I was looking at a slightly larger guy in the mirror last night. Sweat poured down a maroon t-shirt emblazed with a tacky saying from a particular brand of rum that the author is fond of. The time was a little after 8pm as my son would be playing with the few kids left in the well-stocked child care area of the gym (seriously, back when I was a kid you were lucky to play with a full inflated ball now you get ball crawls, computers, movies, they probably have live entertainment there too), it is time to pick up the aging, hurting body for parental duties. On the left was a women in her mid-forties who's sports bra and pant set looked like she ran face first into a cotton candy machine, the peppy lead trainer with short blonde hair, perfectly filling her sleek black warm-up gear was chatting non-stop while massaging her female client on the cushioned tables.
Why was I sitting cross-legged on the green yoga-like mat doing stretching exercising like 17 years ago when the lanky 120 pound kid with zero self-esteem was warming up to throw a few innings for the Osseo Orioles the next day? Just staring at the guy in the reflection who's grey hairs have started to form on the left side of his chin, why are you doing this? Well kid, you never tried. Maybe once, making that leap from the soft, velet blanket of home, Minnesota, friends, parents and shoving off to a college where your economic and social background were so vastly different you never had a chance. The academic part was easy, too easy that you slipped into a shot glass every other night, and instead of learning the lessons of life you figured out how to cut lime dead drunk without missing digits afterwards.
But this is now. Now we're going outside that comfort zone again, this time it's not a big-time Pac-10 school surrounded by Sigma Chi alpha males and 22 year old freshman with a chip on their overgrown egos. We're not sitting on the couch figuratively or realistically, going to the gym, getting an education, doing more at work, and most of all being more active with the kids and wife. No longer are the ties to staring blankly at a computer screen night after night, but doing so with a purpose. Like tonight's late-night poker binge that I save for every Thursday, it has a reason.
Stress relief. Chat with friends unseen except via their blogs and twitter. Hey, maybe even make a few bucks like this guy who won a bracelet race or play Al in heads-up PLO and get swore at for a good half hour while tipping back my favorite beverage.
No more "I can't" and more "I'll try" or "I'll do", much like accepted the biggest poker writing assignment to date for myself starting May 2nd at the PokerStarsBlog for SCOOP. This will be a test of juggling school, work, and testing my family how they'll function with a guy sitting in his green flannel pajamma bottoms emblazed with fuzzy dice and four leaf clovers with the broken elastic waistband describing how a check-raise eliminated 5th place for $24,589.31 while the sun creeps up through the porch's windows. They did it before during the maddness of live blogging the WCOOP when things weren't looking good for a 10 year wedding anniversary, they'll do it this time not for the money, but for better reasons.
Because they like seeing me truly happy for the first time in my life (and I'd be even happier if I get a degeneracy pass to skip off to the WSOP this summer for a weekend of Pai Gow, lifting sullen bloggers spirits, and hang out with those friendships I value greatly...).
[Side Note: Here's a must read from Big Pirate. Inspired writing on faith.]