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I’m With Stupid – January 27, 1017

by Todd Hartley

Most of you probably don’t remember, but back before the holidays I wrote a column about how I was going to eat better and do the 30-day burpee challenge so as not to enter 2017 as the fattest version of myself. Even fewer of you may have given a crap about the results, and to those folks I apologize for never giving an update on how things went.

They went reasonably poorly, if you must know, which is part of the reason why I haven’t mentioned anything about it. I didn’t eat particularly well, which is to say that I didn’t change my eating habits, which is to say that I ate like a pig. And I only made it to 65 burpees on day 19, well short of the 100 I was hoping to do on day 30.

In my defense, I predicted all that would happen when I claimed I was going to diet and exercise in the first place. I suppose you could call that a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I don’t know if it counts when there was never any chance that the prophecy wouldn’t be fulfilled.

But that’s beside the point. When it comes to dieting and burpees, I failed. The fact that I knew I was going to beforehand doesn’t mitigate that.

However, lest you think all was a total waste, I’ll have you know that I joined my wife in trying to do the 30-day plank challenge while I was doing the 30-day burpee challenge, and that one nearly worked out.

Neither my wife nor I completed the plank challenge, but I made it all the way to day 29. That means I did a plank — holding a pushup position, but on my forearms instead of my hands — for 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I think that’s pretty good for a schlub like me.

On day 30, I tried to do a 5-minute plank, but 4 minutes in I started shaking so violently I had to give up. That just wasn’t happening.

So I entered 2017 with the same old spare tire around my waist, but at least under that spare tire, my abs were about as strong as they’ve ever been. If I were about 40 or 50 pounds lighter I might have even had a six-pack.

My problem, though, was that I didn’t have an effective way of burning calories to lose those pounds. I mean, to be honest, to really lose that much weight, I’d have to lop off a leg, but if I was getting more cardiovascular exercise I could maybe slim down a little.

The solution I’ve come up with won’t help me lose any weight, but at least it’s creative and makes absolutely zero sense.

You see, I’ve played exactly one game of basketball in my life that involved things like a scoreboard and a referee. I’ve never been on a basketball team or participated in a basketball practice. I’ve played hockey nearly every winter since I was 8. So naturally, when the people at the Basalt Recreation Department needed a kids basketball coach, I was the guy they called.

Apparently, out of three teams worth of third- and fourth-graders, some three dozen kids in all, there were only two parents willing to volunteer their time a couple nights a week to coach a team. (There were actually three, but two were coaching one team.) That left me, a man with no basketball experience but free time in the early evening, as the only option for coach of team No. 3.

I seemed an odd choice, but I was happy to do it, and I was handed the reins of a team of 10 boys, about half of whom have played some basketball before. I don’t know what drills we’re supposed to be doing, having never done them myself, but I do know that the kids love scrimmaging, so that’s mostly what we do.

Since we’re usually short a kid or two, what I like to do is take part in the scrimmages myself. Then, to get a workout, I play just as hard as I would against grown men. I sprint down the court, foul hard and elbow kids out of the way to grab rebounds. In short, I dominate.

Admittedly, sending kids sprawling across the hardwood floor and dunking on their heads (it’s an 8-foot-high basket), may not be the best technique for teaching them basketball, but it’s not about them. It’s about me getting some exercise.

Todd Hartley doesn’t really elbow the kids. They just happen to run into his elbows a lot.

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