Total Sports Hero

Many of you have probably noticed that over the past several weeks I have shown a remarkable increase in physical strength. Also, my body has become lean and chiseled. Some may have spotted me hoisting several pencils high above my head with nary a grunt or climbing stairs while carrying my lunch without crying very much from the exertion. This is because I now have a personal trainer to help me become muscular and awesome. I work out with friends almost every morning now, unless I decide to sleep in because I'm having a cool dream about being in the band Styx or unless I feel like watching Garfield and Friends before breakfast. My workouts consist of doing push-ups until my biceps explode (happens after seven or eight push-ups and leaves quite a mess for the janitors), blasting out loads of pull-ups ("loads" being defined as almost one), maybe pumping some iron (like the heavy kind with steam action that takes out wrinkles quicker), and running a mile (give or take a mile).

[That's Grace over there throwing leaves. She's not my personal trainer.]

My personal trainer, who doubles as my buddy Spencer, and who really isn't my personal trainer in the sense of being "personal" or a "trainer," makes fun of me while I kick and squeal trying to do a pull-up and urges me to not whimper in the corner and suck my thumb when I trip and fall during the box jumps and make my shin bleed. He also won't let me wear band-aids, but I think it's because he's jealous of my Little Mermaid adhesive strips.

Really, my current state of rippling physical fitness is not unprecedented. I've been fit basically my whole life. I can't remember a time when I couldn't do a 30-minute mile or stand in place for 10-12 minutes before feeling winded. Plus I've always been the sporting kind.

-- Once, when I was in second grade, I played basketball on recess. I think I got the ball once and threw it out of bounds toward the wally-ball wall. It's easy to get those two games confused.

-- I was on a soccer team when I was six. Our team name was the Cobras. There was this kid named Shane on my team, and he was kind of a prodigious soccer talent. So while he hogged the ball and scored 40 goals per game, I usually got a head start on eating the after-game treats. My mom was so proud of me for thinking ahead so that I always got to eat the cupcakes and never got stuck eating the stupid carrot sticks.

-- My friend Danny and I used to play home run derby in his backyard. To get a home run, you had to hit the sock ball across Danny's backyard, over the alley, and over the neighbor's back fence. Most of the time I struck out, because Danny threw a pretty good knuckleball, but once I hit the sock so that it rolled into the alley and Danny counted it as a home run so that I wouldn't quit and go back inside to watch the ABC after school special.

-- I played Little League baseball when I like 11 or 12. I was pretty good, so I played almost every position. Like I played first base for awhile, but then when one of my teammates actually stopped a grounder and threw it to me I dropped the ball, so I got moved to short stop. When someone hit a ball to me I stopped it with no problems, but then I threw it into the other team's dugout, so I got moved to pitcher. But then I walked 13 straight batters to reach the 10 run-per-inning limit, so I got moved to the outfield. I was really good at being an outfielder because no one ever hit it that far.

-- Once when I was missionary we had a big group game of paintball. I shot my zone leader in the stomach at point-blank range when we both walked blindly around a corner into one another and he didn't talk to me for like a month after that, which was fine because he always quoted scripture and never laughed when, instead of singing "God be with you till we meet again," I sang "I will beat you till you bleed again." I guess this anecdote doesn't really articulate athletic prowess per se, but you have to admit it's still cool that I shot a guy in the belly button without even looking. Everyone wants to do that deep down, but so few actually realize the dream.

-- Once in college I played a pick-up game of football with some guys out on DT field. "DT" stand for "Deseret Towers," but the guys all called me "DT" for "Double Touchdown." You might think that was my nickname because I scored so many touchdowns, but it was really because whenever someone else scored a touchdown I tried to count it for 14 points instead of 7.

So during this game, we decided to do a reverse, where the quarterback would hand off to me and I'd run like I was doing a sweep, but then there'd be a guy going the other way and I'd hand off to him. Except, when I had the ball and I was actually running at full tilt toward the other guy to hand the ball off to him, and he was running full tilt toward me, we had one of those awkward things where you aren't sure who's going to go to the left and who's going to go to the right. Like, sometimes that happens when you're walking on the sidewalk toward someone, and you and the other person sort of stutter step and fake left and juke right, and then you both laugh awkwardly and stare at the ground when you almost bump into each other. But there's no time for social niceties like that when you and the other person are running toward each other at like 80 mph. Because that's how fast I was running. He was probably running slower than me, because he was a wimp. We only had time to commit to one side and hope the other guy committed to the other side. Except we both went to the same side, me to my left and him to his right. I might have fumbled when we collided. I'm not sure. All I know is someone said "dude" right before impact and then I woke up on my back on the field and I've been stupider ever since that day.

But at least I'm a total sports hero.