My friend Daniel challenged me last week to a footrace to be held the night before the Citadel game at Hooker Field. I do not remember the circumstances that brought about the challenge. I must have provoked him with a fork.
Daniel studies exercise physiology in graduate school and reads books on the human body for fun. He recently personalized his studies and lost 20 pounds of what he considered extra weight. As his friend, I did not notice the weight loss. I thought he looked like a healthy, hefty man before and after. He will hate me when he reads that. To be fair, he and Ryan have made accurate assessments of my own health.
"You looked like you weighed nothing," Ryan and Daniel have said about my physical state in Charlotte, something even I was worried about at the time. I once wrote a long list of all my Charlotte health problems; losing 20 pounds was at the top of the list. I did not look good. When your friends tell you that you have or had a problem, they are always correct.
My adolescent years taught me to hate being skinny, so I lifted weights through college. I had a relatively heavy muscle weight and felt good about it. Then I taught and shriveled up until I had the physique of a high school math teacher.
Anyway, I am happy Daniel lost weight if he thought it was an important thing to do. I suppose everyone sees themselves in a more unfavorable light than the people they know. Maybe that is nature's insurance policy on self preservation. Others know the truth, but the self lies.
Daniel might be the second healthiest person I know, and he is without doubt healthier than me. I suspect I am on the road to hypertension and heart disease while my body hides the symptoms. Daniel grows vegetables out of the ground and eats them. No, I am not kidding.
But I doubt Daniel is faster than me. He certainly was neither fast nor coordinated in college. He once halted a sanctioned game of inner tube water polo after he fell out of his tube and could not get back in. The other team did not have to stop playing its plus-one advantage to watch him struggle, but they did. He tired of the exercise after a couple minutes and climbed out of the pool to try to jump onto the tube. No, it did not work. He later let rip a string of expletives about inner tubes that he only matched when later losing a game of Nintendo's RBI Baseball.
Back to the race. At first I was intrigued that Daniel thought he could beat me in this 100-yard dash, and then I started to think he might. Many of our friends think he is the outright favorite. Only one person picked me. The question is whether his offensive-lineman legs have limbered enough to catch up to my digressing speed.
The horse race fan in me sees this as a betting opportunity, but I have not seen any official money on the table. I will not put any money down. I will approach the race like a horse. I will prance around before the race. I will run like hell during the race. But really I want to eat some food afterward.
Given this attitude and Daniel's license to kill after he reads this, he will probably have the odds. That means the big money bet will be on me, a guy whose New Year's resolution was to cancel his gym membership. But that same guy always had the green light after reaching first base for Libertyville High before he broke his face like the bad ass he was. Speed kills.