Thursday, February 4, 2010

sprinting's for the dogs... (storytime)

Twice in less than 12 hours, I found myself in a fully-street-clothed, dead sprint.

The first time was last night after our East Nasty run...yes, after the actual run. We had just finished enjoying our post-run beverages at the Three Crow bar as usual and decided to go get some food somewhere a little less smokey. Three Crow is delightful, but when they can't open the windows, and it's too cold to enjoy hanging out on the deck, the smoke gets to be a little too much. Anyway, I'd said my goodbyes and on the way out, I ran into my friend Christy who was waiting in her car to see if I'd like a ride. I thanked her, declined, said I'd see her there, then started jogging up the street to my car. I heard Christy hit the gas with a little bit of gusto, and found myself inspired to do the same. Full-sprint up 11th street in East Nashville. I'm pretty fast, but I have a little trouble outrunning a car. It felt good, so I kept going long after Christy passed me.

The second time was this morning right in front of my house. I'm dog-sitting a good little dude named Wrigley who decided that my fence was not going to confine him this morning. A fellow after my own heart, Wrigley doesn't like to come when he's called. Trying to keep my cool so he would come back to me, I jogged after him for about a block. When I caught up to him, I finally got his attention and tricked him into chasing me. Wrigley's a Rhodesian Ridgeback and has some WHEELS. As I said before, I'm no slouch on a short sprint, so we had quite the race...he let me win. Dead sprint number two.

OK...I have to finish chase story. As he casually meandered down towards a mindlessly busy street, I began to lose my cool a little bit...I can't handle the idea of a dog getting hit by a car...just can't handle it. Fortunately, he ran through the gate into one of my neighbor's fenced-in backyard (last house on the right before the busy street...phew). Lucky break. I waited at the gate for the final showdown. OK Corral time:

Picture inside-the-park home run. Wrigley took a speedy lap around this yard like he was running the bases. As he rounded third, I crouched in my best catcher's crouch and got ready. He didn't hesitate for a second and ran straight at me. Wrigley was about reenact the scene from "Major League II" when Willie Mays Hayes takes home plate despite the catcher already holding the ball. I braced myself for impact and waited to show him that 190lbs. is a lot heavier than his 35lbs. At the last second, however, I noticed a peculiar look in his eye and I knew exactly what he was about to do. I put my hands up and performed something between a penalty kick save, and a high tackle on a wide receiver trying to get past the safety. Little punk tried to jump me. How did I know that look in his eye? Because he did exactly what I'd have done...I knew I liked this dog. As my nose bled a little, I held him cradled like a baby (his punishment was humiliation), then carried him up the street to be unceremoniously placed into his crate with "NO COOKIE, MISTER!" more sidebar: I played on a softball team called "The Farm Team" with some friends this fall. We lost every game but one. With two outs during our last at-bat during one of our games, I walked up to the plate with a fool's hope to rally. I popped a safe base hit into the outfield, but was simply not content with staying at first base. Despite slipping in the mud and the ball already en route to second base, I stayed the course. Realizing that the ball was beating me there, I knew it was time for drastic measures. It must have been the energy drink talking, but I made to jump over the girl manning second base. It occurred to me what I was doing as I was jumping and I hesitated...

Had I followed through with my plan, I would have flown over her as she turned to tag me low, and I would have had a fighting chance at getting there first...not to mention earning a spot on ESPN's sports reel. As it turned out, I didn't follow through. I jumped straight up in the air and fell in the mud about two feet from the bag, was tagged out with ease, and the game was over. I guess it was more like this scene from "Major League." Everybody laughed. Eh, whatevs...I'm okay with trading the sports reel for the comedy reel.

Anyway, I was going to make some sort of pontification about sprinting, but for now, I'll just say "to be continued..."

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