Category Archives: Sports and Exercise

Life lessons from watching sports (golf, hockey, baseball, curling) and from being active (walking, hiking).

Fit at 70 – Update #1


In May 2016, I launched an exercise program:

  • Focusing on being fit (or fitter) at 70
  • Committing to reporting every six months (or more often if, you know, some big improvement warranted that)

Ta da.  Or not.   Continue reading

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Filed under Sports and Exercise

Sucky Timing, Sound Advice

I watch in horror as my errant curling rock careens through the house.  Before I threw my shot we’d been lying two; now, our opponents are lying three.  Yikes.  Did I really do that?


I look up to see my father on his feet, gesturing at me through the glass to meet him at the door onto the ice.  I jog down to see what he wants to tell me.  Maybe he has some way I can recall my last shot.

Nope.  Continue reading

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Filed under Politics and Policy, Sports and Exercise

Splish, Splash

The waves are always against me, even on an out-and-back route.

Recent day trips from Ottawa to White Lake and to Meech Lake (better known, perhaps, for its eponymous constitutional accord than for my kayaking adventures) have reminded me of this and similar lessons learned over the last eight years.

Red and yellow kayak; woman sitting therein, on bright, sunny day.

There are the actual kayaking lessons.

Wake from big boats is best faced head on.

Wake from really big boats is best faced hanging onto another kayak.

There are the nature lessons.

When seen from a kayak, loons are surprisingly big: much bigger than ducks, for example.  Unlike ducks, they don’t so much dive as submerge, disappearing quietly below the waves like a submarine, only to emerge periscope-like, boosted smoothly to the surface by some unseen force, a ridiculous distance away.

When found in a kayak, deer flies are remarkably difficult to kill, and killed they must be, since it’s pretty much them or me and they’re unresponsive to a discouraging word.  Difficult to kill, I say, at least while maintaining said kayak upright.  Regrettably, deer flies are found all too often in kayaks, since they can find an unguarded ankle even well offshore and in a stiff breeze.

There are the personal lessons.

It can be OK to sit in a puddle for an hour or so, as long as the puddle is lake or river water, taken onboard by my superior paddling technique.

And there are the lessons that could be inspirational posters, if only I had suitable photographs.

Like this . . .

Adversity and Privilege:
I notice only the wind in my face,
not the wind at my back.

Or this . . .

Kayaks are like life:
The scariest part is getting in and out.

But for all I’ve learned, I still don’t know why the waves are always against me.


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Filed under Sports and Exercise

Getting in Shape

“You don’t get in shape for baseball by playing it.”

As I watch the right outfielder trot back to his normal position, I chew that over for a minute or two.  We’d just been treated to one of those insane bursts of speed that outfielders are called upon to make, from time to time, without much warning.  They go from idling to flat-outting in less time than it takes me to squint and say, “Where is it?”

But outfielders aren’t thinking about where the ball is.  Once in motion, they’re charging—not towards some predetermined, agreed-upon, clearly marked spot, but towards some rendezvous point that exists only in their mind’s eye view of their future desired state.  To some point where the ball will be, or so they hope, based on a trajectory calculation undergoing real-time updates as the wind plays with the ball’s flight.   Continue reading

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Filed under Sports and Exercise

Poor Mike

Since 2007, I have felt badly for Mike Weir more often than not: That’s the last year he won a golf tournament. He’s been in contention a few times, but always came up short. Through that period, he’s missed the cut more often than he’s made it: In 2012, his worst year, he entered only 14 tournaments and missed the cut in all of them.

I’ve listened sadly as commentators talked about his recurring injuries and of how his average size works against him in the game as it is today: He’s only 5 feet 9 inches in a sport now showcasing guys who are well over 6 feet. I’ve agonized on his behalf as he withdrew from tournaments, lost his Tour card, and started an indefinite leave of absence this year. Had he finally given up on the game?   Continue reading

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Filed under Sports and Exercise