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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The ‘Sport’-ing Life

(Yesterday was a Bugs & Cranks day, featuring the not-so-wordy [but oddly time-consuming] bit of fanta-tweet baseball known as Designated Twitter: Don’t Call It a Comeback. Have a gander, if you’re so inclined.)

I’m having a bit of a fitness dilemma.

Not my usual fitness dilemma, which is something along the lines of, “What is this ‘fitness’, anyway, and how can I ignore it completely while mainlining aged prosciutto scraps directly into my arterial system?

This is different from that. And somewhat less delicious. Here’s the thing:

I play a fair number of ‘sports’. I put ‘sports’ in quotes because these are not, for the most part, actual physical activities meant to stimulate cardiovascular health or lung endurance or working up a warm sweaty glow. Rather, these are fat old man ‘sports’. Perspiring is not a priority. Neither is stretching. In some cases, we’re encouraged to move as little as possible for the duration of the event.

Take billiards, for instance. I’m in an 8-ball league. Most of the league night involves long periods of sitting and waiting, punctuated by short bursts of hunching over a table and peering with one squinty eye down a long shaft. It’s essentially the same workout as patronizing a gay boardwalk peepshow.

And while you might run into people who qualify as ‘sporty’, in various senses of the word, that hardly makes it a sport.

Or take bowling — three steps, a little curtsy and a flourish. That’s not athletics; that’s meeting the Duchess of Kent in a reception line. Only with uglier shoes. And less grease on the balls.

And don’t get me started on softball. There, they’re just happy if you make it from the dugout to the plate without falling over. If you manage that, you get a pat on the back. Also, a beer. A single gets a beer, a groundout gets a beer, a strikeout gets a beer, coaching first base gets a beer, sitting in the dugout gets a beer — you get the picture. There’s basically nothing you can do on or near the field that doesn’t qualify you for a beer. Which, come to think of it, probably explains all that falling over people tend to do between the dugout and the plate.

So softball — also not a sport. Softball exists solely to make you feel okay about drinking beer outside in the middle of a park on a Sunday morning, because you see nineteen other people around you doing the same thing. It’s like a support group in favor of drinking. They should call it “Alcoholics Athleticous”.

The crux of my dilemma is this: These are the sorts of ‘sports’ I play when I decide to wave a feeble, flabby hand in the general direction of ‘fitness’. Which is not that often. Unless I’m thirsty. And I’m pretty sure that “Jonesing for a Guinness” isn’t on the approved list of valid fitness motivations.

So I’m looking for something else. Something a bit more… strenuous. I’m not afraid to take on a challenge. And if it gets me healthier, and means that I’m able to carry around this aching, dumpy body for a few extra years, then… well. I should probably work on the ‘motivation’ part later. I’m clearly not any good at this, because that sounds kind of awful. Does ‘fitness’ come with some sort of wheelbarrow, maybe? Or, say, a beer?

Because I’m really jonesing for a Guinness right now. And that always puts me in the mood for a ‘workout’.

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