The Adidas Grand Prix meet in New York City is held at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, which sits in the East River off of the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan.
There are a couple of ways to get there.
If you are a genuine pansy, you can take a cab.
If you are a brave and indomitable urban warrior, you can take the subway to 103rd street and then hoof it the rest of the way.
Two years ago, my former thrower Peter Trofimuk and I took the manly route for the first time. It was bizarrely cold and gloomy that late May day, as indicated by this photo of me on the pedestrian bridge to Randall’s…
…and we nearly died of hypothermia, but after surviving the trek we vowed to repeat it whenever we were in town for the Adidas Grand Prix.
This year, we were joined by Peter’s twin brother Pat, also one of my former throwers and currently a coaching colleague at Wheaton North High School. Pat was not part of The Vow, but unfortunately for him, Peter and I insisted he accompany us on the long, rugged, character-building journey to Randall’s.
The three of us gathered in the lobby of the Hyatt Grand Central on the day before the meet. It was a beautiful summer afternoon, warm and cloudless and we decided to head over to Icahn in hopes of seeing some of the throwers practice.
The intensity of the afternoon sun made Pat a bit dubious about the whole Manly Walk concept, but Peter and I would brook no dissent. We strongly insinuated that he was a wussy boy, and threatened to shun, nay, to scorn him openly if he did not join us.
Of course he caved (What human would not?) and we promptly embarked on what would become known as “Death March, Part 1.”
Things started out rather smoothly, as is the case with many disasters (Napoleon’s incursion into Russia comes to mind), as we descended into the bowels of Grand Central Station and caught an uptown express train. Here are the Trofimuks, enjoying that ride.
We had to get off at 86th street to switch to a local train,and that’s where things started to get iffy.
First, we were viciously photo-bombed by a roving band of pre-teens…
Next came the long walk through East Harlem, followed by the steep climb up and over the pedestrian bridge, the ever-intrepid Peter leading the way.
Here is Pat, putting on a brave face at the summit of the bridge.
This is before Peter and I informed him that once over the bridge, we had at least a mile’s walk ahead of us before we reached Icahn.
I’m a married man, so I can tell when someone is about to rip me a new one. I guess you could say that I’ve developed a sixth sense about that.
Luckily for Peter and myself, Pat spotted some large birds circling overhead and had to weigh his inclination to assault us against the possibility that those might in fact be vultures coming to pick clean his dead carcass if we ditched him and let him find his own way to Icahn.
Long story short, we did make it to Icahn. All three of us.
And we had a great time once we got there!
Jordan Clarke, Tom Walsh, and Ryan Whiting were just finishing up some practice throws when we arrived, and I shanghaied Clarke for an interview straight away. You can read that interview here:
We also had a nice chat with Ryan Whiting who, like Clarke and Walsh, is a really good dude.
Here are Pat and myself with Clarke…
…sorry Jordan for dwarfing you with my buffness.
Here we are with Ryan.
After doing our best to annoy these fine shot putters, we turned our attention to the discus cage where Liz Podominick was taking some throws:
Like Clarke, Liz was nice enough to take a few minutes afterwards to talk about her season and her career in general. Here is that interview:
Once the pros cleared out, we had no choice but to get in the rings and demonstrate what great technique really looks like:
After that, it was time for the long walk home.
I’m not going to say much about that, as my therapist says it does not do any good to obsess over traumatic events. All I know is, the Donner Party probably thought they had it tough, but they never had to restrain a large, desperate man from hijacking a jet ski.
Next up: great times and big throws at the 2015 Adidas Grand Prix.