It's been said that 50 is the new 30. That means 40 is the new 20 and maybe 20 is the new 10. Well, I could buy that based on some of the decisions my 21-year-old has made.
Back in the day, I never went to see a doctor unless I broke a bone or needed a sizable quantity of stitches. Basically, I was bulletproof and, given the abusive things I put my body through, I actually believed this.
Recently, my friend Brian asked me (more like begged me) to fill in for a player that could not make it to their softball game. In college, I played in an intramural softball league. I played second base and shortstop and finished our season batting .600. Brian knew this since we went to Ohio State at the same time.
I kept telling him, I'm not in college anymore, nor have I played seriously since. Somehow he convinced me to play. I believe his words were, "The guys on the team are laid back they don’t care how good or bad someone is. They just want to have fun."
So, on the way to the game, I reminded him that I don’t play outfield, and third base is trouble for me. I don’t know if it's because I'm left handed or it's just a bad place for me.
I was assured this would not be a problem. Upon arriving at the game, the team captain intensely grilled me on my play and seemed to be a real donkey’s behind. I explained to him that I am not a third baseman. He said, "No problem. You'll be on third."
What an #$%!
In the first inning, I made three errors. In the second inning, I made four errors.
When is this guy going to move me? My only saving grace to that point was my bat. I had a hit in every plate appearance and a couple of RBIs. I thought donkey man might warm up to me.
Not a chance. Finally, after the third inning, they moved me to first base. Thank God!
By the last inning, I was batting 1.000 and had made one error at first. It was my last at bat when Brian looked at me and started to laugh.
What's that all about? I asked.
He said, "I forgot to tell you something. This is a double header."
Son of a beehive! I was already crippled from the first game. I was limping around the bases and my thighs felt like they were being jabbed with a hot poker every time I ran.
I won’t give you a blow by blow of game two, but I had no errors, and after the two games were over, the stat man said, "Scalish you batted .900 for the two games — good job."
The donkey man said nothing. He was probably upset with his .300.
The hard truth was I limped around for two weeks after that game. I guess the new 30 is a little harder than the original 30.
Today, I find myself trying to stay in shape and watching what I eat. This is something I never had to do before. The other thing is now I need at least seven hours of sleep instead of my usual four or five. Driving to events has changed somewhat also. I used to drive 20 hours non-stop. Now I try to drive 11 or 12, and then stop.
Fishing is an entirely different matter. I will fish until I drop. That's just what I do.
Of course, I pay the price for this dedication. I have two bad shoulders, which is a slight problem since I only have two. The down time to get them fixed is 11 months! This is a bad deal because I will not — nor can I — stop fishing. So, I live with the pain.
My son, the football player — 15 years old, six feet and change, pushing 240 pounds — seems to think it's his job to challenge me at wrestling and arm wrestling every night I'm home.
It's my hope he tires of losing, because my new 30 requires more recovery time. Noah has a theory on why he can’t beat the old man. His hypothesis began the day I asked him if he wanted half of my apple. He said you don’t have a knife and I am not going to eat it after you did.
No problem I said, and proceeded to break the apple in half. He was impressed and proclaimed that I have "old man strength."
Old man strength!
I like it.
You are only as old as you feel. My brain believes I am in my twenties, my actions may indicate that as well, however this is how it is. My Chevy truck has 259,000 miles on it. If you look at the truck without the sponsor wrap, it looks brand new. It just requires more maintenance these days.
I cannot take credit for this lovely analogy. This came from my doctor! Seems we are becoming friends, since I now require more maintenance.
Thanks to my beautiful wife and our four children for making every day fun, crazy and unpredictable. They are my fountain of youth.
Love a lot, laugh a lot, stay young at heart and mind and you will remain that way.
P.S. — Don't mess with me! I have old man strength.