Track and field was a big deal when John was in West Vancouver high school in the early 1960s. Students throughout the region battled to qualify for the high point of the year -- the annual Vancouver and District Inter-High School track meet. Held in Vancouver's Empire Stadium, it drew crowds of 20,000 people and was front-page breaking news in The Vancouver Sun.
John, who ran 100 and 220-yard sprints as well as team relays in those days, qualified for the big track meets in 1961 and 1962. His mementoes include first-, second-, third- and fourth-place ribbons, mainly for relays, as well as a photo of himself on the podium at Empire Stadium.
No wonder the school track was the place John wanted to revisit when we were at West Vancouver secondary to see a film on Friday. While most of the school has been redone beyond the point of recognition since his student days, John says the track remains virtually the same. When we were there, he looked out over the empty field and walked to the track's starting point. Then he got down into his old position to await the beginning of a race.
|The track at West Vancouver secondary school was cinder when John practised on it in the early 1960s. It has been resurfaced and the spectator seats have turned from wood into concrete, but otherwise, it's the same track he remembers.|
|John takes a familiar position. On your mark.. .|
|John checks his camera. With the sun setting and the school's field behind him, the scene reminds me of Kinsella's field of dreams.|