Strolling along the red curve of the track, a lively group of teenagers pushes a possibly stolen Trader Joe’s shopping cart filled with weights, shots and discs. Between their banter, the group digs their feet into the rough, red turf inch by inch to make their way to a secluded part of Palo Alto High School: the throwing arena. One tip in the wrong direction and the whole contraption could topple.
When thinking of track and field, images of running, jumping and Usain Bolt come to mind. Few people ever consider the throwing events — in fact, many do not even know they exist.
Because of its lack of popularity and general disinterest in its events, the Paly throwing team is often overshadowed by the classic running events. For the 2015 spring season, the shot put and discus team has a meager 17 competitors for its two events, in comparison to the 100 competitors in running and jumping events. Unlike typical events, shot put and discus consists of throwing a weight or disc as far as possible, an action that requires a unique kind of athletic ability.
“In terms of the workouts, it is a little harder to practice throwing because you have to work on form and you have to learn something brand new,” says head coach Haris Sultani, a Paly throwing alumnus.
Aside from working on form, the throwing team focuses on running and core workouts, which help create short-term muscle used to spin oneself during the throwing process. According to the team members, their main workout day is on Monday, but they continue to practice throughout the week. The workout consists of jogging laps, sprinting repeated 100 meters and doing planks and push-ups.
Despite not having a solid fan base, the throwing members bond with each other through non-conventional methods. When the team is not practicing, they can be seen eating Trader Joe’s lemon popsicles, loudly fighting each other with the athletic trainer’s water and ice and laughing over “Yo Mama” jokes.
“It is really easy to make friends on the team, and our coach is great at keeping the environment fun and entertaining,” says junior Ryan Jamison, a varsity shot put thrower. v[slideshow_deploy id=’6491′]