My girls took and passed their swimming tests last night, though my youngest had a tough time with the diving part, she breezed through the swimming test. I have a tough time with that one. She quits like I did when I was a kid so I tend to treat her the way I needed to be treated to get over my self-limiting behavior. I worry that I’m too tough on her, but I know that kid – she’s just like her father. Without a stern shove every now and again, I would have tried to stay in the womb.
On the other hand her teacher reminded me of something incredibly important when he asked he what grade she was in. It went like this: [Instructor] “What grade are you in now, third? [Josie] “No, first”. [Instructor] “You mean you’re doing all this and this well and you’re only in first grade”?! That put things in perspective a little better – I have to remember that she’s only six.
Isabella, on the other hand, swims like a great white. Graceful and powerful, at nine years old. She jumped from level four to level six and never blinked. She went from 25 yard repeats to a full 500 yards, non-stop, last night. The most impressive of her 20 trips across the pool was the last 25 yards – it was a strong front crawl, she finished with style… At a 2:12 pace per hundred, with flip turns.
That’s my girls, baby. They do their mom and dad proud.
In the context of my last post about my buddy dying for a drink, this post couldn’t have come at a better time – we drunks, as scary as it may be, have to remember to leave the cage…
There once was a man named George Thomas, a pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Several eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak.
“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, “What you got there son?”
“Just some old birds,” came the reply.
“What are you gonna do with them?” I asked.
“Take ’em home and have fun with ’em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease ’em and pull out their feathers to make ’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”
“But you’ll get tired of those…
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I was reading a post from the Springfield Cyclist and that inspired this post, which I hadn’t planned on writing but now can’t avoid.
A friend that I was trying to work with didn’t make it. Sadly, we drunks tend to die before our time if we don’t choose recovery, and when we do cash out we usually leave a train wreck behind us.
I could have done more to help him. I could have held his hand, left my family to stay with him, called him on a more consistent basis, led him by the nose… None of it would have gotten him sober. I’ve never seen any form of coddling work but you never know, this time, for the first time in the history of man, it could have.
The truth, at least for him, was a little more sucky. The truth is painful. I had to accept that I was a low-down, loser of a drunk before I could cease fighting to keep drinking – and that’s what we do, we fight to keep drinking.
My friend’s problem was even a little worse, he was mired in self-pity. It wasn’t fair, it was her fault, the law’s fault, the world’s fault – anyone but his own. Self-pity to a drunk, unless cast aside, is suffocating, enervating and deadly as a pistol. If everything is the fault of others, there’s nothing I can do to change. For a drunk to pity oneself is akin to a fox blaming the pig because the fox was caught raiding the henhouse. It plays well to the dopes, but the pats on the back soon fade to memories as each dope realizes the fallacy of the construct as they are duped, used and cast aside for another more gullible enabler.
If that seems harsh, it is… But it’s the God’s honest, unvarnished truth.
Some are what we call constitutionally incapable of being honest – this is where my friend lived and got drunk. Again and again until he’d used up everyone he could.
When he ran out of dupes, he died. Alone. Found unresponsive. Much will be said of this man. They’ll speak kindly of him at his funeral, probably gloss over much of the wreckage he created and maybe even wrap a nice bow around it…
The sad truth is he is dead because he wouldn’t place the blame where it belonged: On himself.
Don’t be that person. That shit’ll kill ya.
So last evening came the capper to my fun triathlon (one friend called it a hillbilly triathlon, another a red-neck triathlon): Bowling.
The first two legs, a 49 minute mountain bike ride and an afternoon at the pool were hardly ‘workouts’ per se, heck I didn’t do one lap in the pool. I did dive off of the diving board several times and the rest of my time was spent climbing the stairs of the water slide with my daughter.
Bowling is no different. Yeah, you work some muscles, but you’re never going to hear anyone say, “I lost 52 pounds by going bowling”!!! In any event, warm up did not go well. I left a split and took several spares. With about a minute to go in the warm-up and with everyone else sitting down for the start, I found the groove that I would stay in all night long.
I am a slightly above average bowler. My normal average is between 168 and 175.
My first game I struggled in the opening frames getting a couple of spares and two ugly strikes. Then I clicked throwing four strikes in a row, before an open, then finishing strike, strike, nine for a 204 – 33 pins over my average. Though it was close for much of the game, we took it in the tenth frame.
The second game was a lot closer early on as we had difficulties as a team. I managed to string a few spares together with a strike before going on a five strike run and a strike, strike, nine finishing frame for a 224 – we took that game as well and started contemplating a sweep (we were in fourth place playing the second place team). I also started thinking about a 600 series – a rarity for me. All I had to do was hit a 172 in my third game – not an easy task after the first two legs of my fun triathlon earlier, I could feel my energy start to drain. Not to worry! I hit the concession stand for the largest Mountain Dew they had…
I started out with an open frame in the first and followed that up with a strike and a split spare. Going into the fifth frame I was sitting on an 88 – just enough to make my 600 if I kept it up – instead I went on an absolute tear. Six strikes in a row and a nine in the last of the tenth to finish with a 228 and we took the third game sweeping the number two team. We leapt from fourth to second place in one night.
In the end, I threw my first 650 series with a 656 actual and if you take my handicap into account I’d be in the 700 club.
Now that’s a finish a fella can love.
I’ve come up with a new idea for triathlons. I got to thinking, all of this cycling – well who can get enough of that anyway – swimming and running… Why not shake things up?
Well it’s cold and cloudy today (33 F) so I went out for a nice 13 mile ride on the goat (49 min). This will leave me just enough time to jump in the shower so Mrs. Bgddy and I can take the girls swimming at the high school and I’ll be following that up with our last night of league bowling for the season.
Not bad for a full fun day… And after last week, I could use a little fun.
My buddy English Pete is cut from a different cloth. He’s an ultra marathoner and he leads a pretty darned decent life, at least as far as we can see from the outside. What impresses most of us who hang out with him is his ability to keep going. They guy has run a 100k for crying out loud – more than one. In other words, he doesn’t leave much room for us to mess with him… That is, until we took our daughters swimming at a local hotel pool.
The details aren’t that important, until we get to the point where he walks in and lets me in on the fact that he mistakenly ran out the door without grabbing his swimsuit. He walks up to me and says something like, “Hey man, I forgot my suit, do you think it would be a problem if I swam in my knickers”? I obviously asked if they were boxers, briefs or tightie-whities. He said black briefs, so I figured they’d pass for a Speedo… So he goes into the dressing room, comes out in his drawers and hops – quickly – into the pool. Uh, they were almost as big as a Speedo. The look on his face was priceless… It is then that he turns around to see a family pointing at him and holding a rather animated conversation – from the second floor observation window. Oh my.
So a week or two later we’re all at Pete’s house for a cookout. My wife, and kids, Pete’s family, Big Steve and his and a few others. Big Steve is, without a doubt, the funniest guy I know, so I start telling him the story. Every once in a while, when I missed a detail, Pete jumped in to give the full context. When we get to the part about the family at the second floor observation window, that’s when Steve drops the bomb… “Hey, they’d just seen Pete in his man-panties”!
So this story, and “man-panties”, has stuck to Pete to a point where I almost feel bad for the poor guy – almost, but not quite… Here’s to swimming in man-panties.
My second favorite English fella inspired this post. Sorry brother, but English Pete had me at “man-panties” (it’s a long but hilarious story).
You look at me with incredulity as I wolf down that donut. It’s not fair that I’m so thin and can eat that crap. Never mind that this is the only one I’ll eat this year. You order your tofu and tree bark salad and try to convince me that “it’s actually pretty good”- as I order my half pound bacon cheeseburger with onion rings and barbecue sauce. You roll your eyes, as if it were somehow deemed by God that some people can eat food and some, well, can’t. It must be in my genes. Maybe.
Later, you laugh at me while I’m pulled over on the side of the road, puking out the morning’s breakfast because I accidentally pushed just a little too hard on my Saturday morning fun ride. As you drive by and crane your neck in wonderment, I wink and take a quick swig of Gatorade to wash the taste of bile down. You think, “he must be f@ckin’ nuts”. Maybe.
You assume that I’m silly because I’ll spend more on my bike than I do on my car in a year (and I’m dumb because I’m happy with that). You have a pick-up and a more fuel-efficient car so the monthly fuel bill doesn’t sting so much. They both cost more than my house payment for you to keep on the road. I spend a tenth that on my bikes and they run on fat. You see that 100 mile sticker on my SSUV (Small SUV) and that 13.1 sticker and wonder what that means. The 100 mile sticker was earned because I was on the side of the road puking the last time you saw me, I winked at you while I was washing the puke down with some Gatorade. The 13.1? Yeah I just ran that to see if I still had it in me. I must be crazy. Maybe.
I don’t think I’m any better than you. Truth is, I’ll probably forget your face by morning. That’s the excuse you use as a justification so you won’t feel lazy for wasting the weekend away on the couch. How’s that working for you?
I have heard all of these things said about my friends and I.
I am not different. I am definitely not stupid. I am most certainly not insane…
We are awesome because this is the life we choose, the life we love – our 20 mile run or 100 mile bike ride is your weekend watching baseball on the recliner. We are thin, not because we have good genes, but because these bodies are bought and paid for – with sweat, puke and even a little blood now and again.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, Big Daddy’s gotta eat. No thank you, I’ll pass on the tofu and tree bark. You go ahead.