Braggadocio in most instances is unseemly, but the topic of today’s column renders it necessary to inform you that my athletic career has all but wallpapered my life with glory. To wit:
Once, I actually bowled my age.
As a sophomore in high school, I made third string on the JV football squad, thanks largely to an imposing physique that checked in at 127 pounds with all pads in place. Coach said I was a natural set-back.
Several years ago I made a three-pointer in the waning seconds of an Old Slow Short Fat White Guys Basketball League game.
And many years before that, I stopped a wicked line drive off the bat of my little brother by courageously placing my face directly in its path of flight.
One might surmise such achievements would need no sequels, but one would surmise wrongly.
Could Picasso, after all, stop painting when his mother patted him on the head and said, “Why, Pabbie, that is a lovely horse you drew, but why is it blue?”
Could Mozart stop composing when, in his crib at 3 months, he not only penned but actually performed his immortal “Shake Rattle and Roll?”
Could Shakespeare abandon his inkwell after meeting early critical acclaim with, “Hamlet: The Story of a Really Small Town?”
No, they could not. Nor can I refrain from seeking new pinnacles of my own, most lately in the field of track.
Not that I actually race anyone, understand. No, it has been enough to whale away on the treadmills in an old but cozy gym. These machines offer not only physical exercise but mental stimulation as one calculates the number of seconds remaining until the workout comes to a blessed end.
Then came a shock. Perhaps in financial straits due to the number of treadmills exhausted by a certain aging client, the gym abruptly closed this week and peddled its member rolls to one of those new-styled places whose clients wear Spandex and listen to hip-hop.
That will not do. When exposed to hip-hop my head begins to feel like a racquetball court with a million little racquetballs batting around inside and I develop inordinate urges to obtain tattoos.
Therefore, the quest for a new gym has commenced. Already it has included a narrow escape from a young man offering to measure my body fat with a pair of calipers and a session in a small cubicle, not unlike those found in car dealerships, discussing financial arrangements that would bewilder J.P. Morgan.
If not resolved soon this could be a career-ending crisis, which would be too bad. Who wants a waist size that looks like someone’s golf score?