She tries her hand at skillet tossing
© Today’s Sunbeam
In my mind, I had my acceptance speech all planned. I rehearsed the script mentally …
“I am honored to be presented with this winner’s mug, but of course, as a journalist, I cannot accept this award.”
I would then graciously turn the prize over to the woman who almost matched my prowess.
Yes, that was my dream until I entered the skillet-throwing competition at the county fair last week — and found out that I am a wimp. No, not just a wimp. I stink at skillet-throwing.
I had the worst score of the entire event that night. A silver-haired senior citizen beat my throw by 10 feet. I mean, I was pathetic.
For those uninitiated in the joys of skillet-throwing, I’ll just say, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Although nobody at the fair could tell me exactly what this sport means, most people whom I questioned about it said that it had something to do with a wife throwing a cast-iron skillet at her husband.
Of course, that was back in the good old days. Now we have to throw microwave ovens at our husbands.
So out of respect for this grand tradition, women at the county fair sign up for a chance to demonstrate how far and how accurately they can aim and fling a 10-inch skillet.
You get three throws to prove how much of a woman you are. And it can’t just be a power shot — you get points off if the pan doesn’t follow a straight path along the measuring tape laid out by the judges.
This is meant to be fun, but as each woman stepped up to lob her skillets, you could tell they were serious. That’s when I started to worry.
One woman’s first shot went far afield, getting her a warning from the official, Alice Shivers, to please not hit the judges. That also got the contestant a lot of laughs from the crowd.
By the time I had seen most of my competitors take their turns, my hopes of achieving Olympic gold in skillet-throwing had been tossed aside. Two women had already passed the 48-foot mark.
I sized up each woman as she approached the rack, skillet in hand. Some took three steps and tossed as if they were bowling. Others stood still and flung as hard as they could. One woman who was a high-scorer wound up like a windmill before pitching her pan.
When my name was called, I had a pretty good idea that I wouldn’t wind up at the top, but I thought I would at least be average, which seemed to be about 30 feet.
My first throw drew a collective gasp from the audience. No, they weren’t amazed by my strength — the pan went straight up in the air.
Alice suggested that I get myself a hard hat.
I took a deep breath, stepped up to the line again and heaved. This time the skillet went in a near-perfectly straight line close to the ground and landed at — 20 feet.
A woman’s first skillet throw is something she always remembers. Just ask any contestant and she can reel off the numbers: 30 feet, 6 inches; 41 feet, 11 inches; 34 feet, 1 inch … And then there’s mine: 20 feet, 3 inches.
I have plenty of excuses. I didn’t get to practice or pump iron, as some of the contestants did. I spend all my time using my hands to type instead of tossing things. I was afraid to throw it too far because I might hit the judges. And I didn’t want to throw it too hard because it would make the other women look bad.
The truth is, the other women beat me fair and square. When it comes to skillet-tossing, I’m just a wimp.