Old Guys

“Look Dad, old guys.”

I was at the local sports complex last night with son David (age 10) and he was looking into one of the caged mini-football pitches. Inside there were about a dozen guys kicking the ball around.

Granted some of them had red faces beneath their salt and pepper hair, and there was more than one waistband pulled tight over the unhappy remainder of too many visits to the pub, but these guys weren’t that old, and they were still out there, giving it their best shot, no doubt entertaining delusions of grandeur about their skills and wondering why they were always passed over by the talent scouts, “back in the day.”

And, they weren’t that old, at least they didn’t look that old to me.

Like America, sport is big over here. It’s big for the pros, some of whom earn £50,000 and more every week, but it’s also big for amateurs with many men and women playing long past their expiration dates. The local sporting complex is massive with multiple pitches for soccer, field hockey and cricket, in addition to numerous indoor gyms with the usual array of weight machines, lap pools and Body Pump classes.

Many Scots happily indulge in deep fried pizza and Mars bars, but there seems to be just as many who are working to stave off the unwanted side effects of their advancing years.

Several people have asked me, “What are you doing, John?”

“I’m writing and playing the flute.”

“Yeah, but what are you doing for exercise?”

Presently nothing, but last night I did a considerable amount of walking. Lisa took the car to IKEA for a little retail therapy, leaving me to see that the kids got to their activities. On the way out of town she dropped Jessie at her Brownies troop. Half an hour later I was walking David to the sports complex for field hockey practice, about 12 minutes away. From there I walked to the church to pick up Jessie, about a twenty minute walk. After a short wait, we made the eight minute walk home, at which point I turned around to walk back to the sports complex to pick up David, a twenty-five minute round trip. All told it was nearly an hour of walking, not bad for an old guy.

This Monday (my usual day off) I’m headed off to the hills again for some real exercise. We’re thinking of “doing” Ben Ledi or maybe Stuc A’ Chroin. Isaac has been begging to do the Cobbler. All three of these represent 4-6 hours of climbing, two thirds of which are uphill, one third back down.

The outings usually prepare me well for a couple of the “12 ounce curls” we do at the pub afterwards.

Now that’s my kind of exercise!

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