This past Thanksgiving my brother and I went and played some football. We shook off a fun Thanksgiving Eve and went to the middle school that we attended many years ago. Instead of reliving our junior high glory on the actual football field we competed on as young kids, we had to do it on the baseball outfield because another group had beat us to the punch and already had a game going on the real gridiron.
But that didn’t matter. Our group of 16 former Mead High School Panthers didn’t need an official football field to play on, we just needed grass. We chose our teams and got to playing. I balled out pretty hard. For almost two hours I ran routes, backpedaled, and caught passes. Not one to sprint that much anymore, I definitely pushed my body into a higher gear than what it has become accustomed to. But at the time it was needed, I had to win a Turkey Bowl championship. And win we did. Led by my brother at quarterback and a couple other former hot shots, our team came out on top. Joyful with the victory we left the field in great spirits as we had a day of relaxation and food ahead of us.
Late that evening while I sat in the movie theater watching “The Hunger Games 3” I could start to feel it. However, the term “rude awakening” never seemed to ring truer than when I opened my eyes early on that Black Friday morning. My legs ached up and down. It hurt to get out of bed and shower. Knowing I needed something, I took some Advil. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite do the trick.
As my brother and I went from store to store I dreaded getting out of the car, it hurt that much. Getting back in the car was a chore too. Walking through the malls was misery. Even the drinks I had while watching the games didn’t numb the soreness. I asked my brother if he felt the same way as me and he said not really. Little things have taught me that I am not so young anymore but the way I felt and the way my brother didn’t feel really drove home the point to me that I am oooooollllllllllllllddd.
The pain didn’t leave that day. In the evening when we went to the casino I still cringed when I got out of the car. Each step I took walking around the moderately-sized Northern Quest facility reminded me of what I did 36 hours earlier. Sitting down at the table with my feet dangling made my legs feel like cement. Later that night when I finally returned home to my parents’ house I patted myself on the back for making it through the day. I was excited to finally feel normal once I woke up in a few hours.
Only I didn’t. I was still sore Saturday also!! I felt like a total pile. One day sore was excusable, two days sore was an absolute embarrassment. I remembered back to my glorious high school days when I actually played real tackle football. On game nights I would get my body beat to hell. I would wake up the next morning feeling like a truck had run over me but after some light conditioning administered by our coaches I was good to go. Here I was whining and complaining the second day from less than 120 minutes of two hand touch, half speed football.
But I guess the main point that I want to make out of this long ramble is not that I am getting old nor is it that I should have stretched beforehand. Rather it is to say that playing in that Turkey Bowl was totally worth it. Sure I have complained for almost 600 words on how sore I was for two days but that soreness reminded me of how much fun I had playing. Don’t get me wrong, I will stretch before next year’s bowl, but even if I am again sore for two days I won’t mind…just as long as my team wins. Don’t Blink.