Wednesday, September 28, 2005

From First Grade to the Senior Games

I remember being anxious and excited on my first day of first grade and feeling much the same when I swam for the first time at the Huntsman World Senior Games last October. After the games I set a goal to compete this year. Back then there seemed to be plenty of time to get ready. Well ready or not, the 2005 games start next week. I’ve paid my registration fees, made reservations and once again I’m anxious and excited.

I’m also grateful for family, friends, runners, bikers, swimmers, even blog readers who’ve encouraged me this year. So many Saturdays my wife’s said, “You’d better get your swim in today.” So many lunch hours I’ve enjoyed taking a swim-break on campus. So many spring, summer and fall afternoons I’ve cross-trained on mountaib bike in Salt Lake foothills.

In their own way, my kids also encourage me. Three in college provide an unparalleled motivation to stay healthy and productive. Sometimes they give me tips on proper attire for exercise, “Dad, you're not going to wear that are you?” And when dinner table conversations get too one sided, they bring me back to reality.

Last year when I wasn’t quite sure about going to the games, I asked some neighbors for advice. “Of course you should go,” said one without hesitation. Not everyone was so positive, but I'm glad for the encouragement I got. I hadn’t yet discovered Wayne Gretzky’s quotation, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.”

I’m also grateful to live in a community that encourages recreation. Thanks to the Utah Masters Club I’ve had fun swimming in a couple of local meets in Park City and Salt Lake this year. Thanks to Salt Lake County I’ve competed in the Magnathon, my first mini-triathlon. Thanks to Davis County I’ve howled at the moon while biking the annual Antelope Island Moonlight Ride.

And thanks to an old friend from way back in first grade who spirited me off to lunch on his Harley today, I’ve been reminded of the kid I once was and still am--still anxious, still excited, still looking forward.