A deep dive into the pros and cons of a simple sport

To paraphrase a very wise man, the only thing I know less about than “track” is “field,” but in case you haven’t noticed, ‘tis the season for high school meets all over the place.

Allow me to assure you of one lead-pipe certainty – if you go to one, you’d better pack a lunch.

And dinner.

Nobody has ever called me “Mr. Track,” but give me about a day to figure it out and I’d have these meets running on time like Mussolini did with the trains in Italy after World War I. If you think Major League Baseball had a problem with game length, high school track would like a word.

It’s a good thing graduation season is coming up or they might have to start handing out diplomas between the girls and boys 4×400 relay.

All of that notwithstanding, the thing I like about track is its simplicity. The events aren’t very hard to figure out.

In track, it’s basically this: You start here, you run to there, and whoever is first wins. (They might ask you to jump over something along the way, but that doesn’t seem to be too complicating.)

And field isn’t all that tough, at least for the most part. I mean, I look at the javelin or shot put and figure I could do that if I were (1) younger (2) stronger (3) had a better arm and (4) knew how to yell when I threw it.

High jump and long jump? Doesn’t take a rocket scientist: Run, then jump. (However, I would like to add whoever thought of the triple jump probably had a screw loose.)

Which brings me to the most fascinating event in all of track and field – pole vault.

Quick question: Are you (expletive) kidding me?

I’m being totally honest here when I say that I have NO IDEA how they do it. There are few athletic events in which I would be concerned about dying, but pole vault is one of them. Yes, I think I could avoid death at Talladega easier than I could at pole vault.

We all know how this would go. I’d saunter down the runway, plant the pole, rise up about four feet, then fault flat on my back before ever reaching the pit and suffer a massive head injury.

I realize there is a large, foam mat awaiting at the other end, but that doesn’t do anybody any good if you can’t get there.

Who in their right mind grabs an abnormally long fiberglass pole, looks up at the bar that seems way too high and says “Gimme a shot at that.”

And I found out earlier this week that it’s even more complicated than I had previously thought. Not only are there horizontal settings for the cross bar, there are also vertical settings for the standards that hold the bar. You can move them closer or farther away.

I’d want them moved into the equipment room.

Full appreciation for the technique, strength and athleticism that goes into it, but you people are crazy.

About as crazy as the people who put out a schedule of events and expect the meet to run on time.

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com