It's the same old Tuesday routine where I finish work, maybe run an errand, come home and relax for a delicate few minutes. I make two cups of coffee because I'm always tired in the mid afternoon, it's the most underrated legal sports performance supplement, and I'm going to need it. Some usually spills on my shirt as I catch up on light housework.
I descend to the basement, make ready for a day of strength training. Some fashion their man-cave with a surround sound entertainment system as the centerpiece. My centerpiece is a barbell.
The warm-up process involves a lot of jaw exercise (talking) with those joining me in the days adventure. Then the music blares. There will be struggle and strain and physical pain, usually not the injurious variety.
This 37-year old husband and father and employee lifts weights only twice per week. But when that time comes, I do it like life depends on it. This is not the standard 3 sets of 10 while watching Oprah. You concentrate and take it seriously when you're unsure if you'll collapse in a heap or complete the lift. The work is definitely not always fun.
This is my play.
I've never entered into weight lifting or cross training competitions and don't plan to. I simply love the challenge, manipulating the variables, and the process of improvement. I'm inspired by seeing others achieve a feat they simply could not have pulled off 3 or 6 months ago. I like how the weight training makes me feel and look. I love being able to perform atypical life tasks with minimal effort.
It does not matter if it's a pile of iron weights in the basement, a seniors bowling league, or chess club. What many of us are after in playing sports is a fulfillment that goes beyond having fun. And to enjoy that type of fulfillment, at some point along the way, we envision the hard work as simple fun.
The level of play is irrelevant, so long as there's an appropriate physical or mental challenge within a community of participants. Neither is age a primary concern. As a physical therapist, many times I've witnessed the great deal of good that comes when individuals view themselves as athletes, with their personal fitness as a game of achievement. These people are mentally sharp and physically resilient.
I wish that athletes who do throw their hat in the ring would remember that we play for fun and fitness. If you think most men are not full of words and drama, go ahead and watch a recreational basketball game. What a shame when we pretend that failure is not an option, when we forget that to seriously try is to risk failure. Without that risk, the sports we play are really not all that fun.
My friend who coaches baseball often repeats to his charges, "you cannot guarantee the outcome, but you can guarantee the effort." I LOVE the humility in this as much as what it demands. I think there is something intrinsically good and true and even God pleasing about that statement, and it applies to athletes in all walks of life.