Friday, February 26, 2016

The Dangers of Pole Vault

Dashing down the runway, firmly gripping my pole, I started my first warmup run of the day. Every pole vaulter knows their step, meaning how far back from the pit they start their approach. Just a day before the meet, I had been starting from 73 feet for my six step approach. I did the same for my first warm up run of the day and soon met an invisible wall when planting my pole into the box. My final step was almost three feet back from where it was supposed to be.

The sight spectators saw, could be described as a kid running into a screen door. Their head immediately jerks back, wrenching their spinal cord into a full semicircle as their feet are swept beneath them. I was brutally clotheslined due to my step being out and holding the pole tightly. Once my feet were swept beneath me, I was sent through the air like a doll hurled by a raging child. With in milliseconds, I had slammed into the side of the mats and then shoved down by gravity head first into the metal pit where you're supposed to plant your pole.

Whenever someone thinks about a pole vaulter, the word crazy immediately pops into their head. With a connotation of a wild, drastic, peculiar meaning, this is not all that offensive to pole vaulters. At a normal highschool polevault height, I would have to disagree with the comment, "You must be crazy to do that." The current wisconsin division two state record is only fifteen-feet, one inch. In perspective to the towering 20+ feet olympic vauters jump, this is a very low height. In order to be considered a "good" pole vaulter in the state of Wisconsin, one needs to have a personal record of 14 feet and above. At this height, there are not a lot of very dangerous events that could occur. There are definitely some results vaulters want to stay away from, but the big dangers presented when vaulting olympic heights, are simply not present.

Yes, there are a lot of different things that could happen when pole vaulting, but brutal events such as death are almost completely out of the picture. The only time I have seen a vaulter draw blood when vaulting is when a girls, pole snapped due to how old it was, and when my own hands rip open from blisters and or calluses. Both of these can be prevented by simply taking proper precautions. After reading that polevault at a low height is not that dangerous, I would highly encourage you to try it out for yourself as there is no other experience parallel to a sport like polevault.

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