Reliving My Youth

My right knee is throbbing, my shins are swollen and both feet are sore. Why? I joined a few friends on Sunday and played soccer for a couple of hours. It’s been about a year since I’d played, and much, much longer since I played regularly. Let’s just say it’s a little harder now than when I was in my mid 20s playing a few times a week.

I blame it on field conditions. In my youth, I distinctly remember that all soccer fields were mowed very, very short. I was able to run for hours without getting tired, could cut on a dime (OK, maybe a quarter) and I never experienced any type of pain whatsoever, except for those times when you had to make a defensive wall and would inevitably absorb a kick in some place where you didn’t want to be kicked. But the field that I played on must have certainly had long, long grass, because I couldn’t move very fast, and I was nearly instantly exhausted from the merest amount of play.

Yeah. Must have been the long grass.

The afternoon of soccer in what seemed like oppressive heat was a big reminder that I’m getting older. I’m not as good at sports as I was as a younger man. I am, however, considerably better at post sport celebration.

After the game, my buddies and I crawled off to Mark’s house for much needed refreshment. “You really polished off that beer quickly,” Mark marveled. “I think I was dehydrated,” I said. Beer is mostly water, right?

Not long after the beer, it was time for a cigar. I chose a Montecristo Petit Edmundo, which never seems to disappoint. The robusto-sized smoke was rich, loaded with coffee bean notes and fairly full bodied—just what the doctor ordered. (I think Olympic soccer players recover from stressful games using the same beer-cigar method that I employed, but I could be mistaken.)

So I’m resigned to the fact that I’m older, slower and far less able to run around without causing my body considerable pain. But at least I’m now proficient in how to relax.

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