Shot Put This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "Girl's shot put, first call girl's shot put!" some man blares over the loudspeaker. Wait a minute, I just got here. The officials are starting shot put right now, this early? I strip off my sweater and underneath is my indoor track shirt with the school name plastered across. My warm-up pants are thrown off and I'm clad in shorts. You have to throw 24 feet today; you want to ride the bus to the state meet.

I step up tentatively to the circle to make my warm-up throw. All the girls are standing around waiting for the others to throw. I throw the shot and it feels like it doesn't go far at all. I wonder how many feet. Hopefully, I look around to watch the other girls to see if their warm-up throws go like mine or shorter distances. Not a chance. There are some girls who throw at least four feet farther than me. On the other hand, some girls are not throwing as far as I did. I take a few more warm-up throws and the results are disappointing. Maybe when the officials are marking scores for the real throw I will throw my amazing 24 feet.

The officials are now explaining the rules and regulations which I have heard so many times: You must enter and leave through the back of the circle, be in control after you throw, and do not step over the boundaries. The officials give us a few more minutes to throw. I'm thinking to myself, Why can't we just throw now and get it over with? All this warming up is not helping me in the least. Butterflies start creeping into my stomach and begin to dance around. I don't know why I'm nervous since I have thrown many times before in other meets. The official finally runs down the order. I wait in anticipation and watch my adversaries. Some of the girls throw extremely far while others fault and don't get as far a throw.

Then I hear I'm next up.

Just relax and throw 24 feet. You've thrown 23' 4" before and you can get it up there again. I do my back step and it doesn't feel right. I'm not low to the ground and the shot is released from my fingers. I look on with dismay. The shot didn't seem to go that far and I put so much energy into it. The official measures the distance and says in his loud, garbled voice: "19' 11"."

What? I say to myself. Come on, you can at least throw 22 feet. A friend asks me my distance and says I will hit 24 feet next time. I reply my usual negative reply and say that I probably won't. For now, I know I have to throw in the twenties. I do not want to tell my coach that I didn't throw at least in the twenties today. I wait around and talk to my friends until my next turn.

I approach the circle and try to think good thoughts. Remember to be quick and stay low. Before I know it, the shot put is released from my hands again. I feel that it is a good throw because I could hear my teammates clapping. The official measures the distance again and I make out of his voice that I threw 22' 51/2". This throw sure was better than the last one. Just think, two more feet and I'm in. I feel like I'm on a hot streak and I anxiously wait for my third and last chance to hit my goal. Get your act together and do it, I say to myself.

Before I know it, I step into the circle for the final time. I'm thinking to myself, pretend that this is the only chance you will ever get to throw 24 feet. That there will be no more meets and that this is my final chance. Take your time and throw far. You've thrown 24 feet in practice before so you can do it now. My coach even witnessed it. With all my strength and energy, I heave the shot put. I wish a big gust of air would come and carry it farther. I wait for the judge's voice to yell my distance. It seems like ages but he finally yells a shocking: "19'11"."


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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