Pete Taylor, our Hall of Fame meet announcer, has been through the medical ringer over the years, but always bounced back. I’m hoping his luck holds as he faces yet another challenge.
“On February 16,” Pete writes, “I suffered my third stroke; very soon thereafter I was lying in a bed in Inova Fairfax Hospital (Falls Church, Virginia) to begin a 3-day stay on an inpatient unit there.”
His second stroke was in March 2012.
“The date of my first stroke is not known, as I only know about it because the radiologist in 2012 indicated that I had had an earlier stroke,” he wrote me this weekend from Fairfax, Virginia. “Also in recent weeks I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, and on March 15 I will begin wearing an oral device at night to get more sleep.”
As a result of these issues, he says he’s written off the rest of 2021 — and thinks announcing meets is a “rather small” possibility in 2022.
“No doubt essentially all of my best announcing is behind me,” says Pete, who is 76 but never looks his age. “We definitely need new announcers for masters T&F.”
Ten years ago, I wrote about another health scare:
Peter Taylor, masters track Primo Announcer for Life, underwent scheduled surgery Wednesday, according to masters mole No. 2331B. “He says he survived OK,” the source says. “He sent a short note last night, asking us to wish him luck. I think he was feeling nervous. I’m sure words of encouragement would help him heal.” Of course, this isn’t the first time Peter has battled back. He recovered from cancer several years ago and suffered a pulmonary embolism six years ago. The latest surgery involved a sensitive region. Please join me in wishing Pete a swift recovery!
I first showcased Pete in December 2002:
In June 2016, I interviewed him again, asking: Who might be your successor as regular announcer at masters nationals?
He replied: “I wouldn’t think that anyone would want this job. Put bluntly, it’s a job that can’t be done well.”
I know a few thousand athletes who’d beg to differ.
Get well, Pete. We love you and need you.
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Get well, Pete. Sending prayers your way.
Please take care of yourself and get well. It may be time for you to enjoy sitting in the stands with the many athletes who so admire you.
Peter Taylor is a selfless individual who has given so much to Masters track and field. He’s also a wonderful person who doesn’t realize how highly others regard him. Get well soon, my very good friend.
I have known Peter Taylor for so many years. He is the “platinum standard ,” for announcing Masters Track Competition. There is no one better!! He doesn’t use notes… he knows who we are and makes everything personal and filled with wonderful information. I can’t say enough about how much all of us love you Peter. Thank you so much for everything you have done for all of us over the years. We hope to see you in the future at competitions… you should be proud of what you have accomplished my friend. I am proud to call you my friend. Heal up and come back.
Get well soon Pete. I hope you recover “with complete authority!” Those who know Pete know this is a “Pete-ism” for someone dominating a race to the point where there’s no doubt about the outcome. Echoing Roger’s comment, indeed Pete knows who we are as Masters athletes and yes all without notes! I like how he introduces the field before the event which gives it a big-time feel. He refers to me as the “great sprinter from Lawrenceville Georgia” I’m down in the blocks thinking I need to live up to that LOL! Pete is a Masters treasure and a nice guy to boot! I hope to catch up with you at a big Masters meet in the near future.
Get well Pete!
Very sorry for your strife, Sir Peter! Pulling for you!
Thank you very much, Derek, Roger Parnell, Liz, Roger Pierce, Paul, Weia, and Bob for your kind words. I appreciate the fact that there are indeed many masters people around the USA who are pulling for me. In fact, I just got a very nice card today from a masters athlete in New Hampshire.
Looking to the future, I will see how I feel physically before declaring publicly that I am ready to announce again (if selected). Now, to brag just a bit, for a long time I have had a good memory. I completed second and third grade in a total of 9 months and then did well in the next three grades.
For 7th grade I went to the Elm Street Annex of Roosevelt Junior High School in Westfield, New Jersey, a school devoted solely to 7th graders (we had 15 homerooms). For the annual spelling bee they included the 3 best spellers for the 15 homerooms, and there the 45 of us were up on the stage. Although there are all sorts of rules, the key to being a good speller is having a good memory, the ability to see the word in your head.
I marched through a variety of words, including cruet, metamorphosis, and alibi, and eventually I was the only one standing. I accepted the award, gave no speech, and went back into the seats. Later that day I told my parents, and my father asked about my acceptance speech. He was very disappointed to find out that I had given no speech at all.
In brief, my parents knew from my kindergarten days that I had a good memory, and that characteristic has helped me in announcing, formal education, and so forth.
Best wishes to all of you.
Peter L. Taylor
Well, looking again at my comment I see that I got a little too full of myself. Yes, I have a good memory, but the key is “What do I do at a meet to prompt my memory to work?” Perhaps my method can help others.
In brief, I use just one or two words to prompt my memory. For Roger Pierce, for example, I used to say either “Northeastern” or “Northeastern University” to myself, and that would open up the vault. Yes, Roger was a collegiate star at Northeastern.
For the late, great Bob Lida I used to say (or just envision) the word “Kansas,” as he lived in Wichita and went to Kansas University (or the Univ of Kansas, not sure which). For another great who has departed, the redoubtable Rex Harvey, I would simply think of Iowa. For Charles Allie, the wonderful sprinter, I would think either of Pittsburgh, where he went to high school, or Virginia Beach (he was a sprinter at Hampton University in that area).
Well, that is all I have to say. You have to do your studying, and after that you need a one- or two-word association to kick in your memory.
Sending good thoughts to you for a complete and speedy recovery! Please know, meets are not the same without your voice a the helm. Your presence always make a meet feel like a homecoming. All the best.
Sending you get-well wishes from San Diego. Hope you have a complete and speedy recovery Pete. Track meets simply aren’t the same without your masterful announcing. You are one in a million, my friend. You make our masters meets exciting and interesting. Hurry back to us.
Pete — I’m thinking of you and wishing you a full recovery. But I want to share with others my first encounter with you. It was early in my masters’ “career.” I had never met you. You came up to me in the dining room of a hotel and began reciting my name, where I went to high school, college, and where I lived. All I could think of was: “Who is this stalker?” I soon learned that the “stalker” was the best T&F announcer ever!
I have always been in awe of your phenomenal mental data base. I think most masters will agree that the best meets were the ones where you were doing the announcing. Hope to see you back at it soon.
Those are such nice words, Steve. Glad that you found very quickly that I was not a stalker; instead, I was a dedicated announcer.
I must admit, Steve, that my ability to assemble a lot of facts about someone has probably gotten me in trouble on more than one occasion. How could this guy possibly know so much about me? I am talking, of course, about women. I first noticed girls in the first grade, and much later, in masters, I found it much easier to remember facts about women than data about men. I think it has to do with a basic preference; for some reason I seem to be drawn to women. Oh, well, I guess it can’t be helped.
Of course, I do enjoy assembling a lot of facts about men, as I did with you and perhaps 750 other men in masters T&F.
Just to clarify a bit. I enjoy the male masters athletes a great deal, as I do the women. I always like to come up with some new twists, if possible. For example, years ago at a national masters indoor championship I introduced Francois Martel of Quebec, Canada, in essentially perfect French. As someone who was studious but shy as a youngster it means a great deal to me to be able to speak well in public. That’s my real story. It’s not male vs. female; I have done some terrific jobs for both men and women, and sometimes I have not done so well. So be it.
One more point: In the old days, the meet director would ask me whether I wanted to announce a particular nationals, and I would respond either positively or negatively. I definitely turned down Olathe (2013), and I rejected a couple of others. Now it is up to the chair of Masters Track and Field Communications, Sandy Triolo, to appoint the announcer(s).
In terms of my health, my single biggest problem is now Achilles tendonitis (left foot), with sleep apnea second. I do not seem to have any residual effects from the stroke, at least none that I can see. Of course, this can be “famous last words,” as a new stroke can come on very quickly, especially if your father and his mother both had multiple strokes and you have already had three. As the saying goes, “Choose your parents wisely.”
This testimonial/good wish/homage is way overdue, but my fellow New Jerseyean Peter Taylor is worthy of all the previous recovery well wishes he has so far amassed & will surely receive in the future when he rejoins us Masters in person.
Today is almost 25 years to the day I first “heard” of Peter Taylor’s extraordinary announcing skills: the 1996 USATF Indoor Nationals in Greensboro NC, my very first big time Masters Nationals, a very well run and very well attended Indoor Nationals. I did not even know Masters Track existed until 1992 @ age 33. After competing in HS/Collegiate Football & Track, then Triathlons & Lifeguard competitions post college, it took four years to successfully balance marriage/ new “old” house/2 small children/career w/ an “age appropriate” training schedule.
So I’m in the blocks for the Pentathlon 60H and this erudite sounding voice calmly but pointedly wafts over the bowl of the Greensboro Coliseum, introducing each competitor. This voice seemed to know each and every pentathlete on the opening day of the meet, and would continue to know many other athletes throughout the course of this weekend 25 yrs ago. This voice even pronounced Manasquan correctly; little did I know the owner of this voice grew up in tony Westfield New Jersey!
Over the years, as I improved in the aforementioned family/career/training balance we all face, Nationals podium appearances resulted @Disney World/Maine 3 times/Decatur/Hawaii/Boston. Peter lent his sonorous delivery to several of these Masters Nationals as well as PVTC meets, regionals in Delaware/Phillly/Widener. As comps return in this Olympic year he should be recognized as a contributor in elevating our Masters performances & thereby Masters Track and Field; he is our Masters T&F treasure.
Very nice comments, Tim. Yes, you have been a great addition to masters T&F, and I always enjoyed announcing you whether the meet was large or small. That meet in Greensboro (1996) was my first nationals, and I will never forget it. For what it’s worth, no one has announced as many nationals as I have (I know that because my predecessor, the great Al Sheahen, eschewed the indoor championships [I don’t think he did any indoor nationals at all]).
I hope that whoever announces this summer in Iowa does a wonderful job.
Pete, I just met you, but right away we bonded as we talked SPORTS of all SORTS and you knew ALL about History of The HAWAII IRONMAN TRIATHLON, in which I participated 3 times. You certainly knew all about Track & Field, and have traveled all over the USA, as a much in demand announcer. I found you to very intelligent, well spoken, and quite knowledge about many sports! You have a terrific sense of humor as well. I am so glad we met. Sending you GET WELL SOON WISHES! You are obviously the BEST Announcer The Master’s Track Association has ever had. Not to mention that you are in the Master’s Track Hall of Fame- quite a superb accomplishment in it self.
Thank you very much for your kind words, Darlene. In terms of the very near future for track and field enthusiasts, I believe that the world-famous Drake Relays is still on (April 22-24) but that the Penn Relays will not be conducted. Does anyone know whether there will be masters events at Drake?
By the way, a few years ago there was a masters pole vault at Penn, but that was eventually discontinued. Would anyone be interested in trying to make masters history by getting a shot-discus “throws duathlon” onto the schedule for Penn in 2022?
To Laura M, Julie H, Marjorie M Jackson, S Loyd, and all the others whose kind letters to me have remained unanswered, I was in the Inova Fairfax Hospital ER again 2 nights ago, this time for massive bleeding (specifically gross hematuria). I now have a Foley catheter in me. When the Foley is finally taken out I will try to respond to everyone.