Posts Tagged fragility of life

Bike Trip Robbery Video

My daughter once went on a bike trip in England, and I have been to Buenos Aires a couple of times. But this innocent bike-trip vacationer had an experience no one in my family had: he was (almost?) robbed and recorded it all on his helmet GoPro. This may not be an athletic achievement, but it is certainly a rare video of an athletic incident.

Here is the Daily Beast story:

If you travel a fair bit, you’ve probably been there. You’re cycling through an exotic locale, laughing and talking with friends when suddenly a guy on a motorbike cuts you off and starts yelling at you in the native tongue. You can’t understand him but you’re sure he’s not inviting you over for dinner.

It was a bit of a special case here for Canadian tourist Alexander Hennessey. Riding through Buenos Aires, Argentina with some travel companions, he was cut off by a local who quickly pulled a revolver out of his jeans.

Luckily for us, Mr. Hennessey had been attempting to document his bike trip with a helmet-fastened GoPro camera. The first-person perspective is chilling.

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Back At The Gym For A Tension-Relieving Workout

After 14 months of avoiding the place, I finally made it to the gym. It was a minimal workout, just 30 minutes, but it really felt great to be pumping up. But knowing I was going to be near the gym after a friend’s afternoon lecture, I thought the gym visit would be easy.

In fact it was absolutely necessary. At the lecture, I saw an acquaintance who told me his wife had died just three months after learning she had cancer. They had been together almost 30 years, had both recently retired and were planning “a decade or two of travel and relaxation.” I was so stunned I could barely stand up. I became a bit dizzy and thought I was going to fall down, that my legs wouldn’t support me.

So I raced to the gym to burn off my fear, anger, tension, adrenalin, whatever. It was a welcome relief from a horribly upsetting encounter. I feel so bad for this man who is struggling with his new and unexpected circumstances. And for his deceased wife, who had almost no time to prepare. I didn’t ask any questions about lifestyles and health habits. It just reminded me yet again how fragile and unpredictable our health and living is. It’s a constant gift that needs to be appreciated, treasured and cared for…

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Tennis Fanatic

Fanatical…that’s what I have become. Playing tennis 25 days in the last 31 (or 16 out of 17 or 20 out of 24), reading tennis strategy books at night, watching tennis videos, practicing new serves (spin and kick), new ground strokes, new placements. I can’t get enough. Sometimes my game improves. Other times I can’t execute the new shots. But overall I am becoming better…just frustrated that there is still no consistency. At least when I play in the tougher competitions, my team no longer loses consistently. And my net game remains strong.

Of course I was glued to the TV during Wimbledon. And off today to Newport to watch the Campbell’s Cup ATP matches there, with Isner, Nishikori, Raonic and the Bryan Brothers playing.

In addition to all this, I have been working on new projects and handling my usual business and personal responsibilities. So no wonder I haven’t written much for this site. I miss those quiet moments of reflection and sharing.

My friend Joe is passionate about theater (he runs one), and no matter how tired he is, he always says that he is grateful to have such zest and zeal for the stage. Having a major interest that drives you incessantly isn’t something you can tack on to your life. It often takes over your life. It is a gift of sorts. There is no boredom, no wondering what you are going to do today, no feeling of “been there, done that.” There are many activities that no longer interest me, whether it is jumping out of planes, eating often in fine restaurants, shopping for wines and cheeses, attending black tie parties (those never did). But I am out of control, when it comes to hitting tennis balls. I love the challenge, the sweating, the cardio, the feel of a well-placed shot, or just hitting dozens of overheads—or mis-hitting them—launched by a ball machine. I love the tiredness, when the day’s playing is over.

I am very lucky to have found this sport, to be so passionate about it, however late in life. While I am so out of control, I will play as long as I can. And should my enthusiasm burn out, or I feel too many aches, or I am no longer able to play, well then it’s been a helluva ride.

At a business lunch this week, I heard two stories about two unrelated women who suddenly had headaches, went to the emergency room, and immediately needed surgery for inexplicable brain infections. Bacteria that are normal in the intestines had migrated to their brains and created life-threatening pain and injury. Both survived, although one took three years to recover her motor skills. Both had been healthy. This is the reality of being a human. Sure there are bombs and car accidents and burglars and hurricanes that can all damage or extinguish our existence. But there are also tiny organisms inside of us that can paralyze us and take away our good health without any warning or explanation. So if good health is this fragile, if life can be this fleeting, how can we not savor it, enjoy it, live it to the fullest when we are able? Have a great day!

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Andy Whitfield Gets Two Breaks: Good (Fame/Success) And Bad (Illness/Death)

Andy Whitfield as Spartacus

Added to the September 11th sadness was the death yesterday of actor Andy Whitfield, the former star of TV show “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” which launched in January 2010. Portraying this muscular superhuman character was Whitfield’s big entertainment break. Two months later, a routine check-up revealed that he had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and in 18 months he was gone. Life is a bitch sometimes.

Whitfield was from Wales but lived in Australia and was a relatively unknown actor until he was chosen for the series, a sex- and blood-soaked version of the early life of the Thracian gladiator who led a slave rebellion against the Roman ruling class from 73 to 71 B.C.

In December 2009, Andy was highlighted in a Men’s Health article (below) about how to exercise when you are busy and build up those beautiful muscles that earned him the part. Who would have imagined what was waiting for him just three months later. I hate it.

Ponder this scenario: You’ve just received a treasured job offer—a dream situation for your career, in fact—but it comes with a few unusual requirements. You have to go shirtless on the job, millions of people will watch you work that way, and oh yeah, you need to achieve and maintain 10 percent body fat or they’ll fire your ass. However, because you’re so busy doing this job, you have only 45 minutes, 3 days a week to exercise. Assuming you take the position, what would you do with that time? Go for a run? Hit the elliptical machine? Search the job boards? Hire a body double?

Andy working on his abs on set


This is precisely the predicament faced by Andy Whitfield, who plays the lead in the Starz television drama Spartacus: Blood and Sand (think Gladiator meets 300), which premieres January 22, 2010. “I’m filmed virtually naked in my Roman skivvies all day long,” says the 37-year-old actor. “So when I look in the mirror I’m driven by both vanity and fear.” You can probably relate.

It’s natural to assume that an actor has far more time for exercise than the average guy does. But Whitfield’s schedule probably isn’t much different from your own. After all, he has a wife and two young children and spends most days on set from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “For Spartacus, we’ve committed 100 percent of our production time to creating great scenes,” says Whitfield. “So all the training I do is on my own time. And that’s pretty limited.” Sound familiar?

Now consider that job offer again. If you were Andy Whitfield, what kind of exercises would you do to stay lean on the job?

The list of exercises can be found here . The one he is doing in the picture above is described here :

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