A track and field event in which an athlete takes a steel shot (an oversized softball, but it's steel), and throws it as far from the throwing circle as possible. The farthest wins.

There are no running starts, but there's enough room to take a step in the ring. In the Olympics, it's not uncommon to see greater than 60 feet.

The shot's weight varies. It's lighter for girls, but still moderately heavy.

High School track and field
Girls' Shot: 8-9 pounds?
Boys' Shot:12 pounds

It's harder than it looks. You don't throw this thing like a baseball. Oh, and also something football players and wrestlers do in the off-season. You need signifigant upper arm strength.

Shotput is the fine art of being able to throw a very heavy ball a very long distance while grunting about it as much as possible. Shotputters, as they call themselves tend to be large set characters with beefy arms and a stocky body. Shorter arms tend to help too, as they help get the inertia of the ball moving more easily (I have no idea of the physics involved there, it's all rather hazy to me). They also tend to have a disposition toward dirty jokes, though this is merely based on my own observations.

In actually throwing the shotput, one ideally wants to get position the ball in the cradle of one's shoulder, holding your arm behind it, and then spin a few times before launching the damn thing (this is considerably more difficult than it sounds and requires a balance more commonly seen in ballerinas or figure skating). Failure to properly execute the throw can result in broken arms, broken toes, broken fingers, and broken spirit. A good throw distance (for a boy's shotput at least) is over 30 feet. Below that and your name and the term "wimp" will be immediately and inextricably linked for the rest of your high school career unless you are generally scary looking enough to ward off such pejoratives (like myself).

It's not a sport I would encourage, unless you are short, heavyset, and in need of some sort of upper-body exercise. If you're willing to admit you meet those criteria and you think it would be an ideal past-time then get out there and chuck some balls.

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