It’s true. Throwing things is a solid solution to most of life’s problems.

There’s no workplace trouble a quick keyboard toss can’t resolve, and nothing turns a bad afternoon around faster than a shattered cell phone on a public sidewalk.

But hurling inanimate objects isn’t just a cure for a down-on-your-luck day — it’s also a form of entertainment at many of Maine’s agricultural fairs.

Sure, the winning title usually goes to a beefy gal who hurls spare tires into the snow during the off-season. But even first-timers can steal the top prize with a few insider tips.*

*Having never competitively thrown a frying pan, the term “insider” is not intended to imply any ounce of expertise or know-how relating to the tossing of a frying pan or other implements of the kitchen.

Five tips for skillet slingers:

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Long-distance pan pitching isn’t a skill learned overnight. It can take days to adequately prepare for the competition. Pan- hurling novices can practice at home by throwing small objects such as spoons, salt shakers or bags of frozen vegetables. Eventually, tossers-in-training can work their way up to heavier household objects like planters, plateware and medium-sized electronics.

FIND YOUR MOTIVATION

Having biceps the size of a Thanksgiving turkey will improve your pan-tossing prowess. Barring those, skillet mastery can be gained with proper motivation. Some throwers prefer to visualize their toss prior to competition, focusing on the loose grip, the smooth backswing, the perfectly timed release. In their mind’s eye, they see that charcoal-colored pan sailing through the air, the pan’s handle spinning around like the hour hand on a slow-motion clock.

Some pan throwers may request the presence of their husbands, the sight of whom sends them into a silent rage from which superhuman strength is generated.

STRAIGHT TOSS

In competition, the frying pan is always tossed in a straight line downfield. If the judges are adhering to official Frying Pan Toss regulations (of which, to my knowledge, there are none), then the distance the pan lands off the center line will be subtracted from distance thrown. Read: throw straight. It’s suggested that competitors steer clear of anything that might throw off their balance, such as alcohol or inner-ear infections.

 

UNDERHAND IT

Please do not throw the skillet like it’s a Frisbee. Instead, to help keep things safe and to help you keep the best control over your pan, you’ll be required to throw underhand. And definitely don’t season the pan handle.

 

DON’T KILL ANYONE

Remember, that’s a cast-iron skillet you’re throwing. It’s a kitchen accoutrement that has doubled as a murder weapon in more than one made-for-TV drama. A skillet-toss slip-up on the backswing or a late release can send that pan sailing into innocent spectators. And causing a permanent or fatal injury to any bystanders is typically grounds for disqualification.

Regulars on the skillet-tossing circuit would have you believe it’s just a game of friendly frying-pan competition. They might tell you how the utensil tossing harkens back to pioneer days, when families pushed west across the plains, and women would toss pans to pass the time while the men were out hunting.

But women can get caught up in this game of heavy metal, scouring local thrift shops for old pans, tossing them in the yard until after dark and then using them to fry up a dozen eggs the next morning. They’ll ignore the baking trays altogether and ban the casserole dishes from the kitchen. They’ll become skillet obsessed.

But it’s worth it to be a frying-pan-flinging champion.

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 791-6333 or at:

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