Nice guys really do finish last

to say I’m not as athletic as I used to be is kind of like a politician saying he’s not as honest as he used to be.

I

have to admit it. I’m not exactly the poster boy for fitness.

As Bob Hope once said, “Middle age is when your age starts showing up around your middle.” And now that I’m over 50 I bear a striking resemblance to the Pillsbury Doughboy.

When I was 10 I was so skinny you could have used me as a kite. By the time I was 13 my friends were already weightlifting and developing six-packs. I had a 24-pack. Two dozen ribs to be exact.

It’s not often someone asks a thirteen year-old to put on his shirt at the beach — but I’m sure mom had her reasons.

In Grade 8, our school was invited to participate in the all-city track and field championships.

Tryouts for the 100-yard dash were the next night after school. That afternoon our teacher told us about Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile.

Suddenly I realized that fate had stepped in. It was my destiny to break the three-minute mile! Visions of fame and fortune danced through my head.

Perhaps Lou-Anne Cutter, the sweetest girl in school, might actually notice me. Maybe I’d even get my face on a Wheaties box — although I preferred Cocoa Puffs. Still do!

With my new running shoes in tow, I was ready to make history. Luckily, there were only three other kids there.

Two were short, barely five feet tall, and the third was an obese twelve-year old. The coach took out his stopwatch and blew the whistle. I was off like a shot. My lungs ached and my legs burned but I was going to win the school championship! Halfway down the track I looked up and saw the two short kids crossing the finish line.

As I got down to the last ten feet there was a blur on my right. It was the fat kid. He beat me by a stomach length. They should have timed me with an hourglass.

I’m nothing if not an optimist. After reading a story about Arnold Palmer, I decided to give golf a try. My first time I hit the ball three hundred yards! Unfortunately, it was a three hundred yard slice sailing over the highway straight into a row of houses. The ball missed a picture window by about half an inch, ricocheting loudly off the siding. The owner came running out and yelled at the top of his lungs, “You stupid Smit!” How he knew my last name is still a mystery to me.

I finally found my sport in my late teens. It was tennis. With my longish hair and brand new beard I thought I looked like Bjorn Borg. Who knew, perhaps I’d beat him at Wimbledon some day and win the fair Lou-Anne’s heart.

The tennis club held a tournament that summer. I drew an accountant in his forties. “No sweat,” I thought. I’d just run him all over the court. Unfortunately, his serves came in at the speed of light. We were well into the last game before I accidentally made contact. I sent the ball so high I thought it had escaped the earth’s gravitational pull. It finally landed in the parking lot. I lost six-love. I didn’t bother calling Lou-Anne Cutter. That was the only love I was going to get.

Nowadays middle age has taken its toll. But to say I’m not as athletic as I used to be is kind of like a politician saying he’s not as honest as he used to be. Roughly translated, it means you can’t divide by zero.

Now where are those Cocoa Puffs?

Ray Smit’s column         appears regularly in

The NEWS.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Subject to successful grant funding, the City of Parksville will enter into an agreement with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island to operate a full complement of child, youth and family community services at the Parksville Community Centre in 2021. (BGCCVI photo)
City of Parksville to work with Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island

Mayor: “There is a critical shortage of childcare spaces in Parksville”

Cathy Stewart is currently the featured artist at the Qualicum Art and Supply Gallery, through the end of October. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Artist Cathy Stewart has paintings on display at two Qualicum Beach exhibits

‘With patience and determination you can do anything’

Jennifer Bate, executive director of Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre, visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: A chat with Jennifer Bate of Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre

Podcast: Discussion includes COVID-19 issues, singing in a rock band and more

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a woman who allegedly threw hot coffee on a McDonald’s employee. (News Bulletin photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP still looking for woman who threw coffee at worker after already receiving refund

Police asking for information in investigation that could lead to assault charges

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Sails down, masks up for Ron and Sherry Pryde, who completed a 119 day journey that was supposed to be 70 days. (Zoe Ducklow)
Coast Guard towed rudderless sailors to Port Hardy hours before a powerful storm

Rudderless for a month, the couple zigzagged most the way home with “a few donuts and lazy-eights”

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read