An investigation into a life lived in pursuit of physical greatness.
  1. Age 8: Soccer
    Decide my lack of talent on the field is indicative of my destiny as a goalkeeper. Affirm to coach my willingness to sacrifice body in service of the team. Purchase gloves that are less cool-looking than anticipated.
  2. Age 11: Fencing
    While at a summer camp in Maine that I would leave two weeks early because I was homesick, I begin a passionate year-long love affair with the foil (sabre was way too badass for me.) Buy all relevant equipment short of the tight little pants, which somehow looked worse when assembled than if I had gone all the way.
  3. Age 13: Wrestling
    Pressured by best friend to join 8th grade wrestling team, who had in turn been pressured by Phil Martignetti. Am forced by parents to wear a cup even though no one else does, giving me a conspicuous, orblike bulge. Am not half-bad at wrestling.
  4. Age 14: Cross Country
    Join team to fulfill Spring athletic requirement. Buy spiked sprinter's shoes and ritually cram a powerbar into my mouth SECONDS before the commencement of a race for optimal supplementation. Convinced I can set the high jump record for my school, because my school does not keep athletic records. Accept false glory when my time is confused with a kid who beat me by ten seconds in the sprint.
  5. Age 15: Ultimate Frisbee
    Find calling on the Ultimate pitch. Use phrases like "disc skills" and "German offense" confidently. Invite a girl I am lovelorn for to watch me play, make semi-heroic catch to impress her. Pour my guts out to her several weeks later while sitting on a rock outside of the math center, but she is about to graduate and I am too late. Play on a team that summer called Civil Discobedience.
  6. Age 16: Kung Fu
    Study for a few months with Sifu Lee on Boylston street. He introduces me to Dim Sum, making this the most important athletic pursuit of my life, in the grand scheme of things.
  7. Age 18: Basketball
    Join JV basketball team my senior year of high school, predominantly to stay in shape for Frisbee. Score four points the entire season, two of which were after the buzzer. Throw up a shot that the coach lovingly refers to as the most bizarre and errant offensive play he's ever seen.
  8. Age 26: MMA
    Decide to investigate uninvestigated corners of own masculinity. Attend 3-7 MMA classes where I am instructed to work only on choking someone and getting choked. Am repeatedly choked by an enormous Puerto Rican bouncer and a guy who called himself Hawk the Dragonslayer.
  9. Age 26: Strongman
    Join gym on 29th for men and women who compete in Strongman competitions. Under the oversight of a man named Hans, proceed to drag ship anchors and throw kegs. Lift a stone and a log, multiple times. Enjoy this quite a bit.
  10. Age 27: Gymnastics
    Decide to realize lifelong goal of proficiency as a gymnast. Purchase rings for home use and attend adult gymnastics classes where I am hampered by an almost jerky-like lack of flexibility. Doggedly continue to pursue the dream, struggling to admit that Rio 2016 is, perhaps, an unlikelihood.