I remember, as a member of the ’71 Orono Little League Giants, our coach requiring us to run three laps around the bases without stopping at the end of our practices. When our sass-mouthed catcher asked our beleaguered manager why we would do such a thing, he growled “To build-up your stamina” before launching into an all too familiar story about how much tougher kids from HIS generation were.
Gotta say, after a few weeks, instead of wheezing around the bases, we were wheeling around the bases, quite impressed with ourselves. Yep, our crusty coach was right. Put in the time, and you’ll build-up the ‘ol stamina.
Decades later, the Mrs. ‘n me have just returned home from our umpteenth ball game as faithful fans, and we are exhausted. Here’s the deal: we have 7 grandkids. The eldest is out of school now, so there’s no more chasing her around kingdom come to watch her whack a softball.
But behind her, we have one in T-ball, two in youth softball, one in Little League, another on a middle school baseball team, while still another plays year-round soccer. And yes, we get to as many games as we can. Frankly, I’m not sure if the Fabulous Judester and I can keep-up this pace. It was one thing to follow our fellas (now the Dads of our grandchildren) from game to game to game. First of all, there were only two of them. Second, and most important, we were much younger back in the day and full of vim and vigor.
So I’m writing this as a note to all young parents reading this blog. You young whipper snappers need to start training for what’s ahead right now; don’t delay. Before you know it, those young squirts you claim as children will be tromping on fields, courts and ice rinks across the region, only to be followed by the next generation. Keeping-up with them as the years progress will become harder, believe me.
So take advice from this gimpy grandpa, and heed the words from my former coach back in the day. You’ve gotta start building-up your endurance NOW. Run laps. Embrace stretching exercises to prevent your legs from cramping while sitting on wobbly steal bleachers as you swat black flies. Embrace deep breathing rhythms that will sustain your sanity when the 3rd pitcher in the last 45 minutes walks the 14th batter of the inning with yet another missive to the backstop.
Take it from us…people in the know. Get yourself into some kind of training regimen. No pain, no gain. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Make me proud, and pass me an asprin.
Steve McKay is a regular blog contributor to the Sports Chowdah