PUMPING IRONY: No Pain, No Gain?

OK, let’s see if I can do a little inventory of sore muscles this morning: lower back, check; both knees, check; right shoulder, check; quads, check; hammies, check; left ankle . . . . Maybe it would take less space if I listed the muscles that aren’t sore. So, suck it up, right? Shake it… Read more »

OK, let’s see if I can do a little inventory of sore muscles this morning: lower back, check; both knees, check; right shoulder, check; quads, check; hammies, check; left ankle . . . . Maybe it would take less space if I listed the muscles that aren’t sore.

So, suck it up, right? Shake it off. Stop whining, etc. . . .

That’s what my tennis buddy, M.E., would say. And, a few years ago, I’d probably agree. But I’m not 18 anymore (actually the 40th anniversary of my 18th birthday is fast approaching), and an old guy has to be more careful.

I’m hobbling around today courtesy of a Sunday afternoon tennis match with M.E., who is not the kind of guy who lets a little pulled muscle get him down. In fact, midway through our third game yesterday, he pulled up lame, clutching his Achilles tendon, and I suggested we call it quits. No way, he said. (I happened to be leading two games to none at the time — which I’m sure had nothing to do with his decision to play through the pain.)  He hobbled through the rest of the set, which I won 6-2, and pleaded with me to go two out of three.

I declined, but agreed to return a few practice serves, which turned into more volleying, which he insisted was helping to loosen up his achilles tendon, which would allow him to play another set. I finally persuaded him to go home and ice it, which he did — insisting that he wasn’t going to miss another match at 3 p.m. with some other guys.

Guys are hardwired, it seems, to push themselves until they drop. We just tend to assume that our bodies will adapt and recover like they did when we were teens. It doesn’t work that way, and I have the aches and pains to prove it.

I don’t know how my tennis buddy’s feeling this morning, but something tells me he’ll be ready for a rematch on Wednesday.

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