stop your giggles, this is serious.
Saturday May 21, 2011
This post is coming to you late….Sorry! I spent all day Saturday in Albuquerque at the Rio Grande Celtic Festival playing Scottish Games. This is my very first athletic competition of any kind…and just ’cause these athletes wear kilts and have flasks hidden in their athletic gear do not underestimate these folks! They are crazy strong, in so many ways.
There are eight events at the Rio Grande games: Sheaf Toss, Heavy Hammer, Light Hammer, Caber Toss, Heavy Weight for distance , Light Weight for distance , Braemar Stone and Weight over bar. Everything seems to mimic some sort of farm work.. . all kinds of throwing and tossing or spinning and throwing at the same time. I really did not know what to expect when I got down to the field, I was both nervous and a little scared. IWhen you compete you are required to wear a kilt…I do not own a kilt…I also signed up for this thing rather late and could not order one in time. So there I am…signed in to compete, only having practiced most of these events ONCE…with no kilt. I wind my way around the tent, looking for folk I know…when LuANn ( a woman I have met once) says to me, “where is your kilt?”
“I was told I could rent one or buy one when I got here.”
“phhh…Here are my car keys…find my mazda and there is a kilt on the front seat you can use.”
Ok things are looking up! So I get the kilt , get changed laugh at the fact I have no shorts with me because when I got really fat I threw them all away. Which leads me to the caber toss and on of my favorite moments of the day. I am in the Women’s Masters Group..women over 40…we are set to do the caber Toss..our fourth event of the day. A caber is …well.. a telephone pole?!? That you have to pick up…then toss in the air and make it land at 12 o’clock in front of you….yeah….I have only picked one up…never been able to toss one successfully in practice.
So…crazy right…I actually fell, HARD, with the caber the first time…hit a hole in the grass and went down hard, turing my ankle a little and twisting my hip. But I got in there and on the second throw actually turned the damned thing, getting a perfect score…HA! On my Second…larger, heaver caber…the wind picked up. Now on a caber toss..as you can see in the photo.. the judge stands directly behind you. Very dangerous. Well… my kilt was lifted by the lovely New Mexico breeze….right up over onto my back..exposing the pink polka dot underwear I wore that day. So there I am….a 14 foot, 60 pound freakin’ log on my shoulder with my butt exposed to the entire competitive field. My urge is to pull my kilt down…but I can’t…The judge makes some sort comment..like, “oh, that’s not spandex huh?’ and as I am trying to balance this log…he ever so kindly fixes my skirt…sorry..kilt. I was laughing so hard by that point that I tried to toss but I basically dropped the caber and giggled my bare butt off the field.
You know what happened next? Some random dude….runs up to me me and gives me a pair of extra shorts his son had in his bag. I swear I wanted to cry at his kindness…I put the shorts on and turned that freakin’ caber! Another perfect score too!
We broke for lunch and got back on the tossing of heavy weights…some of the women in the masters group were asking me how long I did Track and Field in college…that made me laugh..I just told them a little about my mid life onset athlete brought on by Undisputed. One of the women said to me, “looks like you missed a chance because you throw really well.” I just said…well…I have my chance now huh? She smiled and laughed in agreement.
By about 4PM we got to our last event…this is after starting at 9AM..this is about both power and endurance! The final event? Weight over bar. AGH! So, in this event you have to toss a 21 pound weight backwards over a bar…one handed. I am tired tired tired and sunburned by this point. I joke with some of the very seasoned athletes that I doubt I can toss this thing at the six foot mark…(I am 5′ 11″). I get in the rotation and start the work. The cool thing about these games…there is constant coaching from the other athletes..tips and ideas and encouragement…yes we are competing, but everyone wants each athlete to do their best.
I quickly find myself in a small group of women as the bar seems to be defeating everyone…as we move into the 14 foot range..I hear the announcer say “ok folks we are at end of the day, those of you still competing need to dig down deep and see what you are made of…this is when you can really discover who you are.”
Wow. I know I have heard these words before….they some how give me a little …comfort…
I hit the 14 foot mark….Michelle, the other woman left…does not. They ask me if I want to keep going…I already have the field record by hitting 14 feet….do you want to keep going?
Yes…they move to 15 feet. It takes me all 3 attempts to get there…but with all of these women coaching my throw…I do it.
We move the bar to 15′ 6″. I don’t quite have the form…so I don’t make it…but I almost felt like I did. I was laughing and carrying on like a fool..and so was everyone else.
I ended up placing second over all in my age group…can you even imagine? Me….who a year ago was ready to just say…I guess my life is done…my life will never be anything more than the aches and pains of age and being overweight. I place second in an athletic competition.
I will go back…I will practice my form and compete some more. At least a little.
Oh…and the guy who gave me the shorts? He watched me the rest of the day and after the awards were given…you wanna know what he said to me?
“I really liked watching you throw because there you were looking all masculine, throwing heavy stuff, being really really strong and when you made it work you giggled and laughed just like a little girl.”
I am not sure why that touched me. Perhaps it felt like I was being accepted for being the jumble of contradictions that I am, like I was really seen….as me.