August 28, 2009
You might think that after 40-some years of fairly regular physical exercise, some of us would remember how important it is to warm up before an athletic event.
You would be mistaken.
As a young teenager, I did a lot of biking, and then switched to running in high school and college. A deep understanding of my actual eye-hand coordination talent kept me on the track and on the cross-country course, instead of doing anything involving a ball. Before running, however, there was always a warm-up session.
That approach to sports continued until about age thirty, when I first began to play golf. At least in golf, the ball just sits there, and all you have to do is hit it.
My proficiency in my new chosen sport eventually reached the American male average, at least with respect to my handicap index, and it has remained at that bogey level for the last fifteen years or so.
On the other hand, golf is not exactly an extreme sport, when it comes to the cardiovascular or aerobic demands often recommended for the middle-aged. So in addition to golf, I’m now back to biking—the kind where the bike is stationary, and I can watch the last week’s golf tournament on the VHS recorder while pedaling to raise my heart rate. I also do some weightlifting, especially in the off-season.
So again, with that background in sports, you’d think I’d remember to warm up the muscles before every round, especially now that I’m no spring chicken. However, when it’s as hot as it has been, I sometimes assume that the outside heat is an effective substitute for stretching exercises before hitting the range or the first tee.
Not true, and not smart–and this attitude was bound to catch up with me.
It did this week, during our regular Tuesday evening league match, in fairly simmering conditions. I didn’t do any stretches before the round began, and limited my pre-round preparations to the range and the putting green.
The opening tee shot on the par-5 eighth hole was a big hook, but I managed to escape with a routine par. Then it was on to the par-3 ninth hole, playing to just over 150 yards and into a breeze.
I took my usual practice swing, and then made what felt at first like a normal 5-iron pass at the ball.
Just as my ball shot toward the green, something separated my right leg from the rest of my body, right at the inside hip joint.
At least, that’s what it felt like for the first minute or so.
After a short hop or two off the tee box, I immediately started stretching my adductor muscles on the inside of my right thigh, just like I used to do during cross country practice at the U of D. This meant putting the right leg up on a bench, and crouching down on the left leg until the chosen right side muscle group began to relax and stretch. I did similar stretches throughout the rest of the round.
The sharp pain of the initial muscle pull faded, replaced by a dull ache and a keen sense of potential muscular disaster with every swing.
Over the next few days, there will be more stretching, along with some other treatment therapies, such as ice and rest—and definitely no weightlifting. Biking on the stationary cycle shouldn’t be a problem, because there’s no twisting involved.
From now on, however, I will make sure I take the time to do my stretches before every round.
You should, too.
Yet another Shawnee Hole In One
For the third time in eleven days, Shawnee Country Club celebrated another hole in one. This time the lucky golfer was Brian Lord, who hit his one-shotter on the par-3 ninth hole on August 21, with his 6-iron.
At this rate, the club might begin having trouble buying hole-in-one insurance for the fall charity outings.