Monday, May 23, 2011

Ever throw a boomerang?

Only a couple years ago I used to throw a boomerang with some regularity, and I'm happy to report I still have that skill. Saturday I did a some throws at Keystone State Park. I have two boomerangs purchased from more than a decade ago. One has always been harder than the other to throw successfully, but this week I quickly re-learned how to throw them so that both came back to me nearly every time.

Launching a boomerang.
Maybe I should step back a bit and explain how boomerangs actually work. First, you stand in the middle of a large field--these 'rangs fly in a circle with a radius of up to 40 meters (44 yards). Then you figure out the direction from which the wind is blowing. I find that my 'rangs fly better when there is a light breeze rather than a heavy wind or no wind at all. I throw the boomerang exactly 10 degrees to the right of where the wind is blowing. For example, if the wind is from the North, I throw the boomerang toward the NNE. The throw is not the same as a frisbee throw. Instead, it is a over-the-shoulder fling, straight down, as if throwing a hammer. I release the boomerang at the horizon when my arm straightens out, parallel to the ground. The boomerang then slices through the air in a straight line until it is about 40 meters away, and then it banks sharply to the left and travels in a circle around me as I stand watching it. If I've thrown it correctly, it will travel around me for about 270 degrees and then return to near my position where I can catch it before it hovers down to the ground.

Failing to catch a boomerang. That's actually the fun part.
If I've thrown it incorrectly, the boomerang might hit the ground far, far away. Or it might circle a complete 360 degrees over my head and land behind me somewhere. The initial throw is not supposed to be hard; the force is supposed to be generated by a fling of the wrist, but I've never done that well. I end up throwing the boomerang too hard. You might think this would cause the boomerang to travel forward farther than expected, but that's not how it works. A boomerang thown too hard will make the 360 degree circle and then do another partial circle befoere landing on the ground. The problem with a second partial circle is that it may land rather far from my initial throwing position. But you know what? I actually find it fun to run after the thing while it is still in the air. I run and leap and try to catch it in midair. I am completely serious when I say that American football players should integrate boomerang catching into their training. To catch a poorly-thrown boomerang requires a lot of sprint running, jumping with arms over head, and a nimble grab of a spinning object as you land. It's like football, I tell you! I am therefore just a little disappointed that I was pretty good with my throws, because that meant I didn't get the cardiovascular workout I was expecting! Nevertheless, today I have delayed onset muscle soreness in the following areas: flexor carpi ulnaris (lower arm), deltoid (shoulder), external obliques (abdomen), hamstring (upper leg). Feels so good!

Last week I also biked 5 miles, ran 2 miles, and swam 2,400 yards (over two days). I did two gym workouts, too. This is good and I'm feeling good and feeling strong. I do wish I could find the time to do more though!

No comments:

Post a Comment