On Sunday Bri invited me to play basketball with a bunch of guys in Arlington. I hadn't gotten regular exercise (Sunday morning flag football doesn't count!) since the end of rugby season, so I was happy to pass on watching a football game in order to get a workout. I was afraid my fitness would be horrible and my skills, since I haven't played hoops since March or April, would be worse. But I found that I was able to run up and down the court without problem, just a little bit of windedness towards the end of a game. And I was playing solid defense (including moving my feet very well), rebounding as well as ever, passing the ball well, and shooting not too poorly. I hit my first shot from the baseline and hit a fadeaway in the key over a defender who was both taller than me and had good position. I think I finished 2-for-5 shooting, which for me is pretty good. And Bri commented that I played very well, far exceeding his expectations after such a lengthy break from hoops.
This evening I helped surrealestate move some boxes. Mostly I was offering my truck, but I pride myself on being strong. Pound for pound I'm really not that strong, but because of my size I'm stronger than most people I know. Since I'm not fast or otherwise athletically gifted, I like to compensate with my strength. So, I don't mind putting it to use moving large boxes and stuff. Now, I have been known to push it or show off by taking two or three boxes when everyone else is taking one, but I swear I wasn't doing that today. I decided to carry just one box at a time from the cart to my truck bed. As I'm walking down the stairs with one box, I think to myself, "Wouldn't it be something if I threw out my back!" I laughed at the thought. Moments later, as if to spite me, I felt a sudden stabbing pain in my back. Great! I put the box down and tested my back. Okay, I threw it out, but it wasn't too bad. I still had full range of motion, and as long as I moved slowly I should be okay. I stretched a bit, and then resumed moving boxes. After I had moved about 5 or 6 boxes, I was lowering a plastic bin when all the muscles in my back clenched up again; this time the sharp stabbing pain was more painful than ever, and I actually dropped one end of the bin. (Not to worry, surrealestate, it only dropped about 4 inches, onto the edge of the ledge, and nothing was damaged.) I slowly shoved the whole bin onto the ledge and let go of the box completely. I was done for the night. At that point I don't think I could have lifted my book if I'd wanted to! I felt like such a loser sitting in my truck watching surrealestate and […] load and unload all these boxes. I felt old and useless.
Thing is, I can't blame getting older. The exact same sorts of things happened in my teens and twenties. Yes, I have some sort of rotator cuff injury and I threw out my back, but I feel like I'm in pretty decent shape overall. I'm big and heavy, but I'm active, I play sports regularly, and I feel good. I've had injured shoulders and thrown out backs before — these are just freak accidents, not signs of middle-agedness.
My back is still pretty tight, but it is starting to feel better. I'm optimistic that I'll be all nice and relaxed for caroling tomorrow night.