The Last Throw

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The following poetic concoction takes me back to 1997, where I had a chance to watch one of my fellow trackmates and friend compete for the Section Championship at a high school in Minnesota. I was an official and had an opportunity to watch her make it to the state track and field competition for the first time in two years, an achievement that included a storied competition of how she got there. This one’s for her with many thanks for her work and dedication in the sport:

The last time, the last journey

Ten years in the making

Tens of thousands in the waiting

As I enter the ring

With the disc and the shoes

With one more throw to go.

.

The first time, the first journey

Tall and scrawny

Young and inexperienced

The coach sees my long arms

The coach sees my first throw

The coach sees my will to win.

.

During this time, during this journey

Pumping it up

Running the sprints

The coach pushes me to limits

The coach teaches me the skills

The coach toughens me up.

.

As I grow up, on this journey

The scars of my past

The hurt, the pain

All confronted

All to terms

All to be put in the past.

.

As I begin my last throw

On my last journey

My rivals watch

My friends jeer me on

My family watches

As I enter the back half.

.

One of my rivals is an official.

We clashed during practice

We helped each other in practice

He has since moved on

But he was a source of motivation.

.

As I start swinging the disc

For the very last time

The thoughts of a championship

The thoughts of failure

The thoughts of toil and tears

And the thoughts of trials and triumph

All came to a head.

.

The sprint, the pivot

The turn of the arm

The hunger for the title

Came out with a roar!

As the disc was released

And it went sailing.

.

I did not see where it landed

I did not see if I was out or in.

I did know my rival saw the throw

And saw me stay in bounds.

.

With the sound of “Mark it,”

I knew it was in.

Was it enough?

Was it the longest?

Would I win it all?

I just didn’t know.

.

120 feet and three inches!

I jumped for joy!

I bursted into tears!

I made it to the top!

But drowning in a sea of jeers.

.

My rival said “Congratulations, you deserve it!”

It took me this long

It took all the hard work

It took all the energy

It got me to the top.

.

He was the first to congratulate me,

Followed by my coach,

Followed by my friends

Followed by my family

Followed by the newspapers.

.

I remember that last throw

I remember how far it went

I remember how far I’ve come

I remember the sweetest victory

I remember how it ended my journey.

.

Looking back at it today

I came a long way.

How I could relive this day

That is far, far away.

I can remember the last throw

And it made me a champion.

.

.