Strength Tech, Inc.
Garth Brooks
Javelin Throwing Photographs

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I (Gary Polson) traveled with the Oklahoma State University track team a few years as a walk on assistant coach. This happened to be during the time Garth Brooks threw the javelin there. I helped mostly with the throwers and vaulters (throw back what they threw out and reset the pole vault bar). I also helped manage the food on trips, drove vans, ran the video equipment, and operated the accu-track photo finish system. I enjoyed it very much. What the team lacked in talent they made up in personal character. I have always been very impressed and proud of the conduct of the track teams at Oklahoma State.

During the years of my helping out at the track, I got to know Garth Brooks. He is a fine person and always a lot of laughs. Garth competed as a javelin thrower, but was much smaller than most people in this event. As with the other OSU track athletes, what he lacked in talent he made up in effort, spirit and character. Sometimes I went out to eat with the throwers. Garth held his own at what he called "Power Eating".

I shot some great photos of Garth Brooks throwing the javelin. The photos below are a 4 shot 35 mm motor drive sequence I shot of one of his throws at the May 1984 Big-8 Outdoor Championships in Lincoln Nebraska.


These images, and files are copyrighted material. Copyright by Strength Tech, Inc. 1995 and 1998. The original images are copyright 1984 by Strength Tech, Inc. They are not to be copied or reproduced without the approval of Strength Tech, Inc.


Preparing
Throwing
Celebration
Watching
Close Up

Our Garth Brooks photos were printed in Country Weekly magazine with a nice story about Garth' s javelin throwing career in early 1996. Planet Garth posted the Country Weekly article titled, Garth as You've Never Seen Him Before, by Nick Krewen on the net.

Related to Garth Brooks track experiences at OSU, one of the athletic trainers attended one of his concerts. Our local paper had a nice story of his visit with her and her recollections of his days with the track team.

Trainer Recalls Student Brooks

Stillwater NewsPress
Stillwater OK
17 January 1992
Page 8
by Cezanne McHenry NewsPress Staff Writer

Athletic trainer Linda Hoisington may have prodded country singer Garth Brooks on to fame.

He sure wasn't going to make it by tossing the javelin.

Ms. Hoisington was a student athletic trainer at Oklahoma State University in 1983 - and one of her students was Garth Brooks.

"I have to say he was OK," said Ms. Hoisington in a phone interview with the NewsPress. "Not good, but he was trying."

The story goes that Brooks was at an athletic meet in Lincoln, Neb. and he wasn't doing as well as he thought he should and was quite discouraged.

"I don't remember doing this but he's told the story several times in concert. He said that I walked up to him and patted him on the shoulder, saying he should get on with what he was meant to do," Ms. Hoisington said.

Brooks moved on into his music then. Success musically, instead of athletically, wasn't too far behind.

Even then Brooks was quite an entertainer, Ms. Hoisington recalled. She said he would sing to the track team.

'He would serenade us on a regular basis," Ms. Hoisington laughed. "He was always a theatrical showman."

Another story she recalled was the time the team had traveled to another athletic meet in Louisiana.

"It was spring and it was hot," Ms. Hoisington said. "we were stuck in this traffic jam due to a truck accident ahead of us. We always carried lots of food with us and we finally were able to get through the jam and passed by the police officer who was emphatically directing traffic - Garth leaned out the window and popped a Coke can into the officer's hand."

Ms. Hoisington's athletic career has done much better than Brooks'. The OSU graduate moved to New York in the fall of 1985 and currently is and athletic trainer with the Cornell University's basketball team.

The article includes a photo of Garth and Linda with the caption, " Backstage - Country singer Garth Brooks shares a hug with his former athletic trainer Linda Hoisington backstage at the Syracuse State Fair in New York last September."

*****

Gary Polson note - some comments about the Louisiana trip Coke can incident related by Linda in the article above. I was in the van and thought it was a very memorable.

Among my tasks were driving one of the vans on rode trips, purchasing, packaging and taking care of the food. The throwers, well known for their affinity for food, usually rode in my van (with the food). We normally traveled with everything needed to make sandwiches, lots of small juice containers, canned pop, and individual milk cartons. As we ( 3 or 4 vans) neared Shreveport LA near 4pm on I-20 enroute to a track meet at Louisiana Tech (Ruston LA) all of a sudden traffic went to a standstill. Many people were standing outside of their cars and walking around. The guys opened the back door of the van (some pretty girls were in the car behind us), began making sandwiches, and even took some to the girls in the car. I turned the radio on and found that a semi-trailer carrying hydrochloric acid had overturned a few miles ahead and traffic was totally shutdown both directions on 1-20.

I always tried to travel as prepared as possible and happened to have a Louisiana map that included a map of Shreveport. A large river flows through Shreveport from north to south and we were trying to go east. There only a few opportunities other than I-20 to cross the river. After studying the map, I found another bridge and charted our course to it. We were able to get off I-20 at a nearby exit ramp and began trying to find our way across town to the bridge. Traffic was very slow and intense. It became very crowded on some of the wide streets downtown and many cars created their own lanes on the wide streets. I recall crowded on some of the wide streets downtown and many cars created their own lanes on the wide streets. I recall us going by several very large trucks and being just inches from them. The guys had the windows down and Garth wrote his initials on the side of a couple of the semi-trailers with his finger in the dust as we very slowly moved by them. Perhaps this was an early manifestation of his stage personality he describes as G.B.?

Coke had a new slogan then, maybe it was "Coke is it"? In the commercials they flicked a piece of ice off the cans, said, "Coke is It" and passed them to people. Garth began doing that and handed a can of Coke to a couple of the truck drivers as we went by them. We were so close to the trucks, he was able to hand them to the drivers. The weather was very hot and the truck drivers really appreciated it.

Eventually we entered a major intersection downtown and out in the middle of the street was some poor policeman wringing with sweat. He was trying to direct what appeared to be normal 3 lanes of traffic going each way that had been swelled to 5 lanes of traffic going both ways intersecting with another similar street. The policeman had obviously been there over an hour. He appeared about to drop dead from the heat and intense pressure of the situation. As we went by him we were a considerable distance from him, but Garth leaned out with a Coke can with some ice on top of it, yelled, "Coke is it!", flicked the ice off the can and completed a perfect pass to the policeman. The officer looked like he had just gone to heaven and gave us a big thank you as we drove by.

My van made it to Ruston, we checked in the hotel, ate supper, showered and were sitting around relaxing outside when the other vans showed up. They were all hot and sweaty and hungry from being caught in the traffic on I-20.

I've always thought that was a memorable event, now I ponder what the police officer might think if he knew who it was who threw him the cold can of Coke on that hot day in Shreveport.

Garth Brooks Plays Baseball

In early 1999 Garth surprised the world with his intentions to play baseball for the Padre's. Jerry Shottenkirk at the Oklahoman wrote an excellent piece on Garth's earlier athletic experiences titled, 'Brooks Making Hits in Different Field." The piece covered his youth, high school, and college athletic experiences and quoted a number of his teammates and coaches. The article was in the Feb. 27, 1999 Saturday Oklahoman and is available from their archives.

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