The Color Of Hunger

Posts Tagged ‘pole vault

I miss…

  • being considered an athlete.
  • being considered not just an athlete, but a damn good one at that.
  • the pre-game stretches.
  • popping my left hip in just the right spot during those stretches.
  • how flexible I used to be.
  • discovering that hey, I actually do have an arm.
  • zoning out to my music during all the long bus rides.
  • the pressures of being the only senior in my event.
  • the satisfaction I got beating my PR, even if it was only by a few inches.
  • slacking off during practice by finding new body parts to tape every other day.
  • the adrenaline I acquired warming up.
  • finding something to get pissed off at and taking it out on my throws.
  • cracking my knuckles before grabbing my stick.
  • the little indent my red javelin had between the grip and the metal part.
  • jogging from disc to jav to vault.
  • Stralser yelling at me to jog faster.
  • finding different excuses on why I shouldn’t high jump.
  • Drew not buying my lame-ass excuses.
  • the lean skinny build I used to have.
  • pre-analyzing the competition.
  • making fun of Medical Lake and how bad they sucked.
  • the patience Leah and Coach B. had when I first learned how to throw discus.
  • Crystal listing off all the reasons she shouldn’t be there and how much of a jerk Bob is.
  • improving on the plant boxes, even though I despised them and didn’t understand why we used them so much.
  • Gonzaga Prep’s weird but interesting turf.
  • seeing fans actually enjoy watching me throw.
  • having a purpose behind my day.
  • how awesome State was.
  • playing “Outburst” in the tent until my laptop ran out of battery.
  • searching for an outlet to keep it going.
  • falling asleep on the bus floor with Bruh and Sis on the trips back to Cheney.
  • laughing at the idea of sleeping in the aisle of a school bus in the first place.
  • how hungry I became after competing in a 10+ hour meet.
  • eating at Miner’s.
  • ditching Miner’s for the Starbucks and Wendy’s across the street and getting in trouble for it by almost every coach.
  • chugging Monsters and devouring Power Bars ten minutes before showtime.
  • how perfect my boots fit and how lightweight they were, even for my feet.
  • meeting new people who shared the same strengths and weaknesses as I did.
  • being told ‘good job today’ by a coach from another school I had never even seen before.
  • all the different colors of all the different ribbons.
  • laughing with Sis on how they should make a 9th place ribbon solely for Medical Lake.
  • having homefield advantage.
  • how involved Missel was.
  • the anticipation between the jav landing and the marker person telling me how far it went.
  • the muscle definition I used to have in my shoulders.
  • going to bed the night before and having nothing except the meet on my mind.
  • waking up to get ready and realizing it’s still dark out.
  • putting on my spirit bands and black spandex for good luck after a 45 minute shower.
  • the smell of rain mixed with Under Armour.
  • the sound my spikes made walking on the pavement.
  • Coach Hisaw’s amazing brownies.
  • being a part of the Junior Olympics in Wilamette, Oregon.
  • how the louder the locker room got, the closer it was to the start of the meet.
  • the bounce I had in my step.
  • beating West Valley by almost twice as many points as we had.
  • the thrower’s relays.
  • throwing on Eastern Washington University’s field.
  • movie nights after a good hard day of practice, every Thursday at Cody’s house.
  • everybody rushing to the bathrooms after arriving at the C-towns (Clarkston + Colville).
  • piggyback rides to and from the bus.
  • goofing off with Lex and turning our javelins into fishing poles with stray litter we’d find on the track.
  • Hisaw getting angry at us for it, trying his hardest to keep a straight face.
  • the pole vault crew.
  • the amount of encouragement I got from them.
  • being involved in the younger javelin throwers’ success.
  • doing homework at the meet with fellow athletes as an excellent source of help.
  • how good that medal felt around my neck.
  • all the pride that came with that medal.
  • getting distracted by all the amazingly attractive pole vaulters and their amazingly attractive bodies.
  • being able to bench two-thirds of my weight.
  • running that pre-game lap, sometimes in slippers, sometimes in flip-flops.
  • how huge Pasco’s meet was.
  • the sense of belonging I got when throwing there.
  • using Nike headbands to tie up my hair.
  • waking up early for Saturday morning practices.
  • learning from my mistakes, on and off the field.
  • washing away my nerves with poise and self confidence.
  • pretending to pole vault with my javelin.
  • how pumped up I got over Stralser’s mini motivational speeches.
  • the rush of excitement having my name read off the loudspeaker.
  • never understanding how the announcer always managed to butcher my name.
  • being the last one off the field at practices.
  • ringing the victory bell the day after the meet.
  • admitting proudly that yes, I do love track and field more than softball.

Ever since I can remember, sports have been a huge part of my life. They’re something I’ve always loved and always will love no matter how old I am or how bad I get. George Orwell once said, “Sport is war minus the shooting.” I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately, and yes, to me playing sports is in a way, a war. It’s a show, it’s inconsistency, it’s opinion backed with statistics, it’s opinion based on geography, it’s opinion based on the way a certain player wears a certain emblem or number, it’s learning from your mistakes, it’s paying attention to the way the wheels go ‘round, and it’s deciding that you’d better laugh because crying just makes your eyes look ugly. But most of all, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

I’ve always been a softball girl myself. I think my dad’s love for the game of baseball might have had a little influence on this, but take it or leave it, you would never find me outside without that oversized Wilson mitt on my hand, a bright yellow softball wedged in its grasp. There was no convincing me that softball wasn’t the greatest sport ever created. Until one day, I met Mr. Tom Stralser.

I was making my way down the main hall, destination Algebra, when out of nowhere, he grabs my arm and pulls me aside. I thought I was in trouble, I really did. Just his business way of approaching things threw me for a loop. “Hey kid, I was watchin’ yer basketball game the other day. You’ve got some springs in those legs. Why don’t you come join us this spring?” I was completely and utterly stumped. Join who? For all I knew, the soccer team had just sent an invitation my way.

Later on that day, I asked around, put two and two together, and eventually found my answer. Stralser was the head track coach for the girls. Track!?! Hah! I was probably the farthest thing from a runner. Don’t get me wrong on this one, I love my sports. But running just isn’t my venue. Hell, if you get me to attempt a 3200 you’re doin’ pretty good, but if you expect me to complete it, you must be crazy. What I failed to realize at first is that track also has a field side. Hence, track and field.
Throughout the rest of my sophomore year, I was slowly but surely being convinced (partly by myself, mostly by Stralser) that by taking part in a sport I had never even given thought to in the past, I had made one of the best decisions of my athletic career. I absolutely fell in love with track and field. The atmosphere was awesome, I was actually excelling at what I did (high jump and javelin at the time) and I had Stralser to keep me going and to help pick me up when I was down.

My junior year, I decided to venture even more outside of the box, and tried my luck as a pole-vaulter. Turns out, bigger is better. My height masked my faulty drop step, and I ended up going to State on an 8’6’’. To make things even more perfect, I threw a 112’6’’ the next day (Districts) for javelin, placing third and beating out the two Pullman girls, thus sending me to State in my second event as well. I was ecstatic. Once again, I had struck gold by accepting to try ‘something new’ and in doing so, finding out that I wasn’t half as bad as I thought I would be.

Looking back now at where I started and how far I’ve come is something I’ll always be proud of. Now, about 2 weeks away from throwing at Districts, I’m in a kind of nervous-mixed-with-excitement mood. Throwing the discus is yet another ‘something new’ I’ve decided to go with this year, and so far, it’s been pretty good to me. Javelin has been the best it’s ever been, putting me second in the league with a 121’1. I can honestly say that the coaching I have right now is the greatest coaching I’ve had my entire life. There’s one coach in particular that I will never forget; Mr. Tom Stralser.

I can’t explain to you in words how much this man has helped me in the past few years. Actually, I take that back. I probably can. However, it would take a couple trees to do so, and I’m already past my bedtime working on this paper 8 hours before it’s due (it’s currently 12:28 pm), so I’ll keep it simple and to the point. Before Stralser, I had never really experienced the kind of coach who devoted way more time than they should in helping improve my skills, the kind of coach where you can make mistake after mistake and he’ll be right there by your side telling you it’s okay, and that you’ll make better ‘mistakes’ tomorrow.  Hell, if it weren’t for Stralser, I’d still be a softball player to this day. If it weren’t for Stralser, I’d be carrying a mitt and a bat, instead of a javelin and a disc. And if it weren’t for Stralser, I wouldn’t be what or who I am today.

Spokane, WA. 26 years young. Aquarius, of course. I am a very optimistic individual driven by passion and creativity. Music is my inspiration to everything. I dig the nightlife. I enjoy discovering new craft beers and breweries. I like animals more than humans. The ocean is amazing. I have no idea what I wanna do with my life and prolly never will. But I'm going to succeed because I'm crazy enough to think I can.
May 2018
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