Dear Faithful Family & Friends,
Just look at this substantial timepiece on my delicate arm. I recently bought, for Stephen and me, matching Men’s Timex Ironman Triathalon wristwatches. Water resistant to 100 meters, they count laps [a maximum of 100], record times, and store workouts, for each session. You may ask me, “Why not buy the women’s version of this watch for yourself?” Well, the women’s color choices were pink, purple, or baby blue and I preferred black or navy. And – get this – the women’s version records only a maximum of 50 laps per session! I don’t mean to sound arrogant but I already swim 50 laps in one session and I plan to incrementally increase my laps in the future!
Wearing this rather hefty chronographer on my wrist, I looked down yesterday and thought, “That’s ironic; I never before thought of myself as an athlete!” Well, in my former life, who would have suspected that I would become an athlete in my 50’s?
Certainly not my teachers, coaches, or fellow students. Do you remember those students in High School Physical Education? The ones who were always the last to be chosen for teams? Well, I was one of those students. I was afraid of the ball, I lacked eye-hand coordination, and I was not aggressive. I did, however, shine during the Folk Dance Unit of Physical Education and I took years of ballet lessons. I danced with confidence and joy. I resumed adult ballet lessons a few years ago and, let me tell you, it may not be a sport but it is very strenuous and demanding!
Certainly not my father, the sports enthusiast, athlete, and coach. Imagine his disappointment: I was always a “sports zero,” in spite of the fact that I was [brace yourself] a cheerleader and a song leader in high school. I understood nothing about football the entire four years that I was cheering/song leading. Eventually, I did kind of get the gist of basketball, however.
Certainly not my husband: When we were newlyweds, he dedicated himself to teaching me tennis and I humored him by huffing and puffing and playing Eliza Doolittle to his Henry Higgins. A natural athlete, he has [previously] always out-shined me in sports endeavors, such as tennis, running, and hiking.
O, woe was I! The humiliation of it all! The deep disappointment! The loneliness! I tell you, the life of a sport outcast is too painful for words!
Ahhh, but now the sweet revenge!
I have not yet attended any of my high school reunions. However, judging from the photographs, it appears to me that not all the former athletes are current athletes. Is that a kind enough way to say it?
And, now it is Stephen, who is “nipping at my fins,” as he describes it, trying to out-swim me! I encourage him all that I can, short of slowing down. Every time I see him gaining on me, in the next lane over, I cannot resist the temptation to speed up! I see him, out of the corner of my eye, and I start humming a few bars of “Just you wait, Henry Higgins, just you wait!” as I race him to the wall and complete my flip turn just as he touches the wall. I must say, he has been a very good, um, “sport” about this surprising exchange of roles.
Every time I look down at my Timex, I think how much fun it would be to show my father. If he were here, he would slap his knees and “hoot” in delight. After all, he first taught me how to swim! When I was three or four, I stood on the side of the pool and yelled, “My tine, my tine!” [“My turn!”] because I was so eager for my turn to jump into the pool, where my dad would catch me and teach me to swim to the side.
I may be a late-blooming athlete but I am now committed to life-long fitness. In fact, I am currently training for Senior Olympics! Only – well — they don’t exactly know about it yet . . .
I decided to wear my new watch every day – not merely on swimming days. However, please do not get the wrong impression. I wear it not to boast or call attention to myself. Nope. I may now be a silver-haired grandmother but I figure nobody messes with a gal wearing a watch like this.
P. S. In related news, at the FSU Physiology Department, I passed my first fitness evaluation with flying colors! Emily, the Research Coordinator, fitted me with a heart monitor and, while I was standing or sitting, the monitor did not register because – you guessed it — my heart rate was too slow! This kind of news makes my physicians very happy!