So I am going to stop throwing in Highland Games.
I originally starting throwing in 2012. It was something that I had wanted to do since the mid 1990's, but never thought I could because (frankly) I thought I lacked the body weight and strength to do it. And so I delayed for another 15 years or so until we moved and and I saw a posting for "Throw in Highland Games" and I said "why not?"
I found I quite enjoyed them, much more for the people than the any actual athletic ability I demonstrated. They were not the sort of people I would have "naturally" interacted or made friends with, but I found them to be engaging. It made for a great day.
My involvement gradually increased as time went on - I think my busiest year was around 2016, when I threw in 13 games, I got volunteered in a local group, I attended regular practices. I was a throwing fool.
And then, as things always do, they changed.
Part of it was simply that I found that getting up early, driving on average 2-3 hours to throw for 8-10 hours, and then drive back 2-3 hours, was exhausting and detracted from the overall fun of the event. I pulled my involvement in to games that were no more than 2 hours away.
Part of it - an exciting part for the sport overall - is that it is becoming a more popular sport. That is great for everyone throwing in it; it is less good when you are at best a mediocre thrower with limited upward mobility. While the point is not ranking, it does kind of detract from the competition aspect.
Part of it was the fact that as my involvement in Iai grew, so did my training and practice of it. At some point, one can really focus on a limited number of things. A choice was made for Iai (both because I enjoyed it and frankly, I could go to Japan to train), which curtailed my throwing even further.
And then, of course, The Plague hit. Festivals ground to a halt in 2020 and most of 2021, only really restarting this year. My limited throwing range was even more limited. Add to that the fact that I started going to The Ranch to see my parents effectively two Saturdays a month (and the other two for Iai class) and either I threw on Sunday or had to miss Iai to do it.
I have thrown twice this year: once in Spring and once about a month ago. Which brings us to the final point of decision.
I apparently did something to my right shoulder when I was throwing last month - I do not know for what event (my guess is the Heavy Weight for Distance, a 42 lbs. flying extravaganza), but it manifested itself over the next two days. And then every day thereafter. Now, I have had to lessen my weight training and train far more deliberately with Iai - and it both cases, far less heavy that I would like.
My future, if I stick with the Highland Games, is not great. I am not a great thrower and with so many talented athletes in the mix now, I am not really going to advance. But more importantly, if I am tearing my body up for something I do a few days a years which prevents me from things I do every week on multiple days, that is not a reasonable tradeoff at all. People practice Iai and train in weights well into the 80's and 90's. Most throwers barely make their 60's, if that.
I do not know that I have ever been this deliberate about giving something up before. It is an odd feeling. But having made it, I will follow through. I have one more game this year that is terribly local. I will go out, throw, have fun (and take it easy on the 42 lbs. weight), and be done. With new people entering the sport all the time, selling my equipment should not be an issue.
It is always good to try things you have never done and enjoy them. But I suspect it is also good to be able to give something up at your own choosing, rather than delaying until something awful happens.