The other day, in 100-degree weather and without the comfort of shade, I was sweating like a fugitive on the basketball court. I was playing against a former high school teammate. We hadn’t played together in nearly a decade — and I swear there were two guys sitting comfortably under a large tree hoping for a story to tell.
We played for about 45 minutes, but it felt like several hours. We took breaks whenever possible. We grabbed our water bottles whenever possible. And we never denied one’s desire to sit underneath the trees whenever possible.
We felt slow and hot.
What made the situation even more impossible to accept was that we were playing with my teenage nephew, who’s probably at the peak of his athleticism. He didn’t sweat much. In fact, he had on two layers of clothing, saying that the extra shirt prevented him from sweating so much.
This is where I need to make a confession: I’m trying to reclaim my youth. Not the part that involves the prom or pimples or parties. I’m referring to reclaiming my athleticism, to recapture the enthusiasm I had when it came to just being an active human being. I’m trying. I really am. But it’s difficult when you’re older and all you want to do is watch TV with a soda to sip on during commercial breaks.
I remember being youthful and active. I remember waking up before 7 a.m., not taking a nap all day and going to bed with a huge smile — knowing I had accomplished as much as I could. Because in between those hours, I was doing things. Extraordinary things. I ran the mile in six minutes. I played a game of flag football during lunch. I stayed awake during my classes. I did suicide drills during practices. And I would sleep it off, only to do it again starting the next morning.
I still try to get the most out of each day, but it takes work. It doesn’t come naturally. I need to plan my day and, sometimes, my naps. It takes a lot of work. It’s not easy. But I try — and that’s all I can do.
As I’m getting older, I feel like I’m getting slower.
As I’m getting slower, I feel like I’m getting too comfortable.
But I’m trying. I really am.
Back to the pickup basketball game ... It was myself and my nephew versus my friend and his brother. It was the hottest point of the day. I lured these guys to play because I thought by this time the trees would provide shade. Instead, it was like playing in Phoenix at 3 p.m.
I tried. I really did, but my nephew was doing all the work.
But one day, he’ll have this feeling, too.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.