Kemboi doesn’t miss a beat with theme music


Jessica Darland/Iowa State Daily

Senior Edward Kemboi received first place in the men’s 800-meter run with a time of 1:48.68. The Big 12 Indoor Championship took place at Lied Recreation Athletic Center on Feb. 28. Texas took the trophies for both men’s and women’s track and field.

Trey Alessio

Music can be a motivator for a lot of people, but for the ISU men’s track and field team, one song provides fuel to get it going.

John Cena, the WWE superstar, has a theme song called, “The Time Is Now.” In the song, Cena raps the words, “you can’t see me.” That phrase became a motto for the men’s middle distance group, in particular.

“Every time the music plays, nobody is going to see us,” said senior Edward Kemboi.

At the Big 12s, it started during the distance medley when Cena’s song started playing on the loud speaker. The distance medley team seemed to be uplifted, with multiple runners waving their hands in front of their face. The whole team seemed confident.

That confidence grew from Kemboi. He said every time that song plays, he feels more confident — not cocky, but as if he can win every time. The distance medley team didn’t finish in first place, but Kemboi had himself a meet for the books — literally.

He won the 1000-meter race, in which he crossed the finish line waving his hand in front of his face — just like John Cena does. Kemboi also finished first in the 800-meter race only 20 minutes after finishing the 1000-meter. He became the first athlete in Big 12 history to win both the 1000-meter and 800-meter in back-to-back seasons.

“It means I’m better than you. Every time I cross the line, if somebody’s behind me, that means that you can’t see me,” Kemboi said about the song.

Kemboi said he’s been a fan of wrestling for a long time and the team motto originated from there.

“I grew up watching wrestling. I like John Cena,” Kemboi said. “The first time I realized I liked him, I saw him fighting the Big Show — 7 feet tall. I was like, ‘is he going to do it?’ Then all of a sudden, he picked up Big Show and did the, ‘You Can’t See Me’ and I was like this is guy is great. I’m going to root for this guy all the way. That’s where the, ‘You Can’t See Me’ came from.”

The “You Can’t See Me” has become a popular thing for the ISU men’s track and field team. Even ISU assistant coach Jeremy Sudbury gave Kemboi the hand wave at Lied a day before practice had started.

Kemboi said he tries to lead by example, but he told his middle-distance teammates that every time that song plays, they don’t have to think about anything but the track.

“We don’t have tomorrow or yesterday. The time is right now. Let’s do it right now,” Kemboi said. “That’s what the song means.”

Kemboi will be heading to the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. on March 13 and 14.

“I know going to NCAAs they might not play it, but I’ve got my headphones. Twenty minutes before my race, I’ll be listening to the song,” Kemboi said.