On Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, I engaged in a lighthearted game of two-on-two touch football with a couple of my closest friends and the 11-year-old son of one of them. We played to a tie (we were playing to 2). One of my friends is in phenomenal shape; he’s contemplating competing in USA Track & Field events. My other boy and I are both active parents who don’t work out or exercise nearly as much as we should. In fact, I work out never, short of chasing my children up and down stairs—an event unto itself.
As it stands, on this current crisp fall Tuesday, my arms and legs are sore. I can lift things and walk, but the tightness I feel in my legs is, well, embarrassing. It’s similar to the feeling I had when playing basketball many moons ago with my woman’s younger brothers.
What’s that feeling? It’s the feeling of out-of-shapeness. I feel like a dodecahedron missing one of its sides. Now, don’t get me wrong—I gave it my all AND I like dodecahedrons, but my breath was shorter than I needed it to be. I ran full speed when required; it’s just that my full speed isn’t really that speedy. I mean, I’m sure I could beat lots of people—I have a spritely nature—but we’re talking about America here, so I’m stacking the deck a bit.
Now, I’m not going to turn this into another edition of the Old Age Chronicles. In fact, I did a search on old pieces, and there are quite a few pieces that speak to, um, life changes that both Damon and I have experienced in terms of older-age activities, though neither of us is even 40 yet.
Yet I’m pretty sure that game is going to stay tied. Listen, three days after playing what nobody would call the most intense game of TOUCH FOOTBALL, I should not be feeling tightness and soreness in my legs. I just shouldn’t. Granted, it was the most strenuous activity I’ve done in quite some time, and I almost never exercise and clearly need to get out there and do more of that.
And that’s sad. I’m 38 years young with three children, two of whom absolutely keep me on my toes. I need to be getting more active to prepare myself for the attempts I plan to make to ensure that I can beat my children at basketball until they’re in their late teens, unless I LaVar Ball this life and turn my boys into basketball stars early on, in which case I hope they beat me on our television show. Which we’ll get. Because stars.
Literally just now I tried to lift my leg to move it from under this table where I’m working, and it took way longer than it should have. This is just troubling and terrible. Between my Apple Watch and my Fitbit, I was outchea getting it, knocking out all of my steps in the recommended intervals. I was doing it, and doing it, and doing it well. Turns out that doesn’t mean much of shit.
Now, while I’m struggling with how out of shape I am and feeling a way about it, I also have to acknowledge that there’s little to no chance—we’re talking a snowball’s chance in hell—of me doing much about it. I try to get out and run. But I never quite make it. Or try that hard. Even in the middle of the day, I tell myself that I will go on jogs to keep my lungs open and operational. Then I, say, just listen to Fabolous’ “Breathe,” a total banger, and feel like I’ve done enough.
(Sidenote: I had to really think about how to spell Fabolous’ name. In fact, I had to recite the lines from that song where he spells his name out. Conversely, when I’m trying to spell the word “fabulous” properly, I have to do the same to remind myself that the rapper-name way is NOT the correct way to spell it. I’m not sure what any of this means, if anything, but hip-hop has affected my life.)
I’m sure I’m not alone in this as many of us ascend into that age where outside physical activity is more relived in story than actually participated in outdoors. While that doesn’t make me feel better, it does at least make me feel normal and in need of stepping up my personal health game.
In the meantime, though, tie game.