Stiff Competition

Editor’s note: This column was published on Sept. 14, 2005

I recently celebrated my 47th birthday. Actually, I don’t think celebrated is exactly the word I should use, although at my age every year that you’re around for another birthday should be reason to party. I think that I would just like to usher in each year from here on out with less attention. I don’t really have to know my numerical age because my body is an exact indicator of my chronological age. Recently, I had an experience in which the body indicator would suggest that I’m closer to 90 years old.

The other week our 8-year-old daughter’s school had a welcome-back picnic for all the students, parents and faculty. My wife is the president of the PTG, so we had to arrive early and help set up for the food and events of the day.

I had wandered over to the volleyball area and two teenage boys of another parent were hitting the volleyball around with last year’s president of the PTG. While I think he’s older than me, he’s an ex-Navy diver who has the physique and stamina of a 20-year-old Navy SEAL.

They called me over to play. I used to play in a volleyball league, so I figured I could get in there and even impress the likes of Dave Shoji. Big mistake. By not stretching or warming up, I pulled every muscle in my legs and back. I stayed in but finished the game in pain. I went through the day putting up a good front as I didn’t want people to think I was my daughter’s grandfather. The following morning my muscles were so stiff, I could barely get out of bed.

And my office is on the second floor of a two-story building. The only way to get there is by climbing a flight of stairs, which during the course of a regular day, I have to do at least 10 times. As I took my initial ascent, it was as though I was climbing Mount Everest. At least I wanted to plant an American flag when I got to the top of the stairs.

The next school picnic we have, I’m going to suggest to my wife that we include other competitive sports – like croquet.