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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Trying the Scottish Highland Games: Maybe Tougher Than Rugby

Ok, I'm not afraid of a challenge. I started playing rugby when I was in my mid-forties.  I have met a lot of great people through the sport, and it gives me a good reason to keep hitting the weights and the cross-trainer: So I don't get killed when the odd old-boys game pops up, or if the Pasadena B side needs a spare prop.

Well, a week before my 54th birthday, I had to try something else completely different: Participating in the over 50 division at the Seaside Highland Games and Scottish Festival this past weekend in Ventura, California. I have to admit two days after competing, I am probably more sore than after some rugby games. I will say that my fellow competitors could not have been nicer or more supportive. It reminded me a great deal how some of the guys with Metropolis RFC back in Minnesota and how much they took a 45 year old guy under their wing back in 2006, and showed a great deal of patience in trying to teach me the game.

As you can see in the picture below, I was competing with some BIG guys. I was probably the smallest guy in the group. I confess that I could not get a good handle and get a decent toss in on trying to throw the caber. I had never had a chance to practice, and I can see this is going to take more practice. The hard part is going to be finding a spare phone poll lying around. I was relieved that I did not kill anybody in the hammer toss, but I was happy I was able to at least get a couple of tosses that were successful in the weight over bar. I was able to at least get one toss of the 44 pound weight over the 10 foot mark, and just missed 11 feet. Well below the 16 feet that won it.

I will say that the guys who do the Scottish heavy athletics are very nice guys-they reminded me a great deal of the rugby community. Now, as I finish writing this, I only have one thing on my mind: Some Tylenol and some sleep.

With some of my fellow 50 and over contestants at the Seaside Highland Games at Ventura, California.
Throwing the 44 pound weight over the bar.
On the bright side, at least I did not kill anybody in the hammer throw....

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