My Olympic Dream

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

This morning I went for my morning walk on the wooded trail that runs behind the Old Huronia Regional Centre. You don’t get a body like this by sitting on your bum drinking Caesars all day, although I have done that too and may again if Mary will line up for me at the Liquor Store. I started at James Street planning to be in Newmarket by lunch time.

When I got to Woodland Avenue, a sign said I had already walked 3 kilometres. Not wanting to peak too soon on my road to physical and athletic perfection, I turned around and headed back. When I got to James Street again I realized I had walked 6 kilometres (6,000 metres) in exactly 60 minutes. Using an advanced form of mathematics which uses cosines, enzymes, Boolean Algebra, the Pythagorean Theorem and most of my fingers, I calculated I had been moving at a pace of close to 100 metres every 10 seconds. (I could show you the figures but you would never understand them and neither do I.) However if one allows for the wind from the upcoming American presidential campaign, trail conditions, and the fact it was windy and I was carrying an umbrella, I walked at close to 100 metres in 10.08 seconds and that, my friends, is fast.

I don’t know if you follow that sort of thing, but Usain Bolt’s world record for 100 metres is only 9.58 seconds. You can see I’m not that far off. I plan to start serious training to clip off that elusive half-second, even going so far as shaving my legs and wearing nylon compression shorts to cut down on drag.

It is amazing what goes through your mind when you are out walking alone. I find I do that most of the time now that my five day deodorant pad is a week and a half old. To keep the torrid pace I set for myself, I often whistle military marches under my breath. Normally the first one is the ever-popular, Bull—t, it makes the grass grow green, then Glenn Miller’s St. Louis Blues March, Bonnie Dundee and finally The March of the Wooden Soldiers from Laurel and Hardy’s Babes in Toyland. Occasionally however, I drift into other music and that very thing happened yesterday ― unfortunately.

I had somehow drifted into Pete Tchaikovsky’s ballet, Swan Lake, and was doing a pas de deux all by myself when two lady jog-persons passed me. They made the sign of the cross and took off on the dead run. By the time the police got there I was gone.

As I approach middle age, I’m just 82, (but what with global warming and the price of beer, I doubt I will live much more than another 30 or 40 years) I’ve noticed I have started to slow down just a bit. Not only that, the word somehow got out. Charlie Montoyo, the Blue Jay’s coach has put me on the permanently disabled list. The pitching coach, Pete Walker sent me a nice letter thanking me for being so patient while waiting for a call up, but has had to let me go because I can no longer throw a ball all the way to home plate. My basketball prowess, the one thing I counted on to build a career ended in my early 20s when I had yet to reach 5’6”. (I’m still waiting for the so-called teenage growth spurt.)

I considered trying to lawn bowl but found out I had to bend over. The bending over part is no problem, but bending back up requires a chiropractor and an anaesthetist standing by.

Olympic swimming, I suppose, could be an option but I learned to swim in an indoor pool at a tech school in East York where all the boys swam bare naked, so even wearing a Speedo I feel strangely overdressed. I never understood the nude bathing policy in schools in the 40s. From what I gather, boys’ swimsuits polluted the pools, yet girls’ suits were okay. That sounds a little odd to me. I suspect something sinister is afoot, like we are all on film and our tender bottoms will show up in a porn movie some night after 11 0’clock. It won’t be too exciting since the water was always ice-cold. Any close-ups will be a great disappointment for the ladies staying up to catch the late show.

That’s why I’m basing my athletic hopes on this Olympic sprinting business. I was too late for Sochi in Russia, but the Tokyo games are a year away. By then I hope to have shaved off that half-second and I can do it ― unless the hair on my legs grows back.

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