If you’re undertaking any new sport, you’re gonna need a few things; the same goes for the Highland Games. And, by a “few things,” I mean and whole bag or box full of stuff! So, what do throwers pack into their huge roller bags or oversized tool boxes? Here’s a list of things I think you should consider getting as a Highland Games athlete (let’s use that word instead of “thrower,” as it makes us sound so much more svelte).
Bag or Box - I currently use a paint ball bag (thanks, Ryan Stewart, for the suggestion). This thing is strong and even has a liner so I can hose it out. And, I’ll tell you now, your bag will stink. A bunch. Many other “athletes” like a large rolling tool box. I like this alternative, too, really, as it can become a built in chair because, well, we all know we like to rest our legs for competition. The only thing to keep in mind with the boxes is the weight and size; make sure it fits in your vehicle and that you can get it on a plane for any long travels.
Cleats – I’ve always used a low, non aggressive rubber turf shoe. If possible, avoid the hard plastic cleats as it makes it hard to turn in the grass. A number of athletes also love wearing javelin “boots.” The term is “boot,” but it’s a track spike shoe. Most importantly, wear what is comfortable and provides the feedback and support you want in your footwear.
Tape – lots of it. You’ll be using it.
Chalk – lots of it, but don’t label it “NOT COCAINE” unless you want a bag search.
Tacky – I’m not a big fan of spray tacky unless it’s for caber, and then I love it. I always recommend the traditional rock rosin/turpentine blend that many guys make. Get your hands on some … ha. Puny.
Towel – Use this thing to block the sun, wipe off a stone, clean up a handle, etc. This is one of the greatest, but overlooked, tools in the game.
Poncho – I have one in my bag I have yet to use, but, when the time comes, I’ll have it. I think I’ve only used on poncho in my career, but I like having one just in case.
Umbrella – This is another invaluable tool I wish I had in my bag when I first started throwing. This can be a small one, you just want something to have for a rainstorm.
Multitool – Aside from cleaning your feet with it (long , and gross, story) this is great for on the field adjustments, cleaning up hammer handles. I like having this, mostly, for practices, but keep one in your bag for anything.
Wrist Wraps – I’m a big wrist wrap guy for the stones, as are most of the throwers.
Weightlifting Belt – Only if you want one and will use it. If not, don’t take up the space or weight.
Hammer Boots – If you’re not throwing in hammer blades yet, then get on that! It takes time, but you’ll be glad you made the jump.
Sunscreen – spray is best, but sometimes restrictions apply for spray stuff and flights, but make sure you have some in your bag, even if it’s messy tube stuff.
Supplements – I wrote an article on this once, but for practice and games day, make sure you are pounding aminos and carbs, especially.
Hoodie – In this sport, you never know when it might get cold (use your judgement here, Mr. Arizona), but make sure you’re ready for the elements.
Hand Cleaner – Your phone, steering wheel, friends, family and undergarments will thank you for cleaning the tacky off your hands. You can find your favorite scent and kind in the automotive section of your local store.
And a very important tip… be careful when using tacky then needing to go to the portapotty. This should be self explanatory :-)