North-Dakota-Nice, Florida-Man and the javelin

Nobody in their right-mind would trust Sunshine-State athletes with spears

Javelin Throwing
A young, female athlete throwing a javelin in a track and field event.
Songbird839/Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s weird to see a javelin zipping through the sky at a high school track meet.

That sort of thing doesn’t fly in Florida, because the inherent risk and danger is just too great to take, and I think you probably know why. But if you don’t, let me explain it a little bit …

Truth-be-told, it’s a testament to how well-behaved and decent the young people clearly are up here in North Dakota. It’s pretty obvious when I chat, post-game, with area teenagers that y’all bring them up right and I am consistently impressed with not only their efforts on the athletic field, but also their apparent consideration and integrity off it.

No, the reason it’s weird for me to see a javelin is because nobody in their right-mind would EVER trust a Florida prep athlete with a spear that is specially designed to fly farther and truer that the garden-variety sticks one sees in vacant lots while young Sunshine-Staters play “Lord of the Flies” with their classmates. It’s just not a good idea to provide us clowns one MORE way to impale one-another, regardless of whether the perpetrator could claim it was an accident later on during court testimony.

I’ve often said that if people my age had cell-phones back in the 1980s, we would have found a way to start a little-league terrorist-cell in my hometown. But the fact is that more-or-less everybody who grows up in my state is a little touched. Seriously, the most with-it, together, straight-laced, hard-working, and composed Florida-Man or -Woman you ever met is still pretty messed up and most of them will admit it.


I can offer some insight to this phenomenon — now that the statute of limitations has run out — and tell the story of some people VERY close to me who once absconded with a friend’s boat and went knee-boarding without the owner knowing it. In order to make things more challenging, while the knee-boarders were dragging through the wake the boat’s occupants — who were impatiently waiting their turns — shot bottle rockets off the back in an attempt to confuse the knee-boarders and expedite the end of their respective rides. Whatever you might think of THAT brand of mayhem, it is made more curious by the act being performed with the boat’s running-lights purposely turned off at roughly 1:30 a.m. and it went on for quite awhile without arrest or injury.

We never figured anything would go wrong because nothing ever did.

Probably 75% of my peers have similar stories to tell, if you sit on the barstool long enough to drop their veils and peel through the layers of obfuscation and nefariousness in order to get to the part of the onion that really stinks. But unlocking the box and clipping the strands of the web-of-lies most of us craft to protect people we know is all part of the game.

Now, imagine handing THAT crew of idiots a harpoon designed by NASA. The ensuing issues and troubles would be way more injurious than a simple, middle-of-the-night trip to a spoil island to play flip-cup while "borrowing" your Mom and Dad’s boat because they’re on vacation in the Bahamas (I cannot confirm-nor-deny that particular story).

Nonetheless, the most-interesting part of the discussion for me — at this stage — is that the javelin doesn’t invariably fly farther than the discus. Now, the discus is something they WILL hand to a Florida track athlete because it resembles a Frisbee, which most of us consider fun or harmless and not a weapon-of-choice for our below-average intellects and non-existent senses-of-preservation.

You see plenty of Frisbees on the beach and in parks, but you don’t see long, thin missiles flying about lest the ambulances and authorities eventually get involved … and they would.

Which is probably the reason you don’t see javelins in the hands of Florida-Man or Florida-Woman. It’s not so much a field event as it is a potential headline.

Gaylon Wm. Parker’s column appears on Mondays and the opinions expressed therein are his own and not necessarily those of anybody possessing any level of sanity.


Gaylon is a sportswriter from Jensen Beach, Fla., but has lived all over the world. Growing up with an athletic background gave him a love of sports that led to a journalism career in such places as Enid, Okla., Alamogordo, N.M., Pascagoula, Miss. and Viera, Fla. since 1998. His main passion is small-town community sports, particularly baseball and soccer.
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