“Can’t!”, “Can!”, “Can’t!”,“Can!”. Whenever we met by the river the same argument raged: who could throw a stone the farthest? Our goal was the opposite bank, which at our age seemed as distant as the moon. The first to make it would be a hero, and we all wanted to be heroes.
Everyone assumed one of the big boys would succeed, so expectations were high when Jarvis the local giant lumbered into view. He selected a huge rock and hurled it in a high, graceful arc that missed by a mile. Good shot, we all shouted. Then it was my go. Luckily I had a plan. First I looked for a suitable stone - something flat, smooth and fitted to my palm. Then I took aim - not at the far bank but at a spot much closer to where I was standing - and threw, low and hard. There were cries of cruel delight when my stone hit the water close to where we stood, but the cries faded as the stone bounced again and again to land on the far bank in a flurry of broken vegetation and fleeing wildlife. I’d done it.
A fluke shot? Not after all the careful thought I’d put in. The others crowded around me, cheering loudly. Even Jarvis muttered congratulations as he planted a playful punch on my arm that hurt for a week. But how? they all asked. You’re only small. You don’t look strong enough. But as we walked home they began to understand...
And the moral of the story? It was a ‘small’ matter of the right technique.