It’s not something I get particularly morose about. I mean figure that all things being equal I’ve got at least another 40 or 50 years left, minimum. More if technology keeps up. So while 40 is a pretty big milestone I don’t spend a lot of time bending under the weight of middle age.
We had a good, low key weekend but several things happened to reminded I’m a man and no longer a young man, boyish good looks aside.
Bacon Planet suffered a pretty big loss but the boys on the team seemed unfazed. At one point the other team ran a fake reverse and broke off a 30 yard run on us. The defense trotted back to the huddle. I was kneeling down with all the kids around me when CP, a fast little guy who plays one of our ends, and who totally bit on the fake, put an arm around my shoulder, cocked his head to one side and said, with complete sincerity, “Boy, I did not see that coming.”
Everyone in the huddle, myself included, broke up laughing.
He followed it up with, “Hey, why is there grey in your beard?”
“Because I am old,” I said.
“How old are you?” asked V, the tall Indian kid who plays our other end.
“I’m almost forty,” I said.
“My dad is 46,” said CP.
“Well,” I said, “he’s a lot older than me. You guys want to play football?”
They did. We broke the huddle.
The kids are so young.
We have a medal to give out every week, based on whatever the theme was. This week the theme was teamwork and we gave it to TM, a kid who is probably our least naturally gifted player. He makes up for it by being a font of relevant knowledge on just about any subject and constantly cheering and giving pep talks, the latter of which are always amusingly on point and effective. Before the game on Saturday, the boys were all speculating what it would look like if they were ballerina football players. It was funny to everyone but TM, who suddenly yelled, “ENOUGH! LOOK AT ME! EVERYONE SHOW ME YOUR EYES!”
Show me your eyes is what I say when I want their attention. Everyone on the team stopped pirouetting and stared at TM in surprise.
“We are not ballerinas!” he raged at his teammates. He’s got a bit of a speech issue. It did not deter him. “We are dirty, tough, mean, bruised, tight fisted football players! We don’t dance around, we run and smack into people. WE ARE VICIOUS!”
After the game, when we handed the medal to him and his teammates clapped I saw him look down, take a deep breath, and then try, with the courage of an eight year old, to not cry. It was pretty great.
He was jazzed as hell when someone explained to him he didn’t ever have to give the medal back.
Later on during the weekend T1 and I worked out at the gym. Actually T1, T2 and I played basketball for a while, during which time I whipped T1 at horse, and then T1 and I worked out.
He’s six feet tall now, still looks like Will Smith, and his getting fairly athletic. He wanted to do box jumps, which he had seen on television and which are exactly what they sound like. I agreed.
I’ve done a lot of box jumps in my time. I used to be quite the jumper. I could dunk a basketball in 8th grade. My freshman year of high school I long jumped twenty feet two inches. I could stand flatfooted in the kitchen and jump up onto the counter. So, jumping was no big thing.
And it still wasn’t. He and I took turns doing sets of twenty jumping up onto a three foot box. I could hang with him easily. We had a good time.
Later though…my knees. Good God my knees. Really, the left one. Not debilitating, but sore. My knees never used to get sore. I’m not sure when this happened.
I spent the rest of the afternoon on our back deck, reading. I was comfortable. Jeans. Sweatshirt. House slippers, something I have taken to wearing when it’s just too cold for bare feet. At some point our next door neighbors decided to have a get together. C sent me to the liquor store to pick up some moonshine, a delightful beverage that’s having something of a renaissance and which we’ve been drinking a bit of lately.
So I drove to the liquor store, on a Sunday afternoon, in my house slippers, to buy moonshine. Yes, I am from Kentucky, why do you ask?
As I stood at the counter paying for my purchases, my eyes were drawn to the sign above the register. The sign had a date and explained that you couldn’t buy alcohol if you were born after it.
It occurred to me that in about a month, people born on the day I graduated from high school with be able to legally purchase booze.
I went back to the shelf and bought a second jar of moonshine.