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Back in high school, I used to squat somewhere in the low to mid 400s. Anyone that has played a lot of hockey can attest that hockey legs are a thing. Sadly, playing the grinder style has taken a toll on the ol’ body (35 stiches, 8 staples), and when I get up in the morning, it sounds like someone is breaking branches. Such is life for anyone that played competitive contact sports, and at 26, I feel like an old man. I have no idea how the pros do it.
Anyway, with my knees in the shape they are in, and with no necessity to actually be in sports form, I did what many retired high school athletes did when they got to college: started playing beer league and drinking gratuitous amounts of beer. I still went to the rec center quite regularly, but one exercise group was absent: leg days.
I know, I know, “don’t let your friends skip leg day.” I assure you, I look nothing like a real life Johnny Bravo. I still get a burn walking up the eight flights of stairs, two games of beer league hockey a week, and I regularly go hiking, but the wear and tear plus the inevitable wobbly legs for a week make me dread any form of leg exercise.
Not too long ago, I had an epiphany and decided, “I should really get my legs going and try to do a leg day.” Fall beer league hockey begins soon, so why not get a jump on things? Besides, I walk all those steps every day. How hard could it be?
After changing and only seeing two naked geriatrics at the gym (a pretty low number), I felt the gods had smiled upon me. Today was the day to get back to my high school form, Uncle Rico be damned. In high school, I had to order special jeans because my ass was so thick from skating and caddying 12 months out of the year, I would often split my pants in the crotch area.
To be completely honest, I have no idea why I wanted to do this; maybe just to prove I can. I strutted into the gym, mental workout list in my head ready to do some squats.
I threw on 135, just to see what it was like. Still got it. Threw on 225, ten reps, like it was nothing. Here’s where I made a mistake: I bumped up to 315. I got to three before quitting. “Not so bad, but with lots of work, I could get back to my old former fitness.”
From there, weighted lunges, leg press and box jumps. My legs begged me to stop, but it made me want to lift more. Here’s where I made my second error: I sat down for more than five minutes. Standing up was awful, and I looked like Forrest Gump when he had leg braces.
After slowly navigating back to my car, I had to pull myself up and into it. My legs were paying for my overzealous sins, and I knew I was fucked. I debated calling the woman to pick me up but realized I got myself into this mess and I had to get out of it.
Driving was difficult. Stopping was harder due to having to press down. After coming to the stoplight, a mere mile away from my chateau of an apartment, I made my third error: not using my left foot for the brake and right foot for gas. There are few circumstances when this is warranted, and “I haven’t done leg day in five years” is one of them. After trying to move my semi-paralyzed leg to stop, I accidentally hit the accelerator and rear ended the person in front of me going 5 mph.
I’ve been in three accidents, but I had never been in an accident that was my fault until that point. The woman I hit was very nice, and there was no damage to either car. I politely apologized 100 times and gave her all my information. She was gracious and understanding. She also ended up calling me later that week while I was visiting my old fraternity house, drunk and with loud, profanity-laced rhythms in the background, and told me not to worry about any insurance claims. I thanked her again profusely and vowed to never do leg day again.
The aftermath was rough. With a bruised ego, I had to admit to my woman I had been in a car accident. My previously clean record now tarnished (although no points or insurance claim), and I ate my share of humble pie. I also had to take the elevator for three days, and people constantly asked me if had injured myself. No, Catherine, I did not injure my body. Just a little of my pride. .