Liberal Arts Blog — Lifting Rocks, Uprooting Saplings, Hitting Targets
Liberal Arts Blog — Saturday is the Joy of Sports, Dance, Fitness, and All Things Physical Day
Today’s Topic — Lifting Rocks, Uprooting Saplings, Hitting Targets
The theme of the month is digging back into my earliest memories related to the theme of the day, in this case “all things physical.” The exercise led me to some forgotten corners. As a child aged 4 or 5, I loved the mystery of woods. I loved exploring alone. I loved testing my strength by lifting rocks and uprooting saplings. I loved snapping branches. I wanted to be Hercules. And I loved throwing things — rocks, acorns, clumps of dirt using trees as targets. What are your earliest memories related to sports, dance, fitness, and all things physical? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
WEIGHT LIFTING AGE 12–14 — too young?
1. My father had been a boxer in the Romanian army during World War II. We did calisthenics together for a while.
2. At age 12 we went to a sports store to buy a full set of free weights.
3. I would do a half-hour a day of lifting 3 days a week. By age 14 I was doing a hundred pounds in a primitive version of the clean and jerk. Charles Atlas was my hero.
NB: That was my weight lifting peak. I broke my leg playing soccer that year and would never resume lifting.
THE MOST HUMILIATING MOMENT OF MY CHILDHOOD
1. My father also introduced me to tennis. I never learned proper form. But I had reasonable success against most opponents because of doggedness and speed.
2. And then I entered my first tournament. In the first round, I encountered a kid I had played countless times before and had never dropped a game.
3. I was ahead 6–0, 5–0, 40 love.
NB: And I lost. My arm had turned to over-cooked spaghetti. And so ended my tennis career.
RACING CARS DOWN WISCONSIN AVENUE
1. My first bike was a bright red Hercules. The cheaper brand. I dreamed of one day owning a Raleigh, to me the Rolls Royce of bicycles.
2. My favorite thing was racing cars down Wisconsin Avenue, a block a way from my home on Garfield Street.
3. I would line up at the street light with a Pontiac, Oldsmobile, or Chevy and see how long I could stay ahead of it. Could I make it to the next intersection?
NB: Another fond bicycle memory — getting a basket to put newspapers in for my afternoon newspaper delivery route, the highlight of which was stealing apples and cherries from trees along my path.
Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to sports, dance, fitness. Or the coolest thing you learned about Sports, Dance, of Fitness in your life — whether on the field, on the dance floor or in the gym, whether from a coach, a parent, a friend, or just your own experimentation.
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or even change their life. It’s perhaps a chance to put into words something you have never articulated before. And to cement in your own memory something cool you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.