August 18, 2005

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

As I grow older, I find it more and more difficult to maintain my sporting lifestyle. My aching knees make it tough to play basketball anymore, and I simply dont have the stamina to fish from sunup to sundown like the good old days, and my back generally starts barking about 15 minutes after I sit down in the tree stand.

While I try to attribute these ailments to old age, my physician kindly pointed out to me that my sporting shortcomings are just as much the fault of my lifestyle as they are of an increasing number of birthdays.

He didnt sugar coat it at all when he said I was simply fat and out of shape. He didnt even try to break the fall, telling me to either put up or shut up. If I want to play hoops or fish and hunt all day, I need to pay a little more attention to my diet. It wouldnt hurt if I did a little exercise along the way, too.

Of course, part of the problem is age-related at least. As Ive entered my 30s, my body has become less willing to take the abuse of such outings. And as other time constraints have forced these outings to be less frequent, my body has grown accustomed to a general condition of inactivity.

Now I dont want to quit coming up with new material for this editorial, so I decided I needed to turn the page on a new era. While Ill never give up food (Im an eater plain and simple) I have decided to try to watch what I eat, and not just in the see-food diet sense where I see food and I eat it.

Unfortunately the new me took a big hit less than a week into the transition. To make it worse, the blow was dealt by one of the outdoor pursuits Im trying to insure Im physically able to undertake in years to come.

After a couple of highly successful frog hunting trips in the past few weeks, my fellow hunters and their spouses, significant others and anyone else that likes frog legs, all gathered at my home Friday night for a feast.

Even though we had great success, frog legs go fast, so we initially tried to keep the cookout somewhat amongst the hunters. However, after we noticed that one of our looser-lipped companions had printed up flyers and invitations all over town, we decided to expand the menu to include, shrimp, fish, onion rings and just about anything else we could batter dip and deep-fat fry. Im not sure that I couldnt have taken my old gym shoe and smothered it in breading, fried it and served it up with great culinary success.

I cant even honestly say that this was a test of my feeble will power. I never even entertained the idea of not eating. Nor did I consider showing any self-restraint as I shoveled down morsel after greasy morsel of the delicious food.

I guess if I want to witness a return to my old self, I better scratch off frog hunting from the list. Lets face it, this sport honestly has no redeeming factor beyond the huge feed at the end of the year. I cant honestly say that I enjoy wading waste deep in the muck, getting eaten by mosquitoes and scared to death by snakes. There truly is no enjoyment to the sport except the finished product. But that product is good enough that Im just as likely to give up all my other pursuits and keep that old cooker fired up all summer long.

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