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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)

By Paul Potenza


He is 11 years old...short and fat. Picture the kid on "A Christmas Story" (You'll shoot your eye out with that thing) and you'll have a clear picture. He desperately wants to be Chuck Conners on the old "Rifleman" series which was filmed right around the same time. He hears all the things that people say when they are describing him. "Cute little fat cheeks" say various aunts. Tailors describe him as "Husky". When Momma introduces him as her baby, the initial response is "Baby what?? ELEPHANT?!?!" Ah those wacky adults. Ya gotta love 'em. Of course the guys and gals at the local school are more gracious about it. (NOT!) There is a girl named Gina that he has a life threatening crush on. One day she points at his inflated tummy and shrieks out, loud enough to be audible on MARS..."I think you're PREGNANT!!"

He is 14 years old. He has made a decision to get in shape or die. He joins the wrestling team and, miracle of miracles, he becomes a jock. He is actually SOUGHT after by the guys and gals that had shunned him before. But he has an empty feeling in his much flatter belly. It is the summer of love so he does a lot of hitchhiking. You see, he is a runaway. On his journeys, he notices that a lot of people are hurting because they are missing something.

He is 17 years old. He now has an apartment. No more life on the street. No more diving into dumpsters for his one meal a day. But he sees that HE is hurting. He wonders about that.

He remembers his Pop. Old Poppy was the BEST influence in his life. Poppy had taught him about God. Nothing heavy handed, mind you. Just that to be physically fit was important, but to be SPIRITUALLY fit was MUCH more important. One night in the streets of Providence, Rhode Island, he remembered a scripture. That scripture said "If you draw near to God, He will draw near to you". So he said to God..."Look God, I'm going to look for you with everything that I have. If you're going to send me to Hell, You're going to have to do it because YOU haven't made the effort, not because I haven't." And so he started his spiritual workout plan.

He is 51 years old. He still talks with God every day. I'll grant you that some of his conversations are not for the faint of heart, but to be honest with you, I think that his Father understands. Workouts take a toll. But I'll tell you something else. He is surprised at the number of people who come to him for advice. He never would have dreamed that anyone would think of him as FIT.

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This article has been read 541 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 02/22/07
I liked the little snippets of this man's life, and the general format.

Grammar and structure could use a bit of polishing in places, but there was nothing major.

I liked the connection to the spiritual health at the end. Keep writing!
Donna Powers 02/22/07
A very nice way to look at this man's life and an interesting take on the topic. Nice work
Helen Paynter02/24/07
I enjoyed this potted biography. I struggled a bit with the first paragraph, but probably becaseu I didn't get all the cultural allusions - being from the other side of the Atlantic. Well done.
Marilyn Schnepp 03/01/07
You've done it again, my Favorite writer!! Great job of telling it like it is...from childhood to manhood. Loved the straight forward way you handled life with a dash of wit intermingled with the down side of said subject. Always leaves me with something to muse, ponder and think about. Missed you last week Pauly! Stay the Course...don't be absent! Orders from headquarters...lol (PS: And I've been one of those earth travelers asking the man for advice, too) and "HE IS"....always there.