USA Today newspaper recently ran a list of what they consider to be the 10 most difficult chores in sports, citing hitting a baseball as No. 1, driving a race car No. 2, hitting a long, straight drive, running a marathon, etc.
Their list does not include the pole vault which is a shame because no event in track, and arguably no event in sports period, requires the precision of the pole vault ... no greater combination of speed, strength, timing, gymnastics skills. And most of all, mental toughness.
Because while anyone, technically, can pole vault, to do it well is very much a different matter. The line between success and failure in the pole vault is that fine.
There are numerous technical aspects to the pole vault, and there are numerous types of poles to try it with. It all has to fit just right to do your best.
Eric Cockley has fought the battle for some six years, first at Western Hills High School, and for the better part of three years at the University of Louisville.
Cockley was good enough in high school to win a state championship as a junior with a leap of 13-feet. He went on to jump as high as 14-7 as a senior.
That earned him a scholarship to Louisville, where his battle with the pole vault continues. He has a personal best of 15-5 in college, which is some seven inches shy of the height needed to win the Conference USA meet and qualify for an NCAA regional.
For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.