Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Last summer my 12 year old grandson visited from out of state for a few days. He really wanted me to go down to the park with him so he could shoot some hoops. I had every excuse in the book for not going. It was too hot. I was too tired after work. I was too old (at 66). I had no stamina. He was reasonably good natured about it but disappointed. I felt awful, for more than one reason.
Then in September I joined SparkPeople. As of his visit at Christmas I had lost 13 pounds.
He joined us after spending a week with his dad. His visit had been sort of all right, but one disappointment was that his dad would not shoot baskets with him. After 2 day of indoor activities he had a bad case of cabin fever; would Grandma please go down to the park and shoot hoops with him?
I look outside at the bright sunshine and clear blue sky. Colorado winters can be surprisingly mild. I sighed. I warned it was cold in spite of the sun. He didn't care. So I bundled up in a heavy coat and grabbed my gloves. He put on his shorts and a lightweight jacket. I figured he would want to be out long, which was fine with me.
We walked the block and a half down the street to the park and found that the concrete pad in front of the solo hoop was covered with about an inch of puffy snow criss-crossed by footprints - mostly human shoes, but with a few bunny feet scattered among them. We needed a snow shovel. I told my grandson we would go home and get one. So we walked up the hill. My grandson was considerate and suggested we drive back to the park. But now this granny had been Sparking and knew she needed some exercise. We picked up a shovel and walked back down to the park.
I started the process. The snow was so light I was able to push it into piles along one edge of the pad. When the area immediately in front of the net was cleared he started throwing the ball. I kept pushing snow. There was no wind, and pretty soon I realized that he was better dressed for the elements than I was. The predicted high was about 45 but it felt a lot warmer.
Then it happened: my grandson took the shovel for me, handed me the ball, and told me to start throwing at the basket. He didn't think it was fair that he got to have all the fun.
Was he kidding? I loved shoveling that snow. I had a great sense of accomplishment as I watched the cleared area grow. And I was certain I couldn't make a basket if my life depended on it. All the fun? No way. But he was adamant, and pretty soon I found myself trying to arc that ball into the basket.
First I tried to throw it like the big boys do, with my arms over my head and using my elbows and shoulders for power. The ball bounced off the front edge of the rim. Next I took what my grandson disdainfully called granny shots, holding the ball low in front of my body and hoisting it with all my strength. It bounced off the backboard. I was grateful that either way I threw it the ball bounced back to me so I didn't have to chase it in the snow behind the basket. Then I started to get the ball a little closer so it actually went into the hoop - and then rolled around the inside of the rim until it rolled up and out. I had choice words for the basket and looked to see if there was plastic on the inside keeping balls from falling through the net. No such excuse.
I tried to retrieve my snow shovel and give him the ball. He wasn't having any. He would not let me stop until I actually made a basket. Harrumph!
And so the afternoon went. We finally took turns. I actually made 2 baskets over the course of nearly 2 hours. He made a bunch of baskets, of course, and then threw a small ball for a golden retriever brought (illegally) off-leash to get some exercise.
Finally we headed home and it finally it me: last summer I could not have lasted 20 minutes in that park. This day I had a wonderful time with my grandson, getting exercise, on a magnificent day in the fresh, crisp air. Part of me says I owe it all to SparkPeople and the motivation and tracking help I have gotten there. At the same time I also know that I worked hard for many weeks, exercising and watching what I ate, and created that healthy body that walked, shoveled snow, and threw baskets without getting particularly tired or even a little sore.
This is what the journey to health is all about. I can't wait until he comes next summer. He has told me he is going to teach me to play soccer.