I played baseball for Ripon College; I was a pitcher. And even though I didn't get a lot of what you would call "game action," Coach would occasionally put me out there. This typically happened when we were down by at least 10 runs. They called me "The White Flag." Anyway, I recall that when I pitched, I would usually wake up the next morning and feel some pain in my elbow and/or shoulder. This is typical for pitchers--it's why you see Major Leaguers wrapping half a dozen bags of ice around their arms after a start. Now, I am currently a baseball coach, and one of the requirements of that job is that I throw a lot of batting practice. These days, I never feel any pain. My arm, at this stage of my career, is for all intents and purposes made of rubber. I can throw 200 pitches one night and not feel a thing the next day. However, on Saturday night, I had my first experience with a Nintendo Wii. At a friend's daughter's birthday party, we broke it out and boxed and bowled, played tennis, baseball, and golf. Two days later, my arms still feels like it's hanging by a thread.
Now, some might suggest that it is the Wii experience that indicates that I'm getting old. It's not true. When you use muscles, they're supposed to get sore. The pain I feel from Saturday night reminds me of the pain I used to feel in college, which makes me feel like I'm still roughly college-age. It's the lack of pain after batting practice that makes me feel like my dad. And these kinds of paradoxes, which are becoming increasingly common, have me wondering how old I really am. I mean, my birth certificate says I'm 27, but I know a lot of 27-year-olds (some, at least), and I think I'm older than they are. Maybe I'm like the reverse one of those Cuban refugees who gets drafted into the Major Leagues but won't tell anyone his real age. I tell everyone I'm 27, but I'm wrong--I just don't know it.
According to the Kerstens' Wii, I'm 45, and that sounds much more accurate. Evidence:
1) I have had the same grown-up job for 5 years.
2) I have been married for almost 5 years.
3) I am in the process of selling a home and...
4) ...building a new home.
5) I have a 2-year-old.
7) I complain about my knees and my back a lot.
8) I run like the guys I used to laugh at when I was in high school--sort of a hobble-jog.
9) I wear ties.
10) I have a tax-sheltered annuity.
11) I'm thinking about getting a physical, and it doesn't have anything to do with organized sports. I just want to make sure everything is doing what it's supposed to be doing.
12) I watch HGTV and the Food Network. A lot.
13) I teach Sunday School.
14) I went to a party on Saturday night, but it involved singing "Happy Birthday" and a playing with a Playskool basketball hoop. Plus my son ate half of my cheeseburger.
Does that sound like a 27-year-old to you? Should that list include things like "I buy my clothes at Urban Outfitters," or "I just got a sweet new plasma TV for my apartment"?
Still, with the possible exception of my knee problems (I think we're basically just talking about bone-on-bone down there) and my infuriating back (someday soon I don't think I'll be able to get out of the car without help), I wouldn't trade any of it. My kid, my wife, my job--they're all awesome. And Saturday night's party was way more fun than standing in some club screaming over the techno music. Heck, they even had cake. And not to sound like an old man, but real estate is always a good investment, and it's really a buyer's market.