I lay in bed last night, my knees in pain reminding me that one of them needs to be replaced now and the other probably in a year…and I truly need to get back into shape. I had gone for a walk in the woods with my wife and our two dogs. I don’t know how many miles we walked… maybe it was less than a mile…but by the end I was feeling it.
Now, I know my knee problem is not age related but due to years of bone on bone music making that had occurred after I had to have the cartilage removed in the right knee, but it brings to mind the thought…thoughts…of getting old. It seems less interesting than those thoughts I had when I was about twelve years old thinking of how old I would be at the turn of the century and what the world…and my body…would be like. Seems that both of them are falling apart at the seams and there seems to be nothing I can do about either one of them.
Having these thoughts is distracting, discouraging and none productive. It is time to reverse my thinking and remember what I use to do as a healthy, youthful boy to stay completely in shape, able to do whatever it was that required a body that could do it at a drop of a challenge.
I remember that I use to carry a basketball with me where ever I went…Indiana boy you know…and answer the challenge of a pickup game even if it was with imaginary bunch of pros hanging around the school yard looking for some fledging talent to be placed up for next year’s draft. I would dribble flawlessly evading their attempts to steal the ball and thwarting their vein attempts to stop me from scoring from any place on the court. I would, of course, always be the one chosen to attempt the last second shot to put the game into the record books with my team victorious and every one chanting my name.
Happy times and happier memories and the realization that I no longer have the youthful body I had during those times seems to elude the now graying grey matter that is somehow sprouting out the pours on my head where the once brown hair grew. So off to the Good Will to purchase a slightly used ball that doesn’t make it appear I am trying to regain my youth, but one that appears to have been only lying around since last weekend and also appears to have been used every at every opportunity for formidable pickup games at whatever asphalt court I happen to run across. I drive around to find one that has only my imaginary pros playing and wonder how THEY have not aged one day and I on the other hand have aged maybe a year or two.
Excitement rises from deep within and after high fives all around and a hardy welcome back I get into the game. I dribble, move, bob and weave, jukeing to the left and right go up for a lay-up and realize that somehow one of the imaginary pros has unbelievably blocked my shot, stole the ball and scored against me. Good natured kidding and ribbing about how I seemed to have lost a step…or two, or three… and the ability to keep them dumbfounded with my unbelievable moves and passes recede and the game resumes. More missed shots, early loss of wind and the need to be replaced by an imaginary substitute make me realize that no amount of exercise or conditioning will get me ready to continue weekend pickup games where I am the star that is always the hero that dominates the game and sinks the winning basket in the final three seconds before the buzzer.
Time to pick up my slightly worn ball, wave to my imaginary team mates knowing that no shouts of “See you next week” will stop me from driving to the Good Will to re-donate the b-ball that I purchased that morning. There will be no recapturing the magic that once was. I’ll just go home, climb on my stationary bike, pedal for hours and…and…and get ready for next week’s Tour de’ France.