Basketball hoop (

Basketball hoop (

Ben’s Blog | Functional Athleticism no match for COVID-19

Anyone that knows me will also know that I love sports. Hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, football, racquet sports, golf and pretty much anything else. If you can name it, I’ll play it or watch it.

I used to play hockey and baseball at a high level when I was younger until a few knee surgeries made the decision to go to university an easy one. At school I didn’t really go to the gym, and I’d be the first to admit that my diet was heavy on the Kraft Dinner and ramen noodles while at the same time being very light on all things green.

Still, I held my own at intramural sports and men’s soccer. I had functional athleticism, I told myself. I would always have functional athleticism. At any age or level of fitness I would have the baseline abilities I was used to. I would always be able to run somewhat fast, throw fairly hard, catch most things in my general area and be able to dunk a basketball (I am very tall).

But the COVID-19 pandemic put that idea to the test. Since I arrived in Terrace one year ago, there haven’t been any sports teams to join or tournaments to enter. I spend most of the day sitting in front of a computer. To make matters worse, the past year in Terrace has been the second wettest in over 50 years — not the kind of weather that pulls you off the couch to go outside and be active. I’ve been watching a heck of a lot more sports than I’ve been playing, to put it lightly.

Recently, Terrace was blessed with some sun, so my partner and I decided to pick up some baseball gloves and a basketball.

It was not pretty.

Throwing the baseball, I quickly found out that over the past year my arm had turned into a limp noodle. My hand-eye coordination seemed slightly off-kilter.

Things continued to trend downwards when we went to a nearby basketball hoop. I have never been a very good shooter but this time I really couldn’t sink anything. I dribbled around erratically and launched air balls. But the biggest blow to my ego would come when I attempted a dunk and was stuffed by the rim.

Dejected and breathing way to heavily for the limited exercise I had put my body through, I questioned the functional athleticism I had believed in all these years. That night everything from my shoulders down to my feet was sore.

I’m not looking forward to finding out how bad I am at the other sports I love. Next time I go golfing I’ll probably shoot a 120. I’m almost guaranteed to pull my hamstring the next time I kick a soccer ball.

After a little reflection I was able to pull out some positives from that experience. For example, I know I can’t take my physical health for granted like I used to in university. If I don’t want to embarrass myself when amateur team sports start up again, I need to put in some work.

As spring shifts to summer, I hope to see everyone in Terrace out and about getting exercise in whatever form. Hop on a skateboard or bike, go for a walk or shoot some hoops. I know that’s what I’ll be doing.

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