Sunday, July 11, 2004

Franklin Delano Roosevelt State Park turned out to be a perfect place for an extended family picnic and Saturday's weather couldn't have been better for it.

Considering I haven't been to the gym in over a month now, I should have known better than to jump into a game of two-hand touch without stretching at all. Especially after an hour of rowing a boat had started blisters on my thumbs and tightened up my shoulders. But it was Saturday evening, we were leaving soon, and given the company, it felt too much like a Fresh Air Fund moment to skip.

Growing up in the Bronx, two-hand touch was full contact and played in the middle of street with constant interruptions from passing cars. Bodies bouncing off parked cars and each other and sometimes the pavement - one Mississippi, two Mississippi - go deep was almost always the play and interceptions were more likely than touchdowns. I was always small and skinny for my age so I made up for it by being tenacious and had the skinned knees to show for it.

Yesterday was no different as I joined the game about an hour after it started, fresh legs in a crowded mix of mid-late 30-somethings and teenagers. There were more short passes and run plays than deep routes and, still not the tallest or the biggest, I was the most tenacious, always following the ball and making several plays on defense. About ten minutes in, the skinned knees came as I dove for a kid half my age to keep him from scoring and made the play. Even managed to keep the grass stains to a minimum.

Today, I paid for my exuberance with every muscle in my legs the kind of sore that makes every step a determined one. But it was well worth it because for that 30 minutes of football, my mind was clear of all the bullshit in the world and I was having fun.

Tomorrow, the real world returns and I will cherish every painful step as a reminder that the life beyond 9-5 is what counts most and nothing should ever be allowed to get in the way of that.

1 comment:

Fish said...

dude, two-hand touch on my block was one step before putting you in your grave. We rarely ever passed the ball and most of our plays were running plays. This is why when we started playing league ball; no one could stop our runs.

Wanna laugh?? One time I was playing deep and this kid louie went for a pass mid zone. The QB floated it and I ran in from deep full steam. LOuie jumped up and I hit him so hard he broke the window and fell inside the car. That is street ball son! See you at Acentos Tomorrow