In my first post Don’t dream your life, live you dreams, I explained why I’m training as an athlete, throwing javelins. For my new readers and those who don’t know me too well, you may be wondering how I got to where I am today. So I thought it would be a good idea, to make you acquainted with ‘My journey so far’.
Whilst I was at secondary school every autumn when we came back from the unforgettably long summer breaks, the overburdened plum trees edging the school fields were ripe to burst. So what do any school lads do when there’s a surplus of juicy plums overloading the bushes? Plum fights of course! With a lack of snow on a hot September day, plums were the perfect replacement for a snowball. I remember hoards and hoards of kids scurrying out at break time to quickly get to the mass hedgerow, just so you would be on the side that had unlimited ammunition of the purple jewels, whilst the people who got let out of class late, or came from the buildings further away would have to face a bombarding assault of fruit, only being able to return fire, with the miniscule proportion scavenged off the grass, that hadn’t split or burst on impact.
From this brilliant game, I discovered very quickly, that I was good at throwing in comparison to my fellow troops of war. In fact, I was so good, I inadvertently gained my own platoon in these savage battles. With me playing the part of artillery, they ran relentlessly back and forth to the bushes to stockpile a supply of plums, to then all stand and watch me throw them through the air effortlessly, to hit and stain the enemies immaculate white shirts, their mums had so lovingly cleaned for them the day before.
Therefore it wasn’t too much of a surprise to me when we finally got to handle the javelins in PE lessons that I was naturally good at throwing them, unlike some of my mates, who somehow managed to almost knock themselves out, whacking the back of their heads with the metal instrument or throw it a measly meter in front of them. They would turn to me and ask how I could throw it so far. I would just shrug my shoulders and respond.
“I just throw it”.
I very quickly got selected to represent the school in athletic competitions, to throw the javelin. When I was fifteen, I won the Northamptonshire County School Championships, with a new personal best, 46.69m, which enabled me to compete in the English Schools Athletics Championships. However that year the Stadium was waterlogged and the event was cancelled. I never got noticed and decided not to take it any further, as I was already representing Northampton County for badminton, and had the aim to represent Great Britain or get good enough to earn a scholarship at Loughborough University, so I could continue my love for the sport and get a degree at the same time. Unfortunately I never reached the level or calibre I had dreamed of.
Fast forward a few years, I went to the University of East Anglia, rowing became my sport for most of my degree, and is worthy of a blog itself. In short I came to the same realisation as I did in badminton, I wasn’t going to cut it, to represent Great Britain. My options were running thin; I left university, 23 years old, the start of the optimum age for most internationally recognised athletes. I was still nowhere near the dream I had since I was a kid, to wear a top with ‘Great Britain’ written across it. I needed a sport to do, but what? Now we’re back where I got to in my first post.
The 2014 Commonwealth games was on TV that summer and I started to have the same thoughts I always had when I watched athletics on TV… If I pursued javelin nine years ago when I was younger, instead of badminton or rowing, would I be there now? I had a quick look online and realised a lot of throwers threw until there early thirties! Well why not give it a go?
My story will continue in ‘My journey so far (Part II)’.