Put the shot


They telling me put the shot, put put the shot
But where to put the shot?


I loved to put the shot
On the corner of the field, buried far back from the glory of the track
where streamlined sprinters thrill the onlookers
and batons pass from runner to runner in the closed circle of more esteemed team members
The agility and grace of the hurdlers effortlessly leaping barriers
And the self-assured stamina of the long distance runners
Way back from the beaten track, a single ugly iron ball gets lobbed
Or put, there was I left to read through a how to teach yourself shotput book
Shotput for dummies, really, cuz how much skill does it take to put a shot?!
Which must have been the thought of the coaches as they scouted
For some typically hefty shotput types to fill the gaps
On the team track and field squad, shotput being so unloved and odd
Like the most awkward kid on the block who always gets picked last
If track and field were a meal, shotput would be the asparagus

But I was loving the attention when a coach approached me to mention
That they needed athletes for the team, and I would be perfect
So they set me up with a tattered school jersey
A cool measuring tape on a blue plastic spool
And a silver blue cannonball, plus they even threw in a discus and a javelin, too
Which was a dream come true, cuz I always loved reading tales
About the heroes of ancient Greece, Jason, Odysseus and Ulysses
And you always saw them pictured in the act of throwing a spear
So, even though my second-hand javelin wobbled like the
flightpath of an elderly, injured pigeon lurching through the air
And my discus went eveywhere but where I aimed it
Causing sprinters to look up in panic to avoid maiming
From my mis-flung missiles in my little isle
Of a practice field, w
here I was exiled
With my discus frisbeeing like a UFO sighting so mysterious
I was happy, if a bit lonely
The miscellaneous events guy, in a one-piece looking corny

Off to the side hoisting and pelting objects
That most audiences only check for a few seconds, such as the in olympics
While waiting for something coming up next
That’s more entertaining, elevating or uplifting
Like synchro swimming, pole vault or weightlifting
And as the shot is about to be put, or the hammer bout to fly
Just as these underrated champions have their time to shine
The camera cuts away and the crowd ooohhs and aaohhs
And breaks into wild applause for the 100 metre dash just finishing
With trademark poses like bolts and beasts for the photos flashing
Which the thrower finds distracting, though not surprising:
Even he doesn’t find watching his own sport that interesting
Except that in heaving around this piece of 15th Century artillery
He can imagine it discovered in the depths of a Jacques Cousteau documentary
In a mission to a sunken Spanish Galleon amongst doubloons from Kings’ treasury
As he aims his javelin to put a speed walker out of his apparent misery

As for me, I never reached such heights of notoriety or infamy
Except to become a running joke when my understudy went to pick up the shot-put
Same time as me, and lifting it up as I was reaching down, instead
Hit me square in the forehead
But I forged on ahead nonetheless and had me a great time
Taking off school to chill at the track meets in the sunshine
Not so concerned with the sports as checking the girls in their short shorts
Finishing sixth or fifth, or with some luck, even fourth
But happy to be outside instead of bored to death in a hot portable for calculus in period four
And at 16, what youth could ask for more
Never mind the glory, hoopla and rah-rah and so forth
What ribbons or medals I never got
No matter how obscure my spot
Whether I ever was really any good at it or not
I loved to put the shot


They telling me put the shot, put put the shot
But where to put the shot?

(c) nth digri


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