifteen to twenty mile runs on Sunday mornings, through the ghosttowns of those mountains. Our discussions on those runs started with politics, then switched to free trade issues, and then, in the last few miles, to the normal discussions young males have on weekends.
Dan also met us on Tuesday nights at the Los Gatos track, where we did our interval work, for about two hours. Either it was mile and half mile repeats or sixteen to twenty times a 400 meter, but the workouts were tough, but enjoyable. Wednesdays were study days, cut midday by a twelve to fifteen mile run.
Most of the cross country team were real students. Engineers, journalism majors, and then me, the history major and painter. Santa Clara was a great place to be in the seventies ( I had three sisters there and my mother going at the same time as well).
But the great thing was, we lived a sheltered life. We ran, we studied, we goofed off like normal college students. Some of us ran twice a day. One of my teammates scored just under 8000 points in the decathlon! So, we had all levels of athletes.
I think that many times, how lucky I was, to be in a university setting where sport was really play, and I was there to learn and open my mind to the likes to Thomas Mann, Joseph Conrad and many, many others.