August 15, 2002

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Before heading to the Lake of the Ozarks over the weekend, I wouldn't have qualified my itinerary as sports news. But as I sat at my computer Monday morning, stiff, sore and wore out, it reminded me of the day after a football game. My hands were as tender as if I had hit a thousand golf balls. My leg muscles and rear end ached like I had ran a marathon and the old upper body was worked out like a trip to the weight room. And this was all from a weekend of fun in the sun.

There wasn't a lot of lounging around in the sun on this vacation. Then again it wasn't like an Olympic swimming event either. However there was plenty of boating activities including the dreaded tube. After dislocating my shoulder in just such an exercise two years ago, I left the tube to the youngsters. The knee board was much the same, as it hurt me just watching the kids bouncing off the waves. My knees can hardly handle a set of stairs and walking is more important to me than showing off for the bikinis so I stayed put.

Unfortunately my wisdom (missing those teeth I guess) didn't hold up for the entire trip. I had the misfortune of stepping on to the wave runner. So how is that bad? It's just a miniature boat. It's not like I had to paddle or anything. I didn't see any harm in this, as a matter of fact I was looking forward to the opportunity of a solo flight, doing a little sight seeing and getting away from the kids who were wearing me out. About four hours later I limped back into the dock. I had to have help prying my hands from the handles. Then they had to get a stretcher to haul me from the dock. And I went smiling all the way. What a joy this activity is. These toys are amazing. You zoom across the water as fast as 50 mph. Once you get used to the steering and other intricacies it's time to head into the big water. At the Lake that means pretty massive waves and plenty of wakes from the big boats. There you see other folks on these water motorcycles and they all are running at high speeds making massive jumps over these waves and wakes.

Four hours and two tanks of gas later you make it back home, feeling guilty you've monopolized the toy but strangely fulfilled. Then the adrenaline wears off. That's when you notice the blisters on your palms from gripping the handlebars. Your lower back is in knots as the result of the hard landings from jumping the waves. Your arms feel like they've been pulled from the sockets and your legs, well you get the picture. The worst part of the story is, then you get back on the stupid machine the next day and start all over again.

If I haven't proven that I'm too old for this stuff, I compounded the injuries with a brief run at the go cart track. Everyone said that I had the fastest cart, so I got no credit for my driving skill. My friends at the auto body shop would have been proud of me as I used every part of that little car to lap the field twice. I was blinded by glory as I put that little seven-year old into the wall and then spun his grandpa out in turn three. My sister-in-law was lucky she saw me coming. She said the car needed a pit stop for gas but I think I made her nervous.

There was one final "sporting event" over the weekend, a stop at the Hook and Hoof restaurant for some Olympic-style eating. I saw my skinny host polish off six plates ranging from prime rib to crab legs, shrimp and scallops. I love to eat and all I could manage was four plates. I'll have to go into training for the next trip, either that or not eat for a week prior to the eating contest.

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