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Traditional Slings for Throwing Stones

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Warning & an Invitation

A few years ago I lived in Minas Gerais, a state in the interior of Brasil (Brazil for the Gringos). While in Brasil, a friend introduced me to the art of slinging. I had read many times about slings in history, but I had never used one. I considered making one, but I thought there was some secret or mystery to it, so I didn't attempt the project. Anyway, my friend and I walked to a large field nearby. The field had some cows and large bushes in it. Also, some tile-roofed houses were off in the distance to the left of where we decided to throw.

My friend demonstrated how simple it was to throw a stone over large distances. I watched intently. He explained a few things, handed the sling to me, and I readied the sling for the missile. Like most beginning slingers, I thought this would be easy. Unfortunately, I was wrong...

I loaded a stone into the pouch, swung the sling around, and I think I took some steps in the direction that I wanted to throw-- to get some more momentum of course. I released the stone. Man, did it fly! It flew high and it flew far! One problem existed-- the direction!

Have you ever seen an accident about to happen? You know it's going to happen and you can't do anything. You don't have time to say anything, you don't have time to change anything, but time seems to stand still, and you totally know that you would do things differently if you only had a chance? At a time like this, you wish you could just rewind the tape-- go back a few seconds. Well, that's how I felt when I saw this large heavy stone leave that sling on that fateful day and head straight... left, left towards those humble, clay tile roofs.

I think that my friend took off running in the opposite direction before it even landed. Out of reflex, I followed him. After we ran a few yards, I came to my senses. We retraced our footsteps and followed the trajectory over to where the stone landed. My friend kept his distance from me since he was innocent. Sure enough, the stone had hit the roof of a house. It had broken some tile. I spoke to a resident, and tried to explain what had happened. Believe me, it's not easy to explain that you were just out throwing rocks, and one accidently landed on a person's roof.

Any way, everything got worked out, and most importantly, no one was hurt. My main point in relating this story to you is that slingers (not slings) can be dangerous, and safety should be the primary consideration when using a sling. Certainly, I still use slings, and I want you to know that my accuarcy has definately improved. You'll find that I provide a simple sling to get started. I invite you to purchase one. Don't get too frustrated when you don't throw as well as you'd like right away. Practice is the key to success!


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