What began as something fun to do outside of playing basketball quickly developed into a skill and sport that Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Lahoma Scabby greatly enjoys. For most people, the sport of track and field is unfamiliar. While some correlate track and field with only running, the truth is that many track and field competitions are decided from points earned in the field events, including long jump, high jump and pole vault. There is also a very athletic group of people called throwers. These athletes compete in either discus or shot put, and most of the time both.
At Stapley Junior High in Mesa, Scabby was introduced to throwing, but she was forced to learn the majority of the technique through trial and error. Upon arriving at Mountain View High School, Scabby no longer played basketball and wanted to get involved in a sport during the spring season. She met with throwing coach Matt Foreman and began to learn the proper technique and traits of a thrower.
“It was really hard to pick up throwing at first,” Scabby said. “We always had to lift weights, and the weight increased.”
Scabby said learning the technique is the hardest part because “you have to be fast about it, and your distance and power all comes from your technique.” She admits though, that after working with Foreman she has improved. She said Foreman makes her and the others on the team throw every day and corrects their technique as they go.
“If our foot isn’t turned straight to where we are throwing, or if our arm is not pulled back, [he corrects us]. He makes us see that even the smallest things make a difference,” Scabby explained.
Scabby competes in both discus and shot put, but she said her favorite is discus because she enjoys watching how far her throw can go. Her goal is to get to 100 feet. She underestimated her leg power until the coach showed her how to get the strength from her legs to drive through the throwing technique. Although her coach says discus is harder to learn than shot put, Scabby said this was not true for her.
“There is a lot of pressure when you are throwing the shot because there is no noise and everyone watches to see if you throw over, under or at the line,” Scabby said.
Although throwing is very different from running, Scabby said that Coach Foreman expects the group to operate as one united track and field team. He told them to respect all coaches and remember that every point counts, so they need to represent Mountain View in a positive way and hope as a team that they can get the job done. She said having an opportunity to practice throwing in a summer program on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community would have been beneficial.
“It is a fun sport and can teach you how hard you have to work and [about perseverance],” she said. “A lot of people out here that started the team quit right after, and I knew when that happened that I would stick with it.”
Scabby said academics are extremely important to her as well. She enjoys attending Mountain View because of the academic challenges offered there.
“I want to have good people who can push me forward academically, [and I want to] get good grades and be involved in activities like track,” she said.
Scabby said she has learned a lot from her coaches, who always tell the athletes to give it their all and get the job done. She hopes to do exactly this and take a positive experience with her when she graduates next year.