The New Middle Ages

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July 25, 2011 by David Gillaspie



Learn to avoid competition with your kids. It might start out innocent, but that’s not how it ends.

If you must prove you’re not as old as they think you are, review your parenting to make sure they have no hidden grudges they’ll try to work out in the context of sport.

Did you play catch with your kid when they were young?


Did you play the sort of catch where you threw a ball at them as hard as you could then yelled at them if they didn’t catch it?

If that’s the sort of catch you played, never play baseball with them as adults.

If they’re the pitcher and you’re the batter, look for high and inside. In other words, you’re either going down or getting beaned.

You’re on the same team with your adult kid and he’s the short stop to your second base? On a double play ball he’s firing it at you from close range and you’re taking it in the chest.

Don’t be angry when he asks why you didn’t catch it. Payback, as always, is never deserved, but you know better.

When they invite you to play a game of HORSE, go at your own risk.

Do you like looking awkward and clumsy? No one does, but Shawn Marion threw us all a lifeline this year. The guy has a freaky-weird shot that starts from his waist.

It goes in for him and it’ll go in for you.

Shoot like Shawn Marion and you still shoot like an NBA player, the one with an awkward, clumsy shot. Win a game of HORSE with that shot and you know you’ve done more than expected.


If you beat your own kids in HORSE, take your game to your friend’s college-age kids in their driveway.

Take Shawn Marion’s shot with you.

Be sure to tell them you’ve not trying to hurt their feelings by beating them with the worst looking shot ever taken; remind them to warm up really good.

If one of them says, “I’ve been known to play lots of basketball,” all the better.

Take note of where they shoot best from; once you start draining the Marion shot, beat them from their best place.

If you’ve read this far, you’re either old and looking for an edge, or young and looking for revenge.

Maybe your kids won’t play HORSE anymore because you not only shoot like Shawn Marion and win, you do a play-by-play for each shot to drive them nuts.

The friend’s kids won’t play either because they think you cheat.

Look for friends of friends for the next competition.


You know what you’re supposed to do in a lap pool? Swim, right? But the Lap Pool Pentathlon is more than swimming.

You’ve been to the gym, explained the Lap Pool Pentathlon to your kid’s friend, and they want to compete?

Just say yes.

Explain the events again.

1. Running forward one length of the 25 meter pool.

2. Running backward for one length.

3. Swim the crawl one length.

4. Swim the breast stroke one length.

5. Swim underwater as far as you can.

Set the time and place and show up. Sunday at 3 pm. If the other guy doesn’t show up, you win by default, but you still need to post the times.

1. Running forward in a 25 meter pool that starts at three feet and drops to four and a half feet in the deep end: 25 seconds.

2. Running backward: 27 seconds.

3. Swimming the crawl: 19.5 seconds.

4. Breast stroke: 28 seconds.

5. Underwater: three-quarters of the pool length

After you’re done, skip happy hour at the local watering hole where the loser had to buy beers. Instead, pick up a Beck’s Bomber or three and go home and watch SEAL training video to build a better Lap Pool Pentathlon.

You are the champion, my friend.


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