Festive aftermath sees food go out not in
Jo finds she has new skill in spitting contest Mum and reporter JO McKENZIE-McLEAN is taking on one of the biggest challenges of her life training for the Northburn Station 50km. She reports on her progress.
I have been gluttonous and indulgent the past few weeks with little exercise to balance out the effects of daily binges of food and alcohol.
While working a Sunday shift recently, covering the Cherry Festival in Cromwell, it was suggested I should enter the cherry stone spitting competition.
I figured with everything I had been shovelling into my mouth over the holiday period, the orifice could probably do with a recovery workout.
Having listened to cherry-stone spitting techniques from current junior champion Bob Wardill, I stood chewing and sucking the flesh of a fat, juicy cherry wondering what technique would be best for me.
Bob’s dad, Mike, told me he had seen Australians sometimes use a type of neck-whipping technique at competitions across the ditch. I liked the idea of thrusting my body behind the spit.
With two well sucked cherry stones in the palm of my hand, I started some warm-up mouth exercises. A few lip-smacking pucker-ups, a few jaw extensions and a few tongue rolls. This was serious stuff.
As I approached the marker, I warned the measurers Helen Scoles and Terry Emmitt not to be shocked, but I was going to attempt a highly-skilled neckwhip technique for my spit.
The first spit landed at an embarrassingly short distance, off the spitting grid and right at the foot of Mr Emmitt.
This sport is harder than it looks.
With my final attempt I took a couple of false starts trying to muster up the power to hurl the little stone as far as my breath could take it. Then poof— away it flew. There were a couple of ‘‘oohs’’ coming from the crowd of about six. There had been a huge crowd earlier in the day but by the time I took my turn— at 1.55pm with only five minutes left before the competition stopped, most of the people had left.
It was looking good. The stone made it on the grid.
With a quick measurement, a voice boomed over a microphone, ‘‘Number 97 .0 . . 5.4 metres’’.
That spit put me in fifth place. Not bad for a cherry stone spitting first-timer.
● Feedback and comments welcome to jomacmac@ stl.co.nz, on twitter @jomacmacjourno or on her Uphill Battle Facebook page
Blow: Reporter Jo McKenzie-McLean gets an exercise-fix competing in the National Cherry Stone Spitting Championships in Cromwell recently.