Fridays with Doug


No, it’s not a number that has anything to do with the coronavirus.

Well maybe it does because it is the number my weight has risen to since I don’t leave the house anymore, or apartment in my case.

It is not a good number for someone who is 5 feet, 9 inches tall.

I can remember in high school the football roster added 10 or 15 pounds to everyone’s weight. I was listed at 150 but never weighed more than 135 and that was after downing half a box of Twinkies. Now if I subtract 10 or 15, it still is an ugly number and I haven’t indulged with even one Twinkie in at least a decade.

It is not a number that bodes well for someone my age. We will leave that actual number as undetermined so I don’t have to lie about it.

The wardrobe for working from home — sweatpants and/or pajamas — doesn’t alert one that the belly is expanding.

I didn’t weigh this much in my last job, which was in Illinois. I had more hair on my head as well. It must be something about Iowa that subtracts hair and adds weight to my system. No, that can’t be because I grew up in West Burlington and my hair and weight were fine.

Maybe it has something to do with age and exercise, well the weight anyway.

So I tried running last week since I ran five kilometers every day but Sunday at my last job. My right hip hurt so bad the next night that I decided on an hour walk.

As the years tick away, fitness becomes more important. According to many experts, getting outside for fresh air and sunshine is not only good for us physically, but mentally as well.

That is my goal while I wait out the spread of the coronavirus, get into the routine of an hour walk every day.

When I walked Saturday, the town of Washington seemed a little deserted. When I walked Wednesday night, there was a band playing in the square, people were sitting on their cars and occasionally engaged in a chorus of horn honking.

It was a great example of alone together, which seems to be a popular commercial on television nowadays.

Television-watching hours have definitely increased, I would guess, for most everyone.

It helped me that Direct TV had Showtime free for a week, and then Starz was free for a week.

It allowed me to watch movie after movie, although I would do a crossword puzzle every other day as well.

The thing about those movie channels is they show a lot of older movies and very few new ones.

One older movie I watched was Hoosiers. It is one of the best basketball movies I have ever watched, although I like Glory Road more because it involves the story of Bobby Joe Hill, a player for Burlington Junior College.

I went to Burlington Blackhawk games with my parents from the time I could walk on my own. I saw ‘Downtown’ Freddy Brown play and still have a poster of him playing for the Seattle Super Sonics.

It may give a clue about my age that Burlington Junior College and the Seattle Super Sonics now play under completely different names, i.e. Southeastern Community College and Oklahoma City Thunder.

A sports movie I watched for the first time is McFarland, USA. Based on the true story of a 1987 cross-country team from a mainly Latino high school in McFarland, California, the film stars Kevin Costner as Jim White, the school’s coach, who leads the team to win a state championship. The school won nine titles in 14 years under Coach White. I think the movie does a great job of illustrating how important a coach can be, not just in athletics but in life. No one on the 1987 McFarland Cougars team had a single relative that completed ninth grade. All seven runners attended college.

A quote from the movie that made me want to run was, “When we run, our spirits fly. We speak to the gods. When we run, we are the gods.”

I also watched the movie Moneyball. It made me sad to see the birth of the current culture in baseball where walks and home runs are more important than stolen bases and bunts.

All four movies are basically true stories, although characters are combined and facts often rearranged to tell the ‘true’ story in the allotted time. Hoosiers actually changes the name of the town and the year it happened,

Someday soon, there will be a movie about how sports survived the outbreak of this contagion.

Make your own feel-good story. Check on your elderly neighbor. Maintain your sense of purpose. Band together (at a safe distance) and give and we will beat this. Just because these times are painful doesn’t mean we can’t grow from it.