Now, I was an active kid. In the winter, we’d lace up our hockey skates. Wait, let me back up a second, we had hockey skateds because the girls had figure skates, and you’d frickin’ kill your friend, if he was unlucky enough to fall in close proximity to you, by impaling his skull on the front teeth or that goofy prong that sticks off the back. I know this because my goofy ass parents told me it was okay to play hockey in a pair of second-hand figure skates… One of my friends fell, at exactly the same time, as I dug those stupid frickin’ teeth into the stupid ice, as I was digging in to chase down the puck. What do you think happened? Yep, the back little sticky-out part went right up his nose.
Folks, you say blood doesn’t bother you. When you’re ten and it’s pouring out of your friend’s melon because you had your stupid girly ice skate, that your mom said would be okay to play hockey in, up his frickin’ nose… Dude, suffice it to say, there’s just some $#!+ you can’t unsee. We had brand new hockey skates that Christmas, and that’s the last damn time I ever wore figure skates. I digress. A lot. Oh, and I’m old enough to call figure skates “girly” and get away with it, Brian Boitano, so don’t get me started.
In any event, we’d lace up our hockey skates at around 10 am on Christmas break or a weekend (I’m old enough to still call it Christmas break too) and we wouldn’t see my parents till it got dark, at 6… Dinner time.
Ladies and gentlemen, I could have eaten a horse and gotten away with it back then.
Then, during summer months, I’d get on my bike and ride seven miles to my best friend’s house just to play basketball and shoot BB guns. Then I’d still have to ride home after a day of playing basketball, “Does it hurt to get shot in the ass with a BB gun? Why yes it does”, and “Hey, let’s see how far I can jump your BMX bike into the pond without breaking a bone”…
Other days, it was baseball from 9 am till dusk, a quick dinner followed by a neighborhood game of kick the can.
However, not once did my mom ever say to me, “Jim, (She just called me Jim back then, because I was not big and far too young to be a daddy…) why don’t you go for a bike ride? It’ll help you feel happier.”
Why is that?
Anyone who has gone for a good, hard bike ride knows you feel like a Million Bucks after. Everyone knows that you feel like you could kick a grizzly’s ass after a fast 10k run…
Folks, I don’t tell my own kids to do that to improve their attitude.
Think of the difference we could make in the world if we did though. What if our kids learned early on that when life sucks, the best thing to fix that perspective is to push on the pedals real hard for an hour or head out for a good 45-50 minute run… It took me three and a half decades of pumping air to figure out that I could use fitness as an attitude adjuster…
So, after work yesterday, I went out for a ride… Actually, I wrote “after” but lately it’s just been a continuation of work, broken up by tiny periods of sleep… Saturday, Sunday, 6, 7 o’clock in the evening (that’s a long day when you’re out the door at 5:30 am)… hell, I was on the phone most of the time when I was in my hunting blind – I had to recharge my phone mid-day just so I had enough battery to handle the afternoon calls… It’s not a wonder I didn’t see many deer.
Anyway, as soon as I walked in the door we threw on our cycling stuff and headed out the door… 16.62 miles and 56 minutes later, I was right with the world again. Fortunately that “right as rain” feeling is short-lived, I’ll have to do it again, tomorrow (and Wednesday through Sunday too, just to make sure it sticks).
I’ve talked about this with my girls, of course, explained that I ride because it makes me feel so much better, but I’ve never actually sent them out for a run or ride so they can get their head straight… It’s interesting, don’t ya know? I’ve been into running, triathlon and cycling for fifteen years now and this whole concept just dawned on me.
Good food for thought, methinks.