|THE 1ST ANNUAL
LONG & STRONG THROWERS CLASSIC
AT LANCASTER McCASKEY HIGH SCHOOL
445 Reservoir Street, LANCASTER, PA 17602
Saturday, June 17, 2000
RESULTS PHOTO GALLERYFrom the Ground Up By Glenn Thompson
On June 17, the Long and Strong Throwers Club held the first annual Long & Strong Throwers Classic. Rainy forecasts gave way to heat, humidity and clear skies as 31 competitors from age 17 to 80 went at it at Lancaster McCaskey High School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The meet was highlighted by an American Womens (age 40-44) hammer record by Neni Lewis ( see page 26).
Perhaps you are wondering why should you care about our little throwers meet? After all, there was no network (or local even) TV coverage. No corporate sponsors. Not one "elite" athlete.
The answer is quite simple: its a model for others to follow. As anyone who reads LSTJ knows, I am a big advocate of helping yourself rather than waiting around for someone to hand you something. Must have been good parenting I suppose. And throwers hosting meets for throwers is just that. I dont propose that the Classic was the greatest throwers meet ever. Ive been to bigger, and perhaps better throws-only affairs. But the value in what I am presenting to you is a model of how to pull off an event that people enjoy and look forward to returning to the next year.
With this in mind, allow me to drop a little science on you about how to put on your own show. The following are some of the key elements.
Talk of the Classic began in the winter of 98-99. I remember myself as being gung-ho about having our own throws meet that coming June. But older and wiser (man, it hurts to say that) club members prevailed upon the need to take our time and figure out exactly what we wanted to do. For this reason, we decided to wait until June of 2000. Monthly meetings began in September of 1998.
Timing is often everything. Thats why movie and record releases are changed all the time. And in track, it makes no sense to schedule your event when its going to bump up against an older, more established meet that would draw competitors away. June 17 was chosen because it represented a hole in the regional calendar that was virtually unfilled.
A very key element! The venue for your event must meet your anticipated needs. In our case, we knew that we would be contesting the hammer. And if you are going to run the hammer, youre going to have divots. Divots tend to significantly raise the core body temperatures of athletic directors and football coaches. You must find a school/facility that understands what you are trying to do. Then once you have secured the facility and used it, return it in as good or better shape than you found it. Be prepared to address safety concerns as well. Your location must have an adequate cage. LSTC was fortunate enough to secure McCaskey high school because of a long-standing relationship with its track coaches.
When you get right down to, its always about the Benjamins (dollars for the hip-hop impaired), aint it? Nothing runs without cash. You need to have some broad idea of revenue sources and expenses. In our case, all revenues came from entry fees.
As for expenses, they are multiple. We were blessed with free usage of the high school facilities. Something that could have presented a major expense, simply was not. You then have officiating. Most officials are good people who give their time at way below market prices. Keep them in mind. We paid our officials for the day, a decent sum but nowhere near what their time, effort and sweat was worth. Our litigious society demands that your backside be covered at all times. Looking for insurance through private companies is outrageous. Go through your local USATF association to get coverage and their sanction for less than $50. You must also shop for medals for your winners. Check local and national retailers for best prices. There are other miscellaneous expenses that are incurred, so be prepared for them.
Have enough!!! Few things are more frustrating than to show up at a meet ready to kick a little a, then finding yourself holding a clipboard or bending over all day to mark throws. Know your officials and know that they are reliable. Get firm commitments from them. And just in case, it never hurts to have a couple extra on hand.
Does a tree that falls in a crowded wood make a sound if no one is there to here it? Does an event have participants if no one knows it exists? I dont smoke any illegal substances so I cant really answer the first question, but I definitely know the second. Getting the word out is of the utmost importance, especially your first time around. There are many ways to announce your event. Put your event in National Masters News. Use the internet to post it on THE RING or local USATF associations websites. Beg and plead for mailing lists from other meets. Take your entry forms to meets that precede yours. Look to your local newspaper for For the Participant sections that advertise upcoming events.
Dont Reinvent the Wheel
LSTC certainly did not invent the concept of a throwers meet. Its been done for many years, with varying degrees of success. When looking at our meet, we borrowed from our experiences elsewhere. Everything from scheduling to our entry form had their genesis with some past experience.
Dont Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
If this reaches Bill Gates, feel free to skip this paragraph. To all others, be modest in what you attempt your first time. Start small, do it right, and build upon it. Illusions of grandeur can leave a fiasco that people will talk about for years and years. We were actually concerned that the meet would have too many participants, so we limited it to Masters only. As meet day drew near, it was obvious that was not to be the case, so we extended it to Open throwers and allowed a few day of the meet Preps to straggle in.
Where do I start here? I wont even try, but I will tell you that things like drinks and food, hammer inserts, sector lines, measuring tapes, competitors lists, implement weigh-ins, registration table and much, much more should be accounted for. The minute you take things for granted, Murphys law will jump up and bite you.
So now you ask, "How can I do this? Im just one person." Congratulations, you are correct in your assessment! But Im sure you know and associate with other throwers. LSTC is nothing more than a loose association of throwers who have developed friendships over the years. Band together, form a club, and get active. Im not the first to say there is strength in numbers. Pulling off a meet takes a wide variety of talents utilize them all!
Now, I think weve done our part. The next time youre griping about not having anywhere to compete, dont tell it to me, because Im not hearing it.
Trey Jackson- Meet Director
Terry Shuman- Club Founder
Warren Taylor- Goodwill Ambassador
Dan Folk- Director of Facilities
Troy Herr- Whoop-Aofficial (divot filler)!
Glenn Thompson- Minister of Propaganda