Monday, August 30, 2010

Dudes of Cancer: Monsieur August

"I'm not an athlete. I'm a professional baseball player." — John Kruk

John Kruk

The former Major League baseball player, John Kruk, deserves much praise. Before joining the San Diego Padres in 1986, he won a championship…with the Mexicali Eagles. In 1987 he stole eighteen bases…but also got caught stealing ten times. He was a backup on the National League All-Star Team… in the Nintendo game, R.B.I. Baseball. After college he lived with two high school friends, who, without Kruk’s knowledge, were armed robbers. He may be the only player to ever retire in the middle of a game. Kruk wrote a book titled, I Ain’t an Athlete, Lady. Most importantly, he landed a role in a straight-to-DVD sequel to the baseball classic, The Sandlot, titled The Sandlot: Heading Home. It starred Luke Perry.

Krukker was fat, which isn’t itself a reason to tease anyone, except when you’re a professional athlete. He had a legit, Kenny Powers-style mullet. In the 1993 All-Star game—the real one and not the video game version—Randy Johnson accidentally threw a 98 mile-per-hour fastball over Kruk’s head. Kruk then swung wildly at a terrible pitch just so he could get out faster.

Nothing to joke about was Kruk’s testicular cancer in 1994, which resulted in the removal of his nut. Thanks to his jolly nature and us being only ten years old, Zeke and I then joked that Kruk had a golden ball as a replacement. Though I do not know of the chemical elements in Kruk’s scrotum, I am pleased to say that he’s been cancer-free for some fifteen years and is a great asset to Baseball Tonight, a highlight show on ESPN. He’s still pudgy, which is perfectly acceptable post world-class “athlete.”
Sports broadcaster John Kruk ducking from Randy Johnson pitch

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Arlington Update: Spinners

It wasn’t preparation for the cold and snowy winter that led me to fatten, though we did get two twenty-inch snowstorms. And it was only partly related to food, as I pounded Chipotle burritos and the like.

When I moved to Arlington in January, I struggled deciding how to obtain normal exercise. My condominium has a gym with substantial weight training equipment, but minimal cardio machines. There is also an inexpensive county gym down the street from me. And then there was the lure of buying a stationary bike for my apartment.

Despite my reticence to spend money, I couldn’t get by on anaerobic exercise alone. I developed complex mathematical equations that compared the costs and benefits of all the options. Conclusions: county gym: cheap, close, but a pointless membership for cardio alone. Stationary bike: expensive, several years the cost of one year at the local gym, prone to malfunction due to electrical components, pointless if I move to a residence that lacks weight training equipment as I would then have to join a gym, anyway.

I consulted my all-knowing former physical therapist and unofficial “personal advisor for everything,” Formula-6. He provided another option: spin bike: all of the same conclusions as a stationary bike, except it may last my lifetime. Very few moving parts, nothing electronic, smooth, quiet, fully-adjustable. Boom!

I visited various gyms pretending to be interested in joining, but really just wanted to test different spin bikes. I would begin my spiel with, “I’m in a rush, but I’m interested in joining a gym. Can I just look around for ten minutes?” By “look around” they think that means sit down with a salesman, and by “ten minutes” that means an hour.

Spinner NXT spin bikeBecause of my hip injury I need to sit fairly upright on the bike. I was looking for a spin bike with tall handlebars, and a seat that is in a vertical line with the pedals. All signs pointed to the top-of-the-line Spinner NXT. New price: $1,500. Refurbished: $750. I like new shit, but out of principle I couldn’t pay an equal amount for my spin bike as my 50” plasma 1080p HDTV with a 30,000:1 contrast ratio.

Spinner NXT spin bikeI customized my bike with a floor mat and a remote control holder (aka empty Coke Zero box). I placed it directly in line with my TV. I want an odometer to track my cumulative miles, which I suspect over the next decades will reach a high number as I use the bike most days. It is one of my best purchases.

My fat is shedding off as I strive, once again, to reach a body fat percentage in the single digits. Because of the convenience of my spin bike and gym, I am accomplishing my goal faster, and am also several pounds of muscle heavier. Unlike last year, I’m going to devise a plan to maintain my trimness instead of accepting the Chipotle-15 as unavoidable.

Rhetorical question: Would Lance Armstrong use his kitchen for a table or a spin bike?

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