Though I played sports in school (soccer and basketball), I was never a gifted athlete. At first, in grade school, I played because it was more or less expected. At the time I lived in small town Indiana, and sports were one of the few activities available. That was when I started playing soccer. There were no expectations when you played soccer in Indiana in the 90s. Basketball was, of course, KING. Baseball was Prince of the Realm. Football (Go…Colts?) was the Power Behind the Throne. Soccer, if it was even royal, was the lowly Duke of somewhere very, VERY remote, and it would CERTAINLY never ascend to the throne. If you ran and kicked and seemed to try, you were “good” at soccer.
So that was what I played.
Later, when basketball became my sport in middle school and high school, I played because the people I knew played. Fine, there was a girl. She played. And since I wanted desperately to be noticed by that girl, I practiced hard and played basketball whenever I was able, and DOUBLY so whenever she was around. I liked the game fine, but I liked the girl more. And the fact that I was not all that good at basketball never really bothered me. I’m only 5’11”, after all. (Fine! I am actually 5’10 and 3/4”. THAT IS MY ACTUAL HEIGHT. What. A. Joke. To my everlasting disgust, I never reached 6’. BOTH my younger brothers are taller than me. And yes, that does sting.)
I mention this brief history of sport by way of introduction. Today, we will be talking about staying in shape. I’m going to crawl out on a tangled, leafy limb here and guess that YOU are not a professional athlete. Well, as you can tell by the preamble, neither am I; therefore, I will not be laying out some grand exercise plan here. And I do not intend to insult your intelligence by explaining the health benefits of staying fit. You already know all this. We have all seen the TV infomercials and watched the documentaries.
I would simply like to share a smidgeon of my own, deeply subjective experience. Exercising has helped me immensely in ways BESIDES keeping me healthy (although, as a lower-incomed individual, that side benefit is nice, too).
Please allow me a short list.
So there you have it. I am not a professional athlete. I will never be one. And, despite all my desperate dreams, I am not an action star in the movies. But I can choose what kind of man I will be today. Exercise has helped me with that, and I harbor hope that it may help you as well.
So here’s to hope.