Week One, Part II
No, that’s not all I wanted to tell you. I wanted to tell you that I feel old and stiff, but imbued with this sense of purpose, I feel strangely young again. I feel like I’m back in my high school days, where the world (conspiring against me as it does all of us) had not yet brought its crushing denial. I have pieced together—at least 75% of it—my old routine, formerly posted above my teenage bed, designed to maximize vertical leap. There is something like déjà vu in this retreading of the exercises—the squats, rim touches, calf raises—that gives me an occasional jolt that tells me this feat can be accomplished.
But there’s the work. You know, we’re all so busy with our jobs, our responsibilities, living our lives, that there’s no time for anything else. Yes, I truly am really, really busy—I teach, work very hard in planning lessons and grading papers. There are a lot of these papers, as I am an English teacher. I tutor, four to six hours a week. I coach basketball. I craft and crack jokes. I write—or at least pretend I do. I cook, sometimes. I watch television. I do a lot, trust me.
Sure, I don’t have children of my own, a wife, or a serious girlfriend. I know that these things equal time, and I think of my friend who has run some forty marathons, including all twenty-six Los Angeles Marathons, and I know that he has a wife and daughter, so, hey, it can be done. He’s run 1048 miles—shoot, what have I done?
I try to remember: what was it like, really, to have no job, no real responsibilities, to be able to play hoops from 11 am to 8pm, to go home tired and exhilarated, then wake up and do it again the next day?
Here is my routine that I have proudly followed for the first four days of this week:
--Five standing jumps, with a strong base, in which I jump as high as I can while bringing my knees to my chest
--Twenty squats, using a ten pound medicine ball for a bit of resistance, and being sure to hold the squat for at least two seconds
--Twenty five “rim touches,” in which I jump continuously as high as I can, touching as high on the rim (or net, depending on the day) as possible
--Seventy five jumps with the jump rope—twenty-five with the left foot only, right foot only, and with both feet.
--Thirty-five calf raises
The routine of yesteryear, which I performed as religiously as an old woman reciting the rosary, also included sprints of varying length, but I will leave these thirty, fifty, and seventy yard runs for later. Gotta catch my breath first.
I must say, too, that a bit of my reluctance to perform the deeply important sprints is a bit of elder hubris. Twentysomethings who haven’t played a competitive game in years shouldn’t be running sprints on public fields, feigning seriousness about a sport in which they will never be rated by a high school or college coach or professional scout. Not that I’m worried about outer appearances and external approval, but it just looks ridiculous. Right? Don't you think?