It's the fall of 1984, and I'm a DuPont Senior High School Bulldog. Sort of.
To say that I played football in high school is a little misleading. Technically, I was on the roster and even made the cover of the program twice -- once in the team picture and the other as one of the seniors.
Playing, however, was another matter. Five varsity plays ... that's it. I had never played football before, and I went out to impress She Who Must Not Now Be Named. Here's the kicker. I paced the sidelines -- we weren't allowed to sit on the bench -- for a team that went 0-10.
Our leading scorer was a linebacker. We scored 44 points the whole season. And there I was ... a dummy holder.
This is all to say that I'm not an athlete, although I've dearly loved sports all my life. I have never seen "The Rookie" and not bawled like a baby. Just think -- an older guy gets the chance to pitch in the major leagues. Awesome. I'll never get that chance.
That's what made March sort of special at the Y. I've been lifting weights since late last year, and last month, I finally made the top-10 list! Of everyone who lifted last month, I ranked fifth overall in total weight at about 1.7 million pounds for the month. That's not all. I was ... drumroll, please ... FIRST in my 40+ age group.
It was the first time in my life where I had actually "ranked" in some sort of athletic enterprise. Yeah, I got a couple of Little League trophies for being on the team and I lettered in varsity football at good ol' DuPont. I got medals for completing the two 5Ks that I've done so far. EVERYBODY got 'em.
This is different. This is about lifting weight until it feels like my arms and legs are going to fall off. This is about heading to the Y even though every ounce of my being is telling me to stay home and take it easy. This is about those heart-breaking days in Houston and Talladega.
This is for me and my family.