By Doug Gorman
For years I have made a living writing about sports.
Throw out the long hours, working nights, weekends, and holidays, as well as dealing with the occasional irate fan who insists we are out to in some way to get them, and it's an exciting way to make a living.
It doesn't leave a lot of time for playing sports. My tennis rackets sit virtually unused in the hall closet of my house, and the golf clubs I received as a college graduation gift 16 years ago have hardly been taken out of the bag.
At one time I was an avid tennis player. In college, I played at least a couple of days a week. When not on the tennis court, I was at a nearby health club where I took up racquetball.
Both sports kept me in great shape.
The years since haven't been kind. Too many late-night snacks in front of the television after putting in a hard-day's work, trips to my favorite fast food restaurant and time spent doing my best impersonation of a couch potato have taken its toll.
I am paying for my past unhealthy lifestyle by being seriously out of shape and overweight.
With the big 4-0 right around the corner, I have been delivered a wake up call and have starting working on taking better care of myself. Doctors'orders.
It started when I joined a gym last week. I'm not new to the health club experience, but it's been a while since I walked on a treadmill or worked out using the machines.
The goal is simple, workout a least three days a week, and swim or doing some other form of exercise twice a week.
For the first few days I fought what every new health club member goes through?a desire to quit. The soreness was terrible after the first day. I felt like every bone and muscle in my body had been run over by a Mack truck. Day two was a little better, and then by the end of last week, I wanted to sprint to the health club.
In to my second week, I am still motivated to get back into shape. The workouts are coming easier and I no longer feel like crawling back under the covers when the alarm goes off in the morning.
I'm noticing other benefits too. I no longer have that feeling of being fatigued midway thought the workday, and I no longer feel the need to eat out of frustration or boredom.
It's a long way to go in my personal battle with fitness, but it's a start.
My the end of the summer, I hope to be in good enough shape to resume playing tennis and golf.
I won't ever play either sport like the pros, then again I never did.
However, it will be a good payoff for getting myself back in shape, and a nice birthday present for someone about to turn 40.
(Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Daily. His column appears on Fridays. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.)