Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Me, pole un-vaulter

Me, pole vaulter

The Olympics in London are just about to begin.  It is always an exciting time, even if I don't spend much time watching.  I have read that various nations tend to concentrate on different sports and tend to show those on tv and emphasize them.  I think even Wimbledon has too many matches for very many of them to be televised much, so I can imagine a 4 year, international sports event has way too much to put on the tube.  My copy cover of Time showed the American gymnast Gabby Douglas but I gather different covers were sold all over the US.

When the issue arrived, I saw "Joe Klein, Pole Vaulter" was one of the article.  Klein's regular page is usually at the end of the issue and he is a self-deprecating writer who can take a George Plimpton-type stance about his ridiculously inept or mediocre skills.  That immediately brought back the days in my senior year of high school when I tried to be a pole vaulter.  The regular performer was hurt and the coach asked me to see what I could do, in case I might save the team a forfeit.  I had always been thrilled to see that lift up and up, 18 feet into the air and over that bar.  I figured it would be fun.

It wasn't fun.  I got no coaching, since the coach was busy with his real athletes.  I got no lift but I did get several clunkings in the head from the falling pole.  The clunks finally got my attention and the next falling pole was blocked by my forearm.  Who knew that crazy-bone nerves are not just in the elbow?  Wow!  That hurt and hurt.  I think I may have tried for 45 minutes or so and I may have come out the next day, too.  I did try to give it a full effort.  I imagined those pictures I have seen where the last moment is the vaulter doing what amounts to a one-hand stand from the end of the pole.  Nice image but none like that of me.  Don't look for me in London.

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