For all of you pseudo jocks out there, here is your wakeup call: I can talk smack because I am one of you.
I was glued to my TV the other day when a story hit the screen about an event at the Penn Relays. This got my attention because the Penn Relays have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Track and field has been my passion forever.
As a kid I would join my buddies in a made up track meet to establish who was fastest in the events that were born in our imagination. We had sprints and longer races that would take us around the neighborhood. I was the sprint champ off and on, but this wasn’t always a good thing.
There was a huckster (a man with a horse and a cart loaded with fruits and vegetables) who would come through my neighborhood. We would hide in an abandoned garage until he passed. When he got out of view of our hideout, we would sprint up to the back of the cart, hop on the tailgate and swipe some goodies (this wasn’t a concern of the Major Crimes Unit, but we were borderline juvenile delinquents). To this day I believe the huckster would put the fruit that was about to spoil near the back to appease Jesse James Lacy and his gang. Since I was the sprint champ, it was my duty to catch the wagon, mount the back and pass off some goodies to my buddies. On this day, I was in full stride when Mrs. Clark opened her window and hailed the huckster. He stopped the wagon and the wagon stopped me. As I lay in the alley with visions of jail time dancing in my head, my buddies got me to my feet and I staggered off to safety. At dinner that evening, the phone rang and it was Mrs. Clark reporting my escapades to Sam. I had to live under his jaundiced eye for a while, but I guess Sam had a brief life of crime also, and he cut me some slack.
I restricted my running to our neighborhood meets, and sometimes I would go to Morgan State University with my pop and run around the infield while the track meet was in progress. When I attended the Penn Relays with my pop, it became my dream to return as a participant one day. I had my stint in local meets, and Uncle Sam found a way to utilize my talents.
Imagine my reaction when I glanced at my TV and saw Ida Keeling headed for the finish line in the 100 meter dash. If you think this is no big deal, wrap your head around the fact that Ida Keeling is 100 years old. While I was trying to digest that, they showed her going through her warm-up routine. She was doing squats and pushups. If I drop something on the floor, I wait until one of the kids is available to pick it up. So much for squats. The last time I did a full workout with pushups, I had a 260-pound drill instructor standing over me. If I have to go upstairs for something, the whole time I am thinking how nice it would be to get back to my recliner.
In my neighborhood, there is a community mail box in the middle of the block. If I have to go get the mail, I start looking for my car keys. So much for the 100 meter dash.
I’m not saying I’m out of shape, but I am going to close this piece because it is time for my nap.