Fighting The Clock

Sometimes the guys that I play basketball with ask me why sometimes I play like I am possessed and other moments I take a more sedate approach. It is a reasonable question and one that has a simple answer of because I can. It is not really based upon logic or thought but how I feel. I love this game. It is something that gives me great pleasure but it takes a lot out of me. I don’t have a lot of natural talent. What I have is energy and a body that is built for demolition. So I do what I can to leverage my strengths and use them to my advantage.

There is nothing profound or insightful in that. Nor will it surprise anyone to hear that sometimes my more than 40 year old body refuses to respond as it once did. It frustrates me to no end. The mind remembers what the body could do. It demands that it repeat performances given decades before and when it cannot do so it shakes in fury and frustration. So I do what I can to balance my efforts on the court to meet the needs of a particular play, game or moment.

Sometimes in the course of the night I find myself frustrated and or embarrassed by my ability or should I say inability to do what it is I used to do. You can say that to some extent this pushed me to get back to the gym, that it served as the incentive to resume lifting  weights. You can also say that an old man’s ego pushed him to get stronger again. You can say that the old guy was pissed off that a younger man was strong enough to move him on the court so he hit the weights even harder.

In an ideal world I would have hired a personal chef and trainer to work with me, but I don’t live in that ideal world so I didn’t. In this less than ideal world I should have focused on finding a workout partner to push me or at least serve as a spotter, but I didn’t. I established rough goals in my mind and pushed to reach them.  Wednesday night I played 2.5 hours of ball. When I got home I took a very hot shower and thanked the wall for supporting a body whose legs were angry with him. Later I lay my head down feeling pleased with myself.

Thursday morning I woke up and discovered that both of my knees ached. I was taken aback by this. It is not unusual to feel a little beat up the day after, but my legs had never heart as they did, particularly me knees. I hobbled over the medicine cabinet and popped three Motrin. Not too long afterwards I decided to take my achy legs to the gym.

Frustrated by the refusal of my legs to come back to life I focused on other parts of my body.  I hit the Bench Press machine and stacked 4 plates on either side. It was a little disappointing. I remember when I could do that using free weights. Of course I was in my twenties and single, but a man’s ego doesn’t want to accept that time has any affect upon him. Still, I decided that I was unwilling to ask for a spotter for fear that I might actually need them to help me.

I suppose that it is a good thing that my children weren’t there as I have taught them to not feel badly about asking for help. Would that I was smart enough to adhere to the principles I am teaching them. But today I just didn’t have it in me to ask for help from a person so I used the machine.

I was able to perform two reps. It was both inspiring and sad. The impatient and unforgiving side of me rolled his virtual eyes and asked why I ever let myself slip so far. He was confronted by the realist who was proud of the accomplishment. Those two reps were significant. Important because I lifted a significant amount of weight and proved that I am making progress, even if it is slower than I wish for it to be.

It was also important because it served as a reminder that it is time to evaluate my plan and take a hard look at whether I am making progress or not. The answer is yes, albeit not as quickly as I would like.

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