Editor’s note: Dennis Wyatt is on vacation. This column first appeared on Aug. 15, 2012.
It was one of those twilight zone moments.
I was at a high school reunion. I had just greeted an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in 22 or so years.
Mike Murphy, a four-sport athlete who went on to become the Lincoln High Zebras’ head basketball coach, greeted me and without missing a beat said, “You look like the only one who has kept his athleticism.”
He wasn’t drinking so he must have been delusional.
Describing me as an “athlete” is akin to calling Charlie Sheen a disciple of Gandhi. I’m not even close.
There was a reason I was always the last one picked for teams in PE.
I never got offended in high school when kids in PE said I threw like a girl. If I could have thrown a baseball that well it would have been a vast improvement.
My one season shot at playing Little League proved grown men do cry. My coach had the patience of Job and then some. He was whooping it up the one time when I finally got on base — by walking.
My basketball shooting skills — of that’s what you could call them — aren’t much better.
I could not tie my shoes until I was in the fifth grade. The den mother I had the one year I was in Cub Scouts took the better part of five months to get me to the point I could semi tie a knot.
I still had training wheels on my bicycle in the first grade. Worse yet, I’d fall off the bike while riding it up and down the alley. A neighbor — Roy Gardner — made fun of me telling me that I was a klutz. I ran crying to my mom who told me that Mr. Gardner had it all wrong. I wasn’t a klutz. I was simply lopsided. I remember running back across the alley and telling Mr. Gardner that I wasn’t a klutz because my mom said I was lopsided. He busted out laughing. Let’s just say that has been the reaction many a times to my attempts at doing simple “athletic” endeavors.
Then there was the time in my 20s when a couple of Roseville businessmen had a bet between them that one of them could teach me to play golf. After three holes, the pro at Sierra View Country Club came out and asked me politely to please leave the course. I wasn’t embarrassed. I was relieved.
And in my early 30s when I shed 130 pounds a lady I was dating thought because I bicycled 300 miles a week and did aerobics six days a week that entering a doubles tennis tournament would be the perfect thing to do together. I did fine if not connecting the racquet with the ball more than four-fifths of the time is fine.
She thought we should try bowling. It was definitely good for the ego as in her ego. In 20 games the best I ever managed was 50.
I jog weird. My form in group exercise classes would give Shayn T. — the creator of the Insanity workout — nightmares.
Make made an honest mistake. I may indeed be fit and healthy but that doesn’t square with being athletic by a long shot.
I’m not complaining. My resting heart rate often drops below 50 and at age 56 I’ve never been in better shape in my life.
But having said that, when it comes to athletic skills I make Barney Fife look like an Olympic contender.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.