Posts Tagged Chuck Norris

Inspirational Workout Montage From Great Training Movies

This is a workout training montage Chris Ivey sent me of all the great movies that have inspired people to do any kind of working out. It includes some of the greats from the Rocky movies, to Kickboxer, to Pumping Iron.

I love that Arnold says you have to do the last 3-4 lifts to feel the pain and build the muscle. Otherwise you can never be a champion. Unfortunately, I always hesitate to overdo it and hurt myself.

Just listening to Burgess Meredith tell Rocky how he has to stay with it and get up is an inspiration in itself. And then…when Rocky races to the top of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art—that is positively splendiferous!!!

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How Risk-Averse Are You In Life And In Sports?

Are you willing to take chances? I think I am. I’ve made investments in start-up companies, begun new books or magazines when I was a publisher, learned to ride a horse English-style at 50 and jump bareback at 52. I began serious tennis lessons at 65, and I’ve taken up squash for the first time when I was 68. But on the tennis court, I often play the safer shot and am gentler with my follow through for fear of hitting the ball too long. Then my opponent often smashes it back for a winner. No good. I must have more courage.

When it comes to food, I know people who order the same meals each time in restaurants. They admit that they are worried about not liking some unknown choice and are then stuck eating something they think tastes horrible. Or not eating it and wasting the money. And not reordering, and then going hungry. Or they don’t want to think about another decision, so they order what is familiar. A seven-day-a-week meat-eating friend told me proudly that he recently ordered trout for the first time and is now eating fish twice a week. He is in his mid-50’s.

These are little steps, but maybe they reveal bigger truths about who we are and how we play at sports and the rest of our lives. Yesterday I gambled and ordered the special appetizer the waitress had described, but not told me the price. As I said to the owner at the end of the meal, all the appetizers on the menu were around $10-13. Imagine my shock when the special one was $19! He said the waitress had made a mistake with the bill and insisted that the price should have been $17. But it certainly makes me leery about taking a chance again and ordering food blindly in his place. That price equaled the cost of some of the entrees. And I was unwilling to ask how much it cost before I ordered it. Too awkward for me.

Yesterday I also had another confront about my appearance. I have been playing many more hours of tennis and squash the past few months since my arm injury kept me from exercises in the gym. My upper-body muscles are gone or soft. I may be as fit as I was in the army at 21, when I ran five miles a day and jumped out of airplanes. But I look older. Of course I am older. So what’s my problem?

Well part of my goal in building muscle—and especially abs is to look “better”—and also younger. As I wrote in a previous post, millions of people reach for those goals by coloring their hair and undertaking plastic surgery. Very common and socially acceptable, although more for women than men.

graybeard Ira—2/1/10

graybeard Ira—2/1/10


But what the hell, you only live once. So tired of how gray my beard and remaining head hair had become, I went back to the hair salon for a cut and color. I was willing to take THAT chance, if not a riskier tennis swing or skiing down a steeper, black diamond trail.

What happened yesterday was a very funny development: the stylist tried a new color on my beard, and I ENDED UP LOOKING TOO YOUNG! This was a minor disaster, and she wasn’t sure how I was taking it and what to do about it. It was hilarious. My beard went from white to almost black. A clearly different color than the hair on my head. I was two-toned, like a tiger…well not that different. But anyone could tell.

the beard that still looks too young—2/12/10

the beard that still looks too young—2/12/10


This was a problem. I considered shaving it off on the spot. A friend at tennis had advised me to do that if I wanted to drop five or more years of appearance. I was almost at that point. I had taken the chance of a newer beard color, because the old one faded back to white weeks before my head hair. Now I was stuck. Of course it is only hair, it will fade in time, grow out, I am not a celebrity or going to job interviews. I am not dying. I will get through this. I will survive.

An hour later, after I learned more of what most women go through, after consultation with the owner of the salon, I had another paint brushing of bleach and coloring agent, and it didn’t look so bad. But I clearly looked more like when I was 20 years younger. And I have a picture to prove it.

my beard in 1980

my beard in 1980

The biggest problem is that I no longer recognize myself in the mirror. And I am sure other people are going to do triple takes when they see me. I will have to insist that, “I am not Chuck Norris.”

Now if I could only apply this gutsiness to my athletic pursuits, I’d be terrific. So many sports are mental games more than physical challenges. I have to take more risk…

…Ha Ha Ha Ha. I told you. Bumped into someone I work with for years—but hadn’t seen in three DAYS— and after her startled look at me, she asked if I was growing a beard! I had to tell her I have had the same beard for over 30 years, but that it was just darker than the last time we met.

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