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BENNETT: Chatting with Lou Molinaro

It’s been more than a month since the 24th annual Vienna River Road Race was canceled by a COVID-19 pandemic.

Lou Molinaro, who always brings a smile to my face, is trying to keep his spirits as high as possible.

Other than the fact he’s a good guy, maybe the reason I like talking with him is because my mom was nicknamed “shorty” and Molinaro is more the size of Danny DeVito as opposed to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Slowed a bit by an ongoing heart condition the past year or so, one can always find him camped out during track meets at the shot put and discus as a clerk.

“I was able to do a couple of meets last year. I was planning on doing the shot put and the discus,” he said. “Chip (Allman) and I talked about this.

“He said I’ll put you down in a chair if nothing else. Monitor the shot put and discus. Don’t have to do any leg work. Need someone that knows the rules. We kind of had a plan made.”

What is it they say about best-laid plans?

Now halfway through a two-year clinical trial, where he could have a placebo, he’s seeing cardiologist William T. Abraham in Columbus, Ohio.

“It’s a coincidence the doctor I ended up getting. He asked me if I knew he went to Harvard for undergrad,” Molinaro explained while adding he went to Pitt and was from Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

He then told the doctor “your dad, your father, was the head football coach at Hempfield High and he looked at me and was on one of those roller chairs and pulled the chair over to me. I said I knew your dad. I hollered at your dad several times. He was always on the opposing team.”

Like everyone else trying to avoid becoming a bit stir crazy, Molinaro is doing what he can for sanity purposes.

“I’m looking ahead for positive things,” he admitted. “Anytime I can see a track meet on TV I watch it. I love the running events.”

Luckily, the timing of the pandemic worked out in regards to Molinaro having not ordered the trophies and T-shirts yet.

“The Vienna Road Race, which I’m the director for that, it was day before I was going to order the trophies and shirts and all that,” he added. “We’re not sure what’s going to happen.

“We still have a lot of little races. We have a Father’s Day race in Belpre. It’s going to be hard to do these races. I can’t really see how they can have a race at all. It’s just not feasible.”

With the unknown just that, Molinaro has plenty of help staying safe.

“It’s like my son says. It’s not going to happen as quick as people think,” he said of going back to normal. “When you are used to being more active and being involved more in racing for one, and the wife and I still go out and do a little walking, but our son doesn’t let us go to the grocery store.

“We are a little older. We’re closer to the 80s than the 70s. I do miss contacting people. We talk on the phone, but it’s not the same.”

He’s also missing local inside dining options.

“I kind of would like to go out to a restaurant to eat,” he added. “It’s not my wife’s cooking isn’t good. It is. It’s just the point of getting out.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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