After falling off a treadmill (twice), I now only run on actual ground. And after sweating around a sunny outdoor track, I now only run inside. This leaves me a bit limited in options, but I’ve found my answer at my local Y. You’ll find me there most weekends, as I slowly tread my course around the ridiculously small track (24 laps = 1 mile) above the basketball court. It’s a very old gym, one that been around for generations.
As I run, I watch the teens who come to play basketball on the weekends I know who among them can shoot well, who has excellent ball handling skills, and who plays a great defense If any college scouts are looking for talent (I’m talking to you, bracket ruining MSU) I’m the person they should come to first.
This morning, I was not alone on the track. Two other runners were up there and there was one other person–an elderly man who very slowly made his way around the track with the help of a cane.
I passed him over and over again as he made slow progress. His movement was so inconsequential that I found myself wondering why he even bothered coming at all.
Beneath us, the teens playing basketball moved up and down the court with an unquenchable energy. The rhythm of the ball and the sound of each teen’s shoes on the court composed a song of youth and vitality.
And then the man stopped walking. He left his cane standing alone and turned toward the court, supporting himself with both hands on the railing. And he watched the boys playing beneath us.
I wondered what he remembered as they moved beneath his watchful gaze. I wondered how many years had passed since he had been the young boy dribbling the ball, running the court, shooting baskets, enjoying an afternoon with friends. And I wondered if the reason he came here to walk, if the reason he bothered at all, was because of the memories that flooded him now.