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Friday, November 19, 2010

November 19, 2010

I went back to the Gym today. The Gym that I use is associated with New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), and is situated on their beautiful campus on the Northern Boulevard in Old Westbury. The Gym is used by Parkinson's patients and the Physical Therapists are experts on Parkinson's Disease. They are also wonderful people! I've come to count them among my friends.

I've spent my life doing the least possible. I was a very bright, but very lazy student. Although I always played hard, I never prepared. Never stretched, always pulled muscles. So it's no surprise to me that I've been remiss in my exercise.

My therapists tailor part of the session to my talents. I tap a basketball against the wall, as if I were tipping in a rebound. I also throw a ball against a "pitchback." When I do these activities, I don't have Parkinson's Disease. Whether it's adrenaline or "muscle memory," I feel like that kid in the playground. What a wonderful feeling.

I don't envy kids today. I grew up in a young neighborhood. The weather warmed and we would get as many as possible for softball. It cooled down out came the football, the basketball and my favorite, my hockey stick. Today kids play video games on "playdates." Mention stickball and you get a blank stare. Gone are the sandlots. Part of the blame is greed.

I loved baseball. First came watching, then playing it. In 1965, I ran home from school to see Sandy Koufax pitch in the World Series. The game lasted a little more than 2 hours, leaving time for my friends and me to play ball.

If a Jewish kid from Brooklyn can make it, why not one from Queens? I was almost 9. My older brother who was 13, would tell me to watch his curveball, "It falls off the edge of a table!" He was right, it did. Today the series starts at 8:00 P.M. Because of the way that the game has changed, it invariably lasts almost 4 hours. Nine year olds can't stay up for that, and are missing, what I consider cherished memories.

The Jewish Kid from Queens never followed in Koufax's footsteps. This is something that can't be blamed on laziness, I wasn't that good. Though for about 10 minutes today, in the Gym, I was Koufax. I was again that little boy.

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