Sean McCawley Fit for Life: 'Dad, can you play catch with me?'
Fit for Life

Sean McCawley Fit for Life: 'Dad, can you play catch with me?'

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Sean McCawley

Sean McCawley 

lt’s Sunday morning. The weather has been starting off in the high 50s and fluctuating into the low 60s as you open your eyes and arise from your slumber.

As the summer solstice of June yielded the longest day of the year over this past weekend, birds can be heard performing a symphony of chirps, squawks, and cackles as they bask in the glory of the refreshing morning sun. The week has been hard worked and strenuous. Earning a living, commuting to work, important phone calls, and making critical decisions takes a lot of gumption to complete.

As your aching feet touch the ground walking down the hallway, your beloved sofa calls your name, wooing you to meld yourself into its velvety, soft, welcoming arms. You figure you deserve this offer proposed by the welcoming, sitting, relaxation device. Besides, you busted your butt all week.

Obliging the beckoning of the sofa, you rotate 180 degrees to freefall backward. The cushions of the couch absorb your fall like the crash pad after a pole vaulter has cleared an Olympic level high jump. A feeling of elation falls over you. Your joints ache but feel the much-needed relief they desire as you kick your recliner up to elevate your feet. A remote control belonging to your neglected television is sited from your peripheral vision. Yet another breath-taking addition to your quintessential relaxing morning unfolding in impeccable fashion.

As you reach for the remote, your mind gives a preview of sports highlights, streaming Netflix and Hulu shows, and mind-numbing sitcoms you have been longing to catch up on. Just one more movement of your thump to power on the television will unveil total rapture.

Then a faint sound can be heard down the hallway, emanating from another room in the house. “Dad, can you play catch with me?”

The visions of grandeur watching “SportsCenter” has reached a screeching halt as you hear your sweet child’s voice. As your relaxed neck muscle turns your gaze to your child holding her softball glove, your knee-jerk response might be, “How about a little later today?”

But you just can’t bring yourself to that level. Championships in the 10-year-old age bracket need to be won. Your daughter needs the practice to crush the poor team that will be facing her unrelenting pitching.

“Sure, honey.” As your body reverses its gears from relaxation mode, your knees ache getting off the sofa. As you walk to the garage to find your baseball mitt, your feet begin to feel tender and aching.

Practice has begun. Your daughter throws you the ball and you catch it. No problem. As you prepare to toss the ball back to your daughter, you feel a sharp pain in your lower back. Like someone just threw a manhole cover at your spine like a Frisbee.

Back muscles seizing, your Sunday morning catching session ended before it began. Those days of the starting high school shortstop on the varsity team aren’t like you recalled them to be. The simple task of throwing a ball 10 meters seems to have gotten lost as your steady job took over your time redefining your athletic abilities and the health of your body when your kids need it the most.

Stories like these are commonly shared by our personal training clients, who are beginning fitness programs. Sharp pains when performing athletic activities after a few years’ hiatus from sports and recreational activities you were accustomed to do can serve as reminders to ensure you allocate attention to the well-being of your body.

Once we stop practicing a skill, resuming that activity is a challenge. Keeping that tempo and rhythm is critically important for our lifetime fitness efforts. It’s easy to get lost in the time we spend in our work lives. Sure, we have to support ourselves and family. There are mortgages and health insurance bills that need to be paid. However, if we devote 50, 60, even 80 hours a week to our jobs and neglect movement of the body, getting back into recreational fitness is going to be a struggle.

Reserving time for yourself to refine the strength and performance of the body is necessary not only to be able to play catch with your kids, but also for the longevity of your life. Regular physical activity will help us to be more productive in our workdays, have clear thoughts, and be ready to play catch at will. We don’t want to lose our physical and athletic abilities.

Set time aside to throw the ball, catch a Frisbee or wrestle with your kids a few times a week. Kids need organized physical activity for their development. We need to engage in regular physical activity for our own well-being as well. Work and the stresses of life aren’t going anywhere. Focus on your own physical well being so we can contribute to what we feel is important in our lives and keeps us an athletic, physically active, and elite-performing human.

Sean McCawley, the founder and owner of Napa Tenacious Fitness in Napa, CA, welcomes questions and comments. Reach him at 707-287-2727, or visit the website

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