For years I tried to get in to highland games, but it never worked out. In 2014 I was living in Victoria, BC and hating it. Money was tight and things were really tough. I heard about a rumor from a friend of mine about a group of guys who threw up by the airport. I got an email address, ripped off an email, and the guy at the other end (big Ray S., great dude) told me to come out for novice class at the upcoming Victoria Highland Games (one of the best games I've ever attended, btw). He also mentioned I should check out the Matt Vincent seminar the night before the games.
Never heard of the dude, but a quick google search showed that he had quite the throwing pedigree.
So I showed up to the field that Friday night, came across two yoked dudes crushing beers on the bleachers and asked them (like a total n00b) if they knew where the Matt Vincent seminar was going to be held. It was Matt & Andy Vincent. Luckily they were nice enough not to roast me. I had no business being there (remember, I'd never touched a throwing implement and these dudes are world class throwers), but you never would have known it. They were class acts, patient with my absolute ignorance of the sport while they tried to help experienced throwers with the more nuanced aspects of the implements. That was my introduction to highland games and I loved it. It consumed the next two years of my life. I competed in as many games as I could that year and the next. I traveled around the PNW going to games, camping, and shooting the breeze with the friendliest bunch of kilted scumbags you can imagine. It was a great fucking time. I don't have a place to train throws right now, but I know I’ll never be permanently out of the sport.
There are so many steps along this path where I could have fallen off: it’s too expensive; too hard (I’m actually pretty terrible at it); too much travel; the days are too long. There are a million excuses. But I wanted to do it. I can’t say I wanted to haul my ass out to the training field one to three times a week, or hit the weights day in and day out, but I knew those things helped me get better at throwing. It’s not about the end result. Medals are just that - medals. Competition can be fun, but winning isn’t why you do it. It’s about the community, the experience, and the joy of the preparation.
The inspirational IG quote is “embrace the process.” It’s not wrong - you do need to love the work. People who are in to old motorcycles like to ride them, but they love wrenching on them more. Artists like to see their work displayed, but they like making it more. Once you find something that ignites that passion within you, you’ll be willing to put in the work.
So what's your passion?