by Akim Reinhardt
Stuck is a weekly serial appearing at 3QD every Monday through early April. The Prologue is here. The table of contents with links to previous chapters is here.
There was this one moment. A sunny June day in Nebraska. No one was around. I dribbled the basketball over the warm blacktop, moving towards a modest hoop erected at the end of a Lutheran church parking lot. I picked up my dribble, took two steps, sprung lightly from my left foot, up and forward, my right arm extending as my hand gracefully served the ball to the white backboard. Its upward angle peaked, bounced softly, and descended back through the netless hoop.
And then it dawned on me. It had never been this easy. Not just dribbling and shooting a basketball, but anything. Any physical movement. No turn in the dance of life had ever come so naturally, had been so close to effortless. It felt good. I smiled to myself and called it a day.
I was 29 years old.
Ten years later, I was running down a dirt path along a creek in my Baltimore neighborhood. I’ve never been much for jogging. I find it an exercise in boredom so profound as to make me question the point of life. Instead, I was running some wind sprints. You sprint full out for a hundred yards, then walk the next hundred. If you’re on a track, sprint the straightaways and walk the curves. Keep doing that til you can’t.
The previous summer I’d done wind sprints at a local high school. When I started, I could only manage two sprints before collapsing in a gasping heap. A month later I was churning out a dozen of them a couple times a week. I was suddenly shocked at how good a shape I was in. My libido was disturbingly high, which was kind of annoying given I was recently single. Read more »