I stayed up until about 1:20 last night watching the US soccer team play Mexico in the World Cup qualifying round. And the damnedest thing was, we were playing for a tie. Playing Mexico at home in Azteca Stadium is virtually a guaranteed loss, so we were playing for the tie. A tie was a win. And we won. I mean, we tied, 0-0.
So I was thinking. At 61, working out 3 or 4 times a week at CF, I’m not really playing to win. I’m playing to tie.
I grew up watching Jack LaLanne and his dog, Happy, on black and white TV, and I remember one episode where he read some viewer mail asking whether older people could actually build muscle mass to look like him. “No”, he shook his head, “you have to do it when you are younger. Once you pass 50, you just are what you are”. I remember clearly thinking that that would never happen to me. I would start building myself up sooner or later.
Now, later, I guess I am what I am. My LDL might be descending, but I am what I am.
Meanwhile, I just came back from a marathon night at CF: I ran 6 laps in 12 minutes, 3 miles on the cyclotron (maybe more, I forget), the dreaded Circuit with the dreaded Jenn (“do your 12 reps while I set up the next machine ” – no rest for the out-of-shape). (She’s great).
And finally, exhausted, ready to leave, there was my daughter Anna starting a TRX class right in front of me. I joined in.
After a night on the hunt for fitness, I wasn’t at my best. Someone has figured out that there is an exercise method in hanging ropes from the rafters and calling it something inscrutable like TRX. I was shaking, yes, like a leaf, and feeling like my muscles were begging for forgiveness. And Anna next to me was doing superhuman things, as was the woman, maybe my age,next to her who, Anna told me later, had once run across the Sahara. 400 miles. Did I mention that I ran 1.5 miles on the treadmill tonight while watching Jeopardy?
But there I was, trying to put my toes into the rings and doing push-ups. Nope. I reverted to a yoga pose. When in doubt, do yoga.
But I’m feeling good tonight. I’m playing for the tie. I’m not trying to look like Jack LaLanne anymore, although I am eating like he did (spoiler alert!)at the end of his life (he was 96). But I’m going to prove him wrong. In the Circuit last week, Ross, a fit young man who guided me through, started chatting about March Madness, and I remarked that I hadn’t yet had the courage to enter the CF Gym, as in basketball gym.
He said he was more of a football guy but maybe we could play sometime. And I thought yeah. Let’s play some ball. (I played a lot as a kid). I’m still six foot three and I think I got a little game left. My skyhook is still a lethal weapon.
Don’t tell Ross or Jack. I’m playing to win.