Thursday, April 20, 2006

Old Wrestlers

Spring is in the air! There are definite signs evidencing its arrival, such as a barrage of amplified bird songs outside my bedroom window just before dawn, crocus stubbornly poking up through the snow in Laurie's carefully made flower beds and excess male hormones displayed by some of us with frost on our melons. This last, obnoxious rite of spring and manhood came to light when Laurie and I attended the Moab Invitational Volleyball Tournament. We took our daughters Alyssa and McKale; along with Steve and Jana's redheaded wonder-child, Kira, to help their teams bump, set and spike their way to victory.

The Wrestlers

During a break in the action, I interrupted my frantic pacing and thoughtfully positive comments to refresh my vocal cords with caffeine and rest up for the next round. My daughters find my exaggerated support rather embarrassing, but I am sure they will grow to appreciate it with time. Ignoring my wife's disapproving look, I plopped down next to her. She was sitting next to a friend of hers that I used to esteem for her compassionate and soft spoken nature. Jody smiled sweetly, said hello and then baited me with a comment that went something like, "Have you heard that our alma-mater, dear old San Juan High School, is sponsoring an old-timers wrestling match to raise money for the team? You and your brothers should enter it, you are all old wrestlers!"

Laurie snorted with laughter, and a mischievous look came into her eyes. I knew I was about to pay the price for my vocal indiscretions when she said, "The sponsors must have an age limit and a precautionary mental cap to keep the participants from hurting themselves. I realize older men generally lack judgment and are too proud to admit that their lack of conditioning may permanently cripple them, both mentally and physically." Then came a string of derogatory comments from the two women, "Anyone who would enter such an event would certainly already be mentally unbalanced. They would have to up the weight categories, drop the 98 to 180 lb. weight groups and start at 200 lbs. as their lightweight division. Those singlets the boys wear would be totally unsuited for older men, can you imagine? Talk about a sore sight for good eyes!"

It didn't take long before my fragile ego was battered beyond recognition. I was highly insulted and could no longer endure their misguided sense of humor. So, I stood up, shot them a look of disdain, hitched up my britches, squared my shoulders, puffed out my chest and exited their presence. The very next day I went online and ordered the new workout program I had been contemplating. The Beachbody System promised a beneficial workout structure and support system that, if diligently practiced, would provide the fit and toned body I desired. I felt it was time to pick up the pace; the three aerobic, weight routines I had been doing each week were simply not enough to silence the critics.

As soon as I received my copy of the Beachbody System in the mail, I went to four strenuous workouts a week, attacking them with a passion. It didn't take long, however, before I blew a gasket, causing distorted vision and requiring a visit to our local optometrist, Dr. Kirk. The good doctor became greatly concerned, and directed my dear wife to immediately deliver me to the retina specialist in Provo or suffer the consequences. Laurie was not amused! A hurried trip through one of the rare snowstorms of the season and a shot in the eye later, I was returned home and restricted to a maximum load limit of 50 lbs. for the rest of my days. Visions of a buff body and a senior division wrestling championship dissipated before my wounded eye.

Walking into the trading post the next morning, I found Steve with one hand massaging his aching neck and the other holding his hip in place. It seems he had been wrestling with Grange and Tarrik's coach, which had resulted in an S curve in his spine. He spoke of how he believed whatever speed and agility he was once blessed with had fled the scene. As we were lamenting our woes, Steve's wife, Jana, and our big brother, Craig, walked into the store and began giving us grief about our relative lack of intelligence concerning the condition our condition was in.

Because of his criticism, we quickly ganged up on Craig, suggesting he put his Buddha build to good use and enter the Sumo division of the old-timers wrestling league. He became quite agitated, and threatened to whip us both on the spot if we didn't shape up and back off. Jana, who is famous for finding creative T-shirts, said she was going to order two of those Super Man shirts and add some selective statements just for us. On Steve's shirt, Jana was going to have the S printed on the backside and say something like "Caution Sharp Curves and Unstable Conditions Ahead"; for me "Stupid is as Stupid Does!" The discussion got rather ugly until our associate Priscilla waded in, swinging her broom and sending us all scampering for cover like the juveniles we had become.

It has been a hard won lesson, but I believe the Simpson Brothers have finally conceded our wrestling days are over. We have been forced to move on and move over so the next generation can find their place in the sporting world. With our profound advice, and their mothers' intervention, they should accomplish much. Our new slogan is "Our springs have sprung, our chests have fell, winter's here and life is . . . . Well, you get the picture!

With warm regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team.

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