Last week, I wrote an April Fools column to try and make people laugh a little during a tough situation.
It is important to not lose our focus on things that are important. Our situation will get better.
However, we still must adjust for possibly the next few months until it is business as usual.
I was forced to adjust last weekend when Gov. Tate Reeves issued a stay-at-home order that went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday. As a result “non-essential businesses” closed until at least April 20.
That was the first time the virus had a major direct impact on my life. It pains me to see people suffering health wise, economically and with the way their lives are disrupted in some way, shape or form. But my life went on, for the most part, as usual after the coronavirus outbreak until the “non-essential businesses” temporarily closed. I have been exercising at the local fitness center regularly, but it was one of the businesses that temporarily shut down when they stay-at-home order took effect. I personally believe fitness centers are essential businesses, but the fact is, others disagreed and mine closed.
My story of attempting to live a healthy lifestyle began in late 2010 and early 2011. Some of you may know I lost 150 to 200 pounds in 2011 and my story was in People Magazine. I was very public about my story in the newspaper.
Unfortunately, making my weight loss an issue in the workplace backfired. Without going into specifics, the response I received was disappointing. I became depressed and gained most of the weight back. I am telling my story now because there is a valuable lesson others may gain from it.
After close to six years of disappointment — around the fall of 2017 to be specific — I got passed those feelings and committed myself to trying to get my lifestyle back on track. It took nearly two years, but in late June 2019, I was living a healthy lifestyle in full force.
I was eating right and working out at the fitness center the way I should.
Nine months later, I am 75 to 80 pounds lighter. Then the fitness center I have gone to for years was forced to close. I still have 65 to 70 pounds to go, which means there is work to be done.
Even after I lose all of the weight, I want to make sure I keep living a healthy lifestyle. That means I will continue to exercise and eat right.
Now, with my fitness center closed, I will have to adjust.
I spent some of my Saturday and Sunday walking around the community in Lyon. I worked a little jogging into the routine. It was not the same as going to a fitness center, but it was legitimate exercise.
I also have to be more careful about what I eat. I always tried to eat right ever since I got my lifestyle back on track, but with the fitness center open, there was a little more margin for error. I could work a bad meal off on the weights and treadmill. I could shoot baskets, use the stepper and walk around the track at the fitness center.
Without access to those things, there is less room for a treat or having a bad day. That is not to say I cannot recover when I slip. It will just take more work to get back on track when I do not eat properly.
I also plan to buy a bicycle in the near future to help me get my health back on track.
As I said earlier, I am telling my story because there is a moral.
Local high school and junior college athletes are unable to play sports. That goes for everyone, not just those who play spring sports.
So far, eight senior high school athletes have committed to playing college basketball. Six of them are highlighted in this week’s Press Register.
Seven senior high school athletes signed to play college football.
It is very important our signees do not lose their momentum as they prepare for college athletics. The better JUCO athletes perform; the better chance they have of playing for a four-year school and, in some cases, continuing their education. The better athletes at four-year schools play, the better chance they of playing professional sports for a living.
The more an athlete stays in shape, the more alert he or she will be studying. That could lead to a better performance in the classroom.
Of course, I would like to see everyone in shape for their health.
Just as I am being forced to come up with alternative methods to improve my health, I encourage our athletes to take the same type of initiative.
Find other ways to exercise and prepare to play your sport while social distancing. There is no easy answer, but if you do not know what steps to take, I am sure your coaches have ideas (if they have not told you already).
Let’s not use the coronavirus as an excuse to get out of shape. Let’s find alternative methods for athletics and exercise. We can do it!