Here is an essay I wrote for my LA class on the subject of Hurling (April 2007). Many things are oversimplified or left out for the purpose of it being a essay intended for non hurlers within a set length limit (Which I exceeded anyway).
The Benefits Of Hurling
I believe in the benefits of hurling, the fine art of sending projectiles vast distances.
I believe simulating my hurling devices, which I often do as the first part of development, provides very useful skills in many fields from mechanical engineering to computer game programming. I have actually used these skills in programming game physics engines. These are clearly useful skills, and give value to hurling.
When I finish optimizing a computer model, or even just a mental one, I often proceed to a computer aided design (CAD) tool. This teaches the valuable skills required in designing any physical object. Through designing these hurling devices on my computer I believe I have greatly improved my visualization skills which allows my imagination to construct and invent even more complex devices for hurling and non hurling related tasks, and I have had fun doing it. This truly benefits my life.
The process of actually building, whether from mental designs, drawings, or virtual 3D models, has benefits as well. Through building these devices I have learned a huge amount about physical stresses and loads, wood working, and metal working. These skills not only further my hurling endeavors, but will help me in many other things such as construction and maintenance of structures. Because of this, I believe that hurling will benefit my life by improving my ability to build, and analyze, physical structures.
Operating my hurling devices has shown me the potential effects of energy. When I used my onager and the frame was shook so hard the glue joint on the foot was sheared, I gained a better understanding of the propagation of impact forces. When this little guy, with a one foot cube sized frame, sent a golf ball 520 feet, I felt the shear power of, and fear of, the energy density. When I first watched my 3 foot 8 inch armed FAKA (Floating Axle and King Arthur combination) style trebuchet, one of the most efficient types, and a kind that I invented, it was a unique experience. Five pounds fell almost 6 feet sending a golf ball around 200 feet. When I Improved it to throw over 320 feet with 5 pounds, and 690 feet with 15 pounds, I felt the power of physics at my command. The smooth motion of the counterweight falling, releasing the arm to bring the sling over the top, rolling the axle forward, seemed so gentle, yet the power and speed was impressive. These events have given me so much enjoyment and awe. I can't think of something I would rather do. I truly value these experiences which have provided me with a better understanding of where energy might go, and what it might do.
The massive forces involved with my hurling efforts have bent 1/4 inch steel rods, sheared a 3/4 inch maple arm, crushed various woods, snapped many strings, and have broken many other parts. Breaking these parts, and the process of fixing them is an important part of engineering. Without breaking stuff I would never know the weak points of anything. Hurling provides me with a very effective way to break things. In-fact, I haven't found a better way to break stuff than hurling. I can often just add more and more energy until something fails, fix it and repeat. By doing this I can learn better ways to build the weak-points of my designs. Eventually I have an engineering masterpiece, and the skills and knowledge required to build it. This is truly a benefit of hurling which I believe can not be learned in a better way.