Jeff Pearlman

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In search of a new sport

Photo on 2010-12-29 at 09.39

I’m 37-years old, and I think I need a new sport.

For three decades, I’ve been a runner. Ran my first 10K at age 8, and have probably competed in, oh, 500 road races. Partook in high school and college (badly) track and cross country. Have run 11 marathons. Always thought of my legs as indestructible, because I’ve never been badly injured … never broke down.

Now, to my great sadness, I’m breaking down. My left knee is a big bony lump. It hurts whenever I try and run, whether it’s a jog or a sprint; whether it’s grass or pavement. I’m extremely down, because running has brought me so much joy. But I don’t want to be one of these guys, 50-years old and limping around, trying to dig out one last marathon before breaking out the cane.

So, I ask, what can be my new sport? I play hoops every Thursday night, but I’m looking for something else. Something fun, something that doesn’t destroy knees, something that relieves stress and gives a guy time to think.

Anyone …

  • Jason

    take up photography. youll end up doing a lot of slow paced walking around. and youll see the world a little differently.

  • Jason

    i mean, not that i consider photography to be a sport, obviously. but you know what i mean.

  • jeff

    ive been a swimmer all my life, and ive always been amazed about how easy it is to think in the pool, even during races. its almost completely silent when you swim, and your arms make a sort of rhythmic splashing in the water.

    and its no impact, so your joints will be saved.

  • Matty

    Tiger Woods Golf 2010 on the Wii, though it can cause elbow problems if you swing too hard. It’s a lot cheaper and less time-consuming than actually playing golf. Resisting…urge…for Tiger joke…

  • Steve

    I know it sounds kind of lame (I grew up playing team sports, so I thought so too at first), but disc golf is a lot of fun. It’s easy to get started and there’s plenty of walking. Don’t know if there are any courses in NYC, but it might be worth checking out

  • Cycling?

  • Golf.

    In a group or with a buddy is fine, but if you’re looking for peace and inner-reflection just pop in the iPod ear-buds and go alone.

    Easily my favorite activity.

  • Larry

    cycling works, but takes up too much time–especially if you’re looking to replace the cardio a run provides. Swimming works. And for sheer coping with life’s frustrations hit the weights.

  • Andy

    Poker. You can totally get on ESPN in that sport!

  • Perry

    I had to quit running 3 or 4 years ago, just after hitting 50, after 35 years or so. (Spinal disk collapse, not caused by running but it made it worse.) I switched from occasional cycling to daily cycling, and absolutely love it. I ride about 2500 miles from April-October, and in winter I ride a trainer while reading or watching TV. It’s great fun (well, the real bike is, the trainer’s tolerable), and no aches or pains ever.

  • Justin S.

    I second those who said cycling. I’m the captain of a university cycling team and work in a bike shop, and I see people coming in every day with bodies worn out from impact-heavy sports. At the same time, I know guys who are 70 years old and can smoke me in a race. It’s great for your knees (assuming you are fit correctly to your bike) and it keeps you in great shape. The best part, though, is that no matter where you go you will always be able to find people to ride with at every skill level. Cyclists are some of the friendliest and intelligent athletes out there, and will always welcome rookies into a group.

    If you have any questions about the sport or getting into it, shoot me an email.

  • Gerry

    I love cycling. But why not triathlons? You can run a little to keep the running buzz going but the swimming and cycling allow you to save your body by cross-training and they are also aerobic.

  • Ultimate frisbee is a blast. And then there is stryker (some people would argue it isn’t a sport, but I think its pretty sweet). Oh, and the good ole’ midwestern corn-hole, no I’m not making it up!

  • Can’t go wrong with Bocce Ball

  • Jim Aitken

    Weightlifting? Work the legs back into shape.!
    seriously though I know a lot of ex runners who have switched to cycling or swimming.

  • SF

    Cycling. Road or mountain, either one.

    It’s as addictive as running. But you get to buy more cool gear.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life