Do NOT Feed the Throwers · 30 April 2011

When I first started coaching Track and Field, I wish there had been a sign at the throwers’ area of the stadium simply stating, “Do NOT feed the throwers.” Unfortunately, there was no sign and I made a big mistake that keeps costing me precious sustenance.

If that sign had been there for all to see, for one thing, I would not have brought donuts to Saturday events. That first year of coaching track and field, I figured that if everybody was getting up early to come to practice and throw (shot, discus, and javelin), I could at least bring some donuts. After all, I could identify with being a teenage boy with a bottomless pit for a stomach. And I figured that when practice was done, I could take some home with me to my own boys. Of course, the teenage girls did not mind having donuts either and dug right in at Saturday practices and meets.

Besides not bringing donuts, neither would I have eaten in front of my throwers had there been a warning sign. My very first meet, one of my javelin throwers saw me eating a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Being the shy soul that he has been since I first met him as a freshman, Kenny asked if he could have a bite. Since I gave in to him and his sheepish grin (albeit with wolf fangs showing), his fellow thrower and compatriot, Tyler, asked if he could have a bite too. The two of them ended up eating half of my sandwich. But to make things worse, they started a tradition. In just the time it took to chew and swallow those bites.

If you know any teenage boys, you know that they are not merely bottomless pits where food is concerned. They look like little beggars asking for food with those sad puppy dog eyes. But in reality, they are hungry bears prowling the park seeking unattended picnic baskets or scraps of food left behind. They are human eating machines. Which is why I was prepared for them at the second meet.

In preparation for that second meet, I made a couple sandwiches for me and one for my two throwers who had begged before. I figured that I could throw the sandwich to those hungry bears and let them share (or fight for it). Then, I figured I could eat my own couple without any worries. But apparently bears talk to each other about where to find food. More throwers came. I was lucky to be able to eat one whole sandwich while the hungry bears, I mean throwers, ate the others.

This season, the hungriest bears are gone. They graduated and are getting food from other camp grounds now. But the ones who remain remembered. So I am still feeding the bears. Rather, throwers.

I love my throwers. They are much more like Teddy bears than big grizzly bears, even though they eat like the big ones. Still, I probably should not have started feeding them last year. They keep coming around and begging for more. And it seems that more hungry bears come all the time. Thankfully, they seem to be satisfied with the little bit I give them.

Hungry throwers eat more than just peanut butter and honey sandwiches and donuts. So observers, especially those with picnic baskets, must beware. Maybe it was not really a mistake feeding my athletes, but I think I should still post a sign for everybody’s safety. Please do NOT feed the bears throwers.

© 2011 Michael T. Miyoshi

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  1. I couldn’t stop laughing… nicely done!

    — Paul R · 29 April 2011, 21:12 ·

  2. I love this one! It made me smile.

    — Jill · 8 May 2011, 18:16 ·

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