In my more self-centred moments I’ve been happy to admit to myself that I’ve enjoyed a fairly active and sporty life.
I wouldn’t try to kid Rusters. Although I loved watching and taking part in sports and spent most of my misspent youth and later life playing games and and/or competing in them – I was never what I’d tag as “exceptionally talented” at any.
On balance, I was always more of a ball-games player than anything else.
Although I sailed for four decades because it ran in the family and also took part in athletics at school, I was never a fanatic at them and primarily enjoyed football, rugby, hockey, cricket and (just about) tennis and golf … at the last two of which I was very average indeed.
At my secondary school we used to pigeon-hole each other as being either “dry bobs or “wet bobs”.
The former, i.e. ball games aficionados (of which I was one), tended to look down on “wet bobs” as being those who, being hopeless at ball games, had been reduced to taking up the likes of sailing, rowing and swimming as a means of disguising this fundamental weakness.
Separately, although I have regularly come across individuals whom I accepted were clearly outstanding talented at ball games – certainly far more so than I was – I thought I detected a flaw in many of them, viz. that they were somehow super-relaxed and casual in their approach, as if they either took their talent for granted and/or lacked the will power, grit and determination to take their talents “all the way” (whatever that might mean).
It was almost as if, because it all came so easily to them, they didn’t properly “appreciate” the talents they’d been gifted by birth.
By the same token, I regret to record here that I was immodest enough to convince myself that – had I possessed an ounce (or should I say sufficient) of their talent – I’d have been a global superstar at something.
Sadly, my sad cross to bear in life (if you like) was that, although I had world class reserves of attitude, application and determination, I’d been born with limited talent.
If only I had been George Best or Paul Gascoigne – or indeed any super-gifted exponent of any sport that you’d ever care to nominate – I’d never have frittered my talent away.
I’d have spent fifteen years minimum at the peak of my powers and then retired and become a media sports pundit.
Instead the height of my achievements were representing my school first teams in multi-sports (rugby, hockey, athletics, boxing, basketball and fives); winning the Berkshire Under-16 discus-throwing competition; playing rugby for Richmond Schoolboys and being selected once (but never playing) for Surrey schoolboys; playing four years in my school hockey first XI (captain for two), one season with the Oxted club and just the once for Surrey; and, despite being technically hopeless at boxing – and hating participating in it – like Rocky Marciano, I retired never having lost a bout.
Ever since I was about forty years of age, I have begun and undertaken fitfully innumerable fitness regimes for periods ranging between two to three days and two to three years.
I’ve begun three different campaigns since 1st January 2022 – the most recent only last week – and given up the first two of them.
At the moment I am trying to watch my diet, weight and activity with a view to losing half a stone.
Over the last six days I have (successively) posted daily step-counts of 27,393 … 20,240 … 28,563 … 14,400 … 21,908 … and 26,207.
Which – my calculator tells me – works out at an average of 23,130 steps per day.
My research on Google advises that – for the average human male like me (albeit I’m 70 years of age) – there are approximately 2,000 steps to a mile.
Which means that for the past six days I have been averaging 11.56 miles per day.
From this point onwards I shall post occasionally upon my progress, good or ill.