rubber road to nowhere


Today marks a week since I joined the gym.

When it comes to exercise, I can think of at least fourteen other things I would rather do than walk or run or do sit-ups. But I am about three and a half months away from my completing my fiftieth year on the planet and I would rather weigh four times my age on my birthday than weigh five times my age, which is where I am now. Years ago, when I was in seminary, I went waterskiing with my roommate Burt and his family. His granddad was driving the boat and he almost drowned me because the motor wasn’t big enough to get me out of the water. He turned to Burt and said, “He’s a big ol’ boy!”

I still am.

I went to the gym this morning and spent about forty-five minutes on the treadmill and stationary bicycle, which is good for me. I punched the “cardio” button on the treadmill so it made sure my heart rate was where it needed to be. To keep from fixating on the digital clock telling me how much longer I had to go, I watched the television screen in front of me (and I thought about the kids in the grocery carts). One of the side effects of going to the gym is I am going to be more conversant about sports than I have been in years. The two viewing choices I had were ESPN and a soap opera. I opted for Sports Center and am on my way to being semi-informed about any number of things I don’t find particularly interesting or know much about.

One of the things they have talked about incessantly is Fantasy Football. Though I’ve heard people talk about it enough to know lots of people play and it has something to do with picking teams, I can’t say I understand it. (And please don’t feel like you need to explain it to me; I’m good.) Twice this week I’ve heard a commentator articulate one of his twenty-five rules for Fantasy Football. Number 18 was “Mike Shanahan hates you” and Number 19 was “The preseason means nothing.” Neither comment was particularly helpful to me.

Last week at work, it was slow and I walked around to the pub to talk to the bartender for a bit. He was watching something called the World Sports Stacking Championship on ESPN. We were both intrigued as we watched kids – I mean ten and eleven year olds – stack cups faster than, well; watch the video of the world champion. (The announcer is annoying, but hang in there.) Now these are kids who are doing more than watching TV in the grocery store. Chris and I talked about the kind of concentration, determination, and focus it took for these kids to get to where they could stack the cups as fast as they did. My guess is it’s pretty good developmentally for them as well.

When I see stuff like that, my mind gravitates to thinking about the kind of practice involved. It took hours and hours for Emily to get where she could stack those cups in less than eight seconds. Mastering the skills can’t be much more interesting than walking on a rubber road to nowhere for thirty minutes. I just need a taste of her determination to walk until the pounds starting falling off. And besides, if I keep practicing, maybe I’ll be as good as these guys.

Check out the video below.

OK Go, Dancing on Treadmills



  1. Welcome to the world of the treadmill. Sometimes I row too.

    I always bring something to read. You can only watch SportsCenter so many times – say, once – before it starts repeating itself until the next news cycle…

    Good for you, Milton, and good luck!

  2. Best of luck with the new regimen, Milton. And many thanks for the Dancing on Treadmills video link, which cheered me up enormously.

  3. Now that was way cool,especially that little skating move. I’m forwarding it to everyone I can think of who needs to be cheered up.

    Milton, once you start seeing (and feeling) results at the gym you will be so jazzed, that in and of itself will keep you going. I am the world’s most unathletic person, and finally finding a place where I could work out at my own pace without feeling like a dork has helped me make some real progress. You can do this!!!! Maybe headphones and your favorite upbeat music would help.

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