i love the track. the simplicity. the exactness. the beauty. round and round and round with the brain totally turned off except as a monitor for the body. pure running.
but it’s also a gathering point for kindred souls who love to suffer. no matter how hard you work, there’s always someone there working a little harder. 400 meter guys sprinting till they puke, aspiring field goal kickers banging away from the 40, football players hopping up the stands on one leg, tennis players running mile repeats. a joy to share the track with so many athletes.
my current favorite at the track is Shot Put Guy. we always make up names for the regulars at the track (squirrel, mr. pants, mr. spandex). Shot Put Guy appears to be really good, though i don’t know squat about shot putters. he’s huge and spends hours in the shot put pit, covered in chalk and sweat and heaving a big ball for reasons i can’t comprehend. but he routinely almost clears the shot put pit, which i’m guessing makes him studly.
he was out yesterday. he dribbled the shot along the track with his feet like a soccer ball. the comfortable routine of someone who’s done this a million times.
accompanying him was a new accomplice, instantly named Old Shot Put Guy. he’s an obvious former shot putter. sporting a “cccp” warmup jacket. he instantly took off his shirt to reveal a body that still looks like a shot putter. huge arms, massive chest, rotund belly. for the next hour, they threw, they measured, they laughed. two guys in the corner of an empty facility, following the simple fomula: heave, retrieve, repeat. over and over and over.
why do shot putters do it? runners get a health benefit. javelin throwers get to impale people. what do shot putters get? a side show at track meets at best. one arm much bigger than the other at worst.
i leave after an hour, and they’re still at it. heave, retrieve, repeat. i don’t understand it, but i love it.
the world would be better with more shot putters.