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Oh, we know why we’re here

Don Rogers

We do take our exercise seriously. That’s hardly a profundity. This fact shows up in just about every corner of life in the High Country.

I mused on this – must have been my denial, disassociation, just plain not wanting to deal with it – while the knee doc delivered bad news last week. “… You’ve got the knee for bicycling and swimming … ,” I heard.

Great. I run and play basketball. Or did. Only time I swam was between wipeouts retrieving the board. That was quite awhile ago, when I scrimped on gas money for dates and surfing by otherwise riding a bike everywhere. I was going to college and wildland firefighting then. I’m not telling how long ago that was.

“… Doing anything that would encourage you to play basketball would be like giving a pack of cigarettes to a guy with lung cancer …”

On the bright side, he said I could still snowboard. Just stay off the bumps.

Ha! I go straight to the bump runs.

Or did.

No wonder the knee is so trashed the doc didn’t want to touch it.

But what impressed me was the focus on exercise. My last knee doc, in Syracuse, N.Y., just wanted to know whether I stayed active or not. So many people there had long since lapsed into couch potatohood by my age. Why should he bother with sewing the knee back together if I wasn’t going to use the thing? That was the other knee, the good one now.

Here, we get into which specific activity should be in or out, and the doctor’s interest in recreation practically comes through his pores. “Lifestyle change” means going to different workouts, not whether to maybe start exercising. Also, there’s such a variety of ways to get and keep fit here.

Let’s just say the quality of the conversation echoed the quality of life we enjoy here – or for those angry souls obsessing over big boxes and parking and government spending on open space, the quality that still exists in abundance and maybe would do your blood pressure some good to focus on. Or quit threatening and really do go move to Montana.

Our fitness ethic comes through everywhere I look. Coworkers come back from weekends with tales of riding to Aspen and back, or hiking, camping, running. My rival editor at the Trail recalls his Denver ski squid days between taking shots at that always awful Daily. I read about Sheriff Joe Hoy going on bike rides during lunch hour – so much for the potbellied image of a country boy head of law enforcement. This ain’t Macon.

I get far more gossip from what folks heard at “the gym” than at the bar. Soon, the chair-lift socializing will again yield better information about our collective state of mind than any Gallup poll.

For all the valley’s civilizing touches, there’s still an electric undertow on weekdays whenever we’re graced with a powder day. The slopes still matter to most of us, whatever “lifestyle” phase the consultants peg for our community’s current state of evolution.

It’s seldom long before our complaints about suburbanization or the state of the local economy (and whose fault it might be) break into discussions about runs, conditions, how many days we’re going to try to get in this season – the real reasons we’re here. I don’t think many residents have forgotten, not really.

Not even doctors dispensing wise advice to middle-aged fellas with the knees of an 80-year-old to find a smoother workout regimen.

Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 600, or editor@vaildaily.com


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