Sunday, March 6, 2011

Much too young... er, old

Nearly 20 years ago, Garth Brooks recorded a song called I'm Much Too Young (to Feel This Damn Old). I remember many times between then and now, especially trying to get out of bed in the morning, when the song seemed all too appropriate. But in the weekend just ending...

I'm much too old to feel this damn young.

I really got out and played this weekend. On Saturday, in my new capacity as Hash Chef (actually, this just involves getting munchies for the pack), I horsed an enormous amount of pretzels, tortilla chips, cookies, more cookies, bread, and peanut butter across the river to the beautiful big park next to the National Museum of Korea. Then we had a really nice hash run down along the river and a great circle afterward.

When I got home I had email from my friend Nikki, our school's art teacher, that she and her husband Dex would be in Citizen's Forest Park in our neighborhood if I'd like to play Frisbee. So I rode my brand new used bike (which replaced my late lamented purloined bike) over there to see them and their three-month-old son Loku. I played Frisbee golf with them (well, the two older ones) and even a little hacky sack. I'd never actually played Frisbee golf before and hadn't touch a hacky sack in 30 years. I'm no Nikki with the footbag (she played soccer in college, not very many years ago) but I managed not to humiliate myself.

My South African friend LesBalls (okay... Lesley; the other's her hash name) had cricket gear sent to her and she's trying to start up a cricket club. Her first event was today, Sunday, in the big long park on our side of the river. I took the subway up there and found her along with her friend Jane, who'd just flown in from Johannesburg.

Now, I'd never played cricket before, but felt eminently qualified because I saw a game in England... um, 35 years ago. We took turns batting and bowling (pitching) and fielding, and, frankly, I did okay. I actually made a nice one-handed, knee-high catch and knocked some runs (or however you say it).

 Me. (Artist's rendering)

The park was crowded with people playing catch, flying kites, walking dogs, and so on, and most of them (though not the dogs) seemed interested in what we were doing. At one point, a couple of Korean men came over and one said something in Korean in which we could catch the word "cricket". Yes, we said, it's cricket, and one guy threw his hands up and roared in laughter. He told us in halting English that he'd bet his friend what we were doing was cricket and he'd won 100 Won. (That's eight cents American; often Koreans and Westerners get their monetary amounts mixed up-- maybe he meant 1000 or 10000 or 100000 Won.)

And then, as Sunday is long run day in my training for the half-marathon in five weeks, I ran home. Actually, the park was only five miles or so from home, so I had to put in some extra time on the Yangjae Cheon.

So... I ran and partied with the hash, played Frisbee golf and hacky sack, played cricket, and ran; that's a lot of recreation for a :: koff :: mature gentleman such as myself, but I felt young. Aside, of course, from my knees (from pounding on the sidewalk) and my back (from bending over so much playing cricket... I'm not 55 anymore, you know.) But it feels really good.

Till tomorrow morning, when it will take 16 ibuprofen, a winch, and a wizard to get me out of bed. Then I'll be just a tiny bit too young to feel so damn old.

But it was worth it.

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