I'm an old man. My days of past athletic glory are definitely behind me. The moment I knew that was in the summer of 2010. I was playing in a soccer tournament. It was hot, we were losing big and the other team was enjoying themselves far too much at our expense. Their wing was cruising down the left side of the pitch, torching us yet again for either a goal or amazing pass to a wide open teammate would would easily score. He was incredibly exciting to watch and was easily a level beyond everyone else on the field.
I had just switched sides of the field because I was getting sick of watching him destroy our back line. As he was, yet again, dribbling past teammate after teammate, I started to switch to a higher gear and dispossess him (which in normal times, normal years would have been very easy for me), but there was no higher gear! I didn't have the normal burst of speed that I had been blessed with all my athletic life. It's what made me so confident as a defender or as a striker. I couldn't be caught or I could easily catch most other athletes.
But, as he danced away from me, I literally put my hands on my hips and watched him score another goal. There was nothing I had that could have caught him. I briefly tried to run him down, but I couldn't. That, my friends, is knowing your best isn't good enough.
So, I haven't put the cleats back on and sold the ones I had on E-Bay. But, I have decided to try new sports where there isn't mano-a-mano competition. But, I can at least both test myself and enjoy myself.
On this trip to Ecuador, I knew all about their amazingly consistent wave sets. One 3 footer after another after another after..........
But I didn't know why or how until I got out onto the water myself and tried to swim out to the bigger breakers. I almost broke an ankle!
The sand on the beach immediately gives way to what feels like a reef of rocks. And when there aren't rocks to slip on, there are holes. And those holes trap your leg and ankles.
As soon as the water was 2 feet high above these treacherous rock formations, I tried to immerse myself into the water and with my hands under my body, "hand walk" and lightly swim breaststroke to the deeper water about 25-30 years off shore. It was another 25 yards to reach the surf-able waves. I hadn't brought a surf board and the hotel didn't provide one. Which meant that I had to tread water while catching waves with my body, other wise known as body surfing.
As I was paddling around, a surfer came up to me and caringly said "Amigo, be careful. If you need my help, I'm watching you". He obviously didn't want me drowning ...and neither did I. I probably would have had the same reaction if I had seen a big white whale flopping around in the ocean and I was a tan confident surfer.
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