My Pole Vault Experience

If you've ever seen the olympics, specifically in the category of track and field, it is astonishing to see high class athletes perform remarkable challenges at unbelievable times, heights, and distances. For those who have or are still participating in any type of track and field event, you know that there are no easy roads to get to the top of the podium. For those of us who know the journey of pain, mental obstacles, doubters and the already given, blood, sweat, and tears. You know that there is no better feeling than hearing your name being acknowledged for something that you put your hard earned hours into.


Not to take the respect out of those who run or throw, but if you've ever seen a person fling themselves into the air by using a long fiberglass pole, to which they sky over incredible heights and crossbars, I bet you'd stop to take another look at the person up next. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series of actions that I had just mentioned, the event to which I had just described to you is known as pole vaulting. Although pole vaulting isn't the most popular event in track and field, it will definitely draw the attention to those who have never seen it done before.

I fortunately, had that experience last year as a sophomore to witness somebody pole vault. The first thing that came to my mind was, that persons a psycho. It may have seemed funny at the time but in actuality, you must be a little insane to use a pole to get over a crossbar set at 13 feet or higher. Think about it, not everybody enjoys running full speed into a pit box dug into the ground, and not fearing wether or not you're going to get knocked back down, have the pole snap on you, or loose your grip in mid air and fall 10 feet or higher back onto the ground. You see it's those thoughts and examples that draw a thin line between the ones who vault and the ones who don't.

As I've said before, last year as a sophomore I saw someone pole vault for the very first time and it was also that year where I took the courage to try it out myself. The first practice, there were three main emotions that ran through me, fear, excitement, and anxiety. I really wasn't afraid of me hurting myself on the pole, I was more afraid of embarrassing myself in front of all the other kids. But more than anything I just wanted to try it out because when I saw other people do it they all looked like they were having fun. Just when I thought I was about to pole vault for the first time, my coach stopped me right before I took my first step. He looked at me with a confused face, and then at the other kids who were working out. He said to me, "baby steps first", I couldn't help but feel a little embarrassed. How could I think that I was going to do something that looked so simple, without the proper training and technique. After the first practice I quickly figured out that pole vaulting is no simple sport. I was fooled by the people who put in hours of work and dedication to make it look so easy.

I couldn't believe that pole vaulting had so many different types of mechanics involved in it. By the end of my sophomore year, my personal record(pr) was 9"6", unsatisfied with those results, I went to a pole vault camp where I gained two more feet, I am now an 11ft vaulter. Still motivated to go higher, I have set a goal to vault above 13 feet this year. By no means is this an olympic status record, but pole vaulting not only physically tests your limits, but it also challenges your mind in ways you wouldn't think of. There is no better feeling than clearing a bar, especially at a height that you have worked so hard to get over. Its great to know that once you release that pole, you've made it, and your next steps are on top of the podium.

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