Can Athletic Fun Blindside an Oldie?
Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing. Oliver Wendell Holmes
Call of the Child
There it was in the shed. A let’s-play-a-game item demanded exercise and athletic fun. In our case, a half-size well-inflated American football cried out for use.
Before you ask, no, I didn’t play Grid-Iron. I threw footballs, baseballs and other things at grade school in the USA. Okay, okay, I hadn’t thrown a football for nearly sixty years. In fact, I might have chickened out had I foreseen what was coming. Complacent, maybe, I felt my rugby and natural ball skills would see me through, with never a thought for other repercussions.
It is surprisingly easy to assure yourself that the bounce in your step is fifty years younger than it is. One day, reality bites, and athletic fun has repercussions after the game.
A garden too small and an ego too big for athletic fun
You see, my two grandsons stayed for a couple of days. The first day, bright with sunshine, dragged us into the garden. Pretty soon, the ball flew around. At some point, we realised the garden wasn’t big enough for the throwing power available (mine … talk about conceit).
Open spaces mean open shoulders
The next day, we went to a small park in the village, near our house. Grandson 2 started working his way around the swings and things, comfortable as ever with his own company. Grandson 1 and I conferred about the skills of ball delivery to a fast moving target – talk about athletic fun.
thought may be father of the deed but there can be unexpected consequences Mac Logan
We agreed I’d throw, and he’d run
In the way of things, we started slow. Comical happenings resulted in banter and other forms of mild insult. Times when, for instance:
the ball arrived too soon …
‘Come on … you need to get to the ball to catch it.’
‘You threw it crooked.’
the ball failed to arrive …
‘Where is it?’
‘On the grass behind you.’
‘Why can’t you throw it on time?’
‘You overran it.’
the catcher failed to arrive…
‘what kept you?’
or the ball bounced off the catcher’s head, ear, face, shoulder …
Ouch! ouch! ouch! ouch! ouch!
Through all the mayhem, we started connecting more than we missed. We practised with a slide between us, representing other players. Gradually the angle and distance increased. The power went up as the throwing arm loosened (more than I thought). The ball started connecting, and we upped the pace until confident powerful throwing became the norm, and reliable delivery to a sprinting hero making great catches was the outcome.
He showed me a lump and bruises on his forehead the next morning and blamed me because I threw it, I blamed him because he didn’t catch it, and it was right there. We both laughed. Okay, hurt happens, but it’s a good hurt. And, of course, whether you are old or young, the enjoyment of shared experience mustn’t be underestimated.
A day later, I could barely stand. I needed a strong stick to walk. Going downstairs provided almost intolerable agony. After hobbling into a meeting in St Andrews, I returned home and iced my right knee. As that particular agony subsided, my shoulders, hands and hips decided to join in, a veritable off-key barbershop quartet of disharmony.
This blog started with squeaking knees. I had to stop when my shoulders and hands went on strike. Now, three days later, the pain melts away slowly. All thanks to my doctor for the anti-inflammatory medicine she prescribed.
To top it all, right about then, an amazing family event happened. Crippled or not, I had to get going … watch this space.
© Mac Logan