Archive for Thursday, July 10, 2008

Trialing experience

Eric Brown disappointed to miss Beijing team

July 10, 2008

Fathers and coaches will almost always be proud of an athlete's performance.

That's almost a given in the world of athletics. It's especially true when the star isn't pleased with his or her performance.

After competing in his second U.S. Olympic Trials, Eric Brown was bummed about his 11th place finish in the javelin event. However, 19 members of his family were there to support him, including his father, Dan Brown.

"He is always disappointed when he doesn't do as well as he wants," Dan Brown said of his son. "It's like I told him, he should be proud to be there at the meet. He should relish the moment, because it's an honor to even have that opportunity. We're really proud of him and he everything he's done."

His son has done a lot in the sport of javelin during his many years of competing. He's a two-time high school state champion, an NCAA All-American and the school record holder at the University of Arkansas.

Brown has also competed at the Olympic Trials twice during his career that began at Baldwin High School. He finished 19th in 2004. His former BHS coach, Mike Spielman, who still coaches at BHS, was able to watch him throw four years ago and over the weekend in Eugene, Ore.

"It was a great accomplishment for him to get to the meet," Spielman said. "I know he would have liked to have thrown a bit further, but it's an honor just to get to compete at the trials."

On Friday, Brown competed in the preliminary round of the Olympic Trials. He battled windy conditions to throw 231 feet, which was good enough for 12th place. Only the top 12 advanced to Sunday's finals, so he was still alive for a spot on the U.S. team to Beijing.

Unfortunately for him, the finals didn't bring the results he was hoping for. He did move up one place, which left him disappointed.

"It didn't go as planned," E. Brown said. "It was tough. It didn't go the way I wanted it to. I have no idea why I didn't throw that well.

"I would get to the end of the runway and have nothing," he said. "I don't know what happened. It felt like it just stayed in my hand."

Brown could have won the event with a toss of 250 feet, which would have been slightly under his personal-best throw of 256. However, he would have needed to throw 268 feet to make the Olympic 'A' standard to even qualify for Beijing. Heading into the meet, he felt confident that target could be reached.

"It would have taken the throw of my life to do that, but I definitely thought I could do it, though," E. Brown said. "I've thrown further than the winning toss at my first meet this year. That's a little disappointing."

While the competition portion of his trip to Eugene might not have been what he hoped for, E. Brown did enjoy the meet and spending time with his family.

He went with his family on Monday before they all left Oregon. That time was special for him and his father.

"It definitely felt like I had been there before," E. Brown said of the meet. "It was a lot bigger deal this time. It was by far the most exciting meet I've ever been to. It was so much fun having the family out there with me. It was a good time. They went sightseeing a bit and I even joined them after Sunday was over."

The Brown family made the trip into a weeklong vacation. They even stayed in a house near the Pacific Ocean coast, which was about 90 minutes from Eugene.

"It was very exciting and very fun," D. Brown said. "The whole clan went out and enjoyed the west coast scenery and a couple days of the track meet."

Although the sightseeing was fun, D. Brown was in awe of the track meet.

"The atmosphere is something that's hard to describe," he said. "It's the ultimate meet for those athletes. We've been to many other places, but it's so much different in Eugene. It's an incredible atmosphere, because there is so much history there. It was a neat environment."

Now that the Olympic Trials have come and gone so quickly, E. Brown knows he must prepare for what to do now that he has earned his graduate degree. He isn't sure what the future will bring and if throwing the javelin will be a part of that.

"I'm not sure what I'll do now," E. Brown said. "Everything was leading up to this summer and it didn't go like I wanted. I may go out and get a job, but I may wait until the beginning of next year to make that decision."

Whatever the future brings for this former Bulldog, his coach knows he will always represent BHS and his town with pride.

"He's at that stage in his life where he will be starting a career, so it's hard to do everything at once," Spielman said. "It was a great honor for him to compete and represent Baldwin at the meet."

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