Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing. Oliver Wendell Holmes

Athletic Opportunity

old athleteThere it was in the shed. A let’s-play-a-game thingy calling us, in this case a diminutive but solid American football.

Before you say it, no, I didn’t play Grid-Iron. Okay, okay, I may have exercised in an unfamiliar way, but I couldn’t foresee what was coming.

A garden too small and an ego too big

You see, my two grandsons were with me 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, open shoulders

Next, 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 running target.

thought may be father of the deed but there can be unexpected side-effects MacL

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.’

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 to connect more than we missed. We practised with a play-slide between us to represent other players in the way. Gradually the angle and the distance increased. The power went up as the throwing arm loosened (more than I thought). The ball started to connect and we moved from ball watching to confident heads-up throwing and catching at a sprint.

He showed me a lump on his forehead next morning — he 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.

Knick-knacked-knees

Next day I could barely stand. I needed a strong stick to walk. Going down stairs provided almost intolerable agony. After hobbling in to a meeting, I returned home and iced my right knee. As that particular agony subsided my shoulders and hands decided they’d keep the agony going.

This blog started with squeaking knees. Had to stop when shoulders and hands went on strike. Now, three days later, the pain is melting slowly.

To top it all, an amazing family thing happened where, crippled or not, I had to get going … watch this space.

© Mac Logan