Training like Rocky with a hula hoop
Gloria Elayne Owens is the kind of person I just can’t tell “no.”
If she’s asking for something, you know it’s for a good cause. When Owens asked me to be a part of the seventh annual Lifesavers event Saturday, I never even considered turning her down.
That’s how I found myself in the absurd position this week in embarking on a rigorous training regimen in an effort to claim the title of Hula Hoop Champ.
I haven’t had a hula hoop around my waist since I was around 5, so I had forgotten how difficult it is. Owens brought me some hula hoops to choose from. I foolishly selected the smallest one, thinking that it would be easier. I have since learned that smaller hoops are much harder, especially for beginners, because they rotate so much faster.
My hula hooping training sessions so far have been less than encouraging. My wife has been provided with plenty of laughs, and my 2-year-old son has even proven to be a superior hula hooper, but I haven’t let that discourage me.
I’ve even turned to some of my favorite movies, the Rocky series, for inspiration.
Rocky Balboa trained for championship fights through unconventional methods. Rocky didn’t just focus on punching bags and sparring in the ring. He also did things like chase chickens, chop wood, lift big rocks and run in the snow.
Like Rocky, I’m betting that my opponents have probably been training for Saturday’s contest by strictly conventional methods. I didn’t have any chickens to chase, but my son is just as elusive and I’ve been chasing him all over the place. I have found plenty of big rocks to lift and wood to chop on our property here in Yazoo County. All of these hills also offer great conditioning opportunities.
Another thing I have in common with Rocky is that I will be considered a major underdog heading into this competition. Among my opponents are legendary coach and athlete Ken Carter, Major Nelson Tate - a highly trained law enforcement officer and the defending champion - and Shannon Sudbury, a former college athlete with a national title ring on his finger.
Robert Coleman, Scooter Griffin, Bruce Pearson, Judge Bennie Warrington, Joe Henry Smith, Mario Edwards and Clarence Stinson are all also sure to be formidable opponents.
These are fine men and I admire them all, but on Saturday at 1 p.m. they better be prepared for battle. If any of my opponents decides to withdraw from the competition and declare me the champion after reading about my intense training regimen, I will think no less of them.
Like Rocky, I will be entering Saturday’s contest with “The Eye of the Tiger.”
I’ve chased the child until I caught him, lifted the rocks and chopped the wood. I’ve even raised my arms in victory after successfully running to the top of my driveway.
Now if I can just get that hula hoop to spin.