The Wide Angle: The near constant whining of the unathletic

Published 4:25 am Sunday, August 6, 2017

“What are you doing?” Hunter Guyette yelled out across the field after Luke Hawkshead barreled past me for the fourth-straight time. “You’re supposed to watch his hips!”

Fine advice, except in my limited state of athletic accomplishment, I only had a split second to try and find the target before Luke was past me. Such is the state of physical circumstances these days.

Also it doesn’t help when I’m trying to fight the emotional trauma of having my shortcomings shouted at me by a high school football player. Pride cometh before the hard, hard fall.

Email newsletter signup

This was the second challenge myself and sports writer Rocky Hulne competed in and by far it had much more impact on how athletically limited I am these days. It also didn’t help that I broke the rules of Kris Dutton, friend and athletic trainer for the school, has for keeping hydrated.

Apparently, coffee doesn’t replace water and food and I paid for it in a big way.

Rocky, to his credit, came out of the blocks ready for athletic achievement. He ran the routes quarterback Tate Hebrink gave him and defended as best as he could against Hawkshead. He drank what he was supposed to that morning and ate the proper nutrients. He even runs every day.

Where as I had all the misguided reasoning of a man who didn’t fall during the softball challenge, which admittedly is a low bar. I mean, yeah, I ran the bases — for whatever reason – and I came out no worse the wear. Tori Gardner never even hit me which at the time she did give me a rather boisterous, “Maybe” when I asked if she would hit me.

So probably I came into this with maybe too high of an opinion of myself.

Rocky did his first which yeah, I laughed as first Hawkshead and then Guyette ran around and through him with relative ease, but he was still in position to at least look like he could make a play.

Now make no mistake on this next part because this is not bragging about my skills in any way.

I caught two passes. Accomplishment yes, but ugly accomplishment.

The first catch was a horrible mistake where I couldn’t follow the simple instructions by Hebrink and Guyette might have jumped the route a little thinking I was going to do something I should have, which didn’t.

Still, with me, good.

I ran in a 15-yard touchdown and hammed it up sufficiently. After all that was one thing I thought I would not do.

However, and this it is a big HOWEVER, the second pass I caught was ugly in every sense of the word ugly which will now show my picture in the dictionary in future printings next to the word “ugly.”

I could tell you I made a diving catch, but in reality is an abstract lesson in buffoonery where the dive was actually more of an aging man falling forward too much and falling on the ball like a wet sack of flower, skidding along the artificial turf.

That earned me a nice, long turf burn which will now be the subject of the rest of this column.

The wound earned, I think suitably, approval from the rest of the football team that had lined up to watch the circus. At the time I knew it would be bad, but I’m a professional in the art of manliness so I smiled and walked it off.

At home, after this had been all wrapped up, I cleaned it out, washed it and tried really hard not to cry like a five-year-old.

The pain was immense and over the next few days caused me no end of irritation and still does even as I write this a full five days later. It’s ugly, red and stings when I move my knee a certain way. I still try make it seem like it isn’t that big of a deal but when nobody is looking I hobble, grunt and even whine a little.

It’s not manly, but I’m slowly coming to terms with this.

I hope you looked in the sports section today and read Rocky’s column on the experience. For the second straight time we had a blast with high school athletes even though, in my dreams, I’m haunted by Guyette’s chaffing words, “What are you doing?”

Aging Hunter. Aging.