Vidakovich column: I can be any age, up to 56
As birthday number 56 fast approaches, I’ve realized that it is impossible for us oldsters not to envy the young. But I have also decided that the key to it all is to try and accept who you are, and to be content in that. I had my time to be many younger ages, now is my time to be 56.
So I guess part of me is every age up to where I am now. I can be an 8-year-old once again on a glassy and clear summer morning at little league baseball practice with my buddies Scott Bolitho, Chris Massaro and Tim Thulson. There we are, listening intently to every word of instruction given to us by coaches Dale Strode and Rich Stubler. None of us had a care in the world. The only summer vacation concern was to win the league tournament so we could get to districts. Then the season would be a success.
I can be a 14-year-old in eighth grade at the Glenwood Junior High, playing quarterback on the football team for Coach Harlan Spencer, and reluctantly calling running back David O’Brien’s number time after time against the Meeker Cowboys. That day, most of my backfield was ineligible, and O’Brien was the only one able to pick up any yardage against the starchy-stiff Meeker front seven. Finally though, a sweat-laden and exhausted O’Brien had had enough of my play calling as he looked at me in the huddle and calmly stated, “If you run me one more time Vidak, I’m going to beat the crap out of you.”
We ended up losing the game, as I wisely took O’Brien’s words to heart.
I could be a 21-year-old back in college again, though I would never want to. I didn’t really enjoy one single minute of college, especially playing basketball. The short time I was on the team at U.N.C. (Greeley) was not one bit memorable. I had trouble adjusting to the coaches constantly telling me that my I.Q. must be somewhere between that of a housefly and a doorknob, because I couldn’t remember, or wouldn’t run, the myriad offensive plays given to us. We really never had plays at Glenwood High School, so the college scene was quite foreign to me. Coach Chavez drilled us on the fundamentals of the game, told us to defend, rebound, run, and have the time of our young lives doing it. I had the time of my life thanks to Chav.
Going back to being an elementary teacher and coach in my 30s and 40s would be nifty. So many good kids I got to hang out with. Pretty much all of them. It’s also fun to see them all grown up, like the two who play on my summer softball team, Jacque Collins and Ben Sarno.
I would love to go back to the time when I could toss around the baseball with my dad in the yard at 724 Bennett Ave. It would be nice to go for a run with my dog Sidney Moncrief again, or have the entire family together at Thanksgiving. Seeing Bob Willey back on the mound for our softball team would do me a world of good, or even just getting to pull out my rug again in Ms. Bertholf’s kindergarten class and take a nap under the coloring table in the back of the room would be a smile-inducing instance.
Well, darn it, we can’t relive a life that has already been recorded, but I have been through all ages up to 56, and I know what it’s like. I can delight in being a child when it is appropriate, and I can have some fun being old and crusty when the situation calls for it.
I have to smile when I think of all I can be. I am every age, up to my own. Do you understand?
Mike Vidakovich writes freelance for the Post Independent.
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This game. This rivalry. This season. It hasn’t meant this much in a long time.