There’s something about being 39 that causes people to take stock and try to reclaim the physical abilities they had in their youth. I was no different. When I was six months from my fortieth, I decided to start running and training to take off the 20 or so pounds that had crept on over the years. My goal was to dunk a basketball again…something I hadn’t done since I was 19 or 20.
Starting slowly (and a month before the New Year’s crunch, when the gym gets a lot more crowded), I gradually increased my training on the elliptical machine (low impact was good) and started a weight training program too. By March I was touching the rim again, and I continued to make progress, but couldn’t make the dunk.
Finally, the big day arrived: May 15, 2003. I had taken the day off from work, and went to the local Y to play in a pick-up game. Having played reasonably well, I thought, “Why not give it a try?” To my utter amazement, being really warmed up and having stretched, I slammed it down.
I quickly called my wife, Lisa, and asked her to get down to the Y with our videocamera, to document this for posterity. I’m no Michael Jordan (although we are the same age), but here’s the proof that I made it.
By the way, immediately after reaching this pinnacle I joined the gang you see in the background in another pick-up game…and within 15 minutes had broken my left index finger (my first fracture!) That took me out of training for several weeks, and it’s been downhill since.
This summer has been a good training time too, although now because of life events it’s been a week since I’ve gone running. Making time for training needs to be a priority.
2 thoughts on “Turning Back the Clock”
Lee – I have found basketball again as well, although I’m a bit older than you (51 in August). Playing at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center gym with guys half my age is probably not the smartest move I’ve ever made, but it is a great way to stay in shape. And having arthroscopic surgeons just around the corner made it much easier to get back on the court after tearing cartilage in my knee (second time). So I’d encourage you to keep playing – wait until you are 49 and see what you are thinking then! I’ve never been able to dunk, so my goal was less grandiose: don’t embarrass yourself. So far, so good.