An excerpt from Play Through the Foul - Basketball Lessons for the Game of Life by Vera Jones from Chapter 2 – "The Power of Perseverance: Get In Shape, Stay In Shape"
My greatest revelation of the value of getting into shape and then staying there was still yet to be realized. A year after I began my fitness quest, I moved to a new neighborhood. Excited to see the homes in the community and chart out a new route for my fitness walks and runs, I headed down the main street in my sub-development. As I walked past one of the homes, I noticed the garage door was up. There was a large black SUV in the driveway. Unbeknown to me, on the other side of that SUV was a matching large black Rottweiler!
A deep-throated “Roo-roo-roo-roo-roof!” echoed in my ears from this gigantic, ferocious animal that sounded like he was the vocal prodigy of Barry White and Darth Vader. Every hair on my body stood on end. It felt like my spine sent an electrical shock up into my heart, throat and eyes while simultaneously running through my bladder and down into my knees!
With the barking Cujo-the-killer-dog beast on the chase, I took off running in a world-record breaking sprint past at least ten houses before I dared to look back. I promise you I had never run so fast in my entire life!
The Rottweiler must have been on a long chain, because when I did gather up the courage to look back over my shoulder, he was sniffing around in the grass in his front yard. He seemed to have a smirk on his face like, “Hah, hah, hah! Did you see how fast she ran? I terrified another one! I still got it!”
I took it upon myself to feel pretty proud too, even in my hysteria.
“Wow! Did you see how big that monster was? I can’t believe how fast I got away! Thank God I’m in shape! I’m not even tired. I think I might have peed on myself, but I’m not tired! Whew, you go girl!”
In the midst of this ridiculously haughty celebration, my heart was still pounding through my chest from the big black Rottweiler scare. That’s when I looked down on the sidewalk, only to see a big black snake two steps in front of me! Expletives of the triple-X kind screeched out my mouth. I straddle-leaped into the air at what felt like the length and height of a stretch limousine. I was sure I heard the bionic sound effects of Steve Austin, the Six-Million Dollar Man, ring out from my loins when I finally reconnected with the sidewalk.
It felt like fire ants were engulfing my entire body as I shook in fear and disbelief. A huge black Rottweiler at my back, and then a four-foot black snake underfoot? Surely there must have been a black cloud overhead! Was there a “Scare Vera to Death” holiday I didn’t know about?
My heart was racing and before I knew it I was crying….no I was laughing….no, crying. I’m not sure what kind of schizophrenic, out-of-body fit I was experiencing, but in the midst of it, I was still marveling at how in shape I was.
“A lesser being would have had a coronary right there on the spot, likely just from the dog. But I endured the dog and the snake, back-to-back! How many other people can honestly say they could survive that madness? I’ve got to put this in a book!”
As I continued down the street in my hysterically motivated self-glorification, a very important yet disturbing thought occurred to me. This street in my lovely, new, dog and snake infested neighborhood ended in a cul-de-sac. I was at a dead end. There was no other way home but to turn around and walk back up the way I came down.
“Are you kidding me?” I screamed out loud to no one listening. I didn’t have a cell phone to call anyone to come get me. I didn’t know any of my new neighbors, and if I did the smelly mix of fear and sweat tainting my entire body was truly a bad introductory look for me. I knew I could likely avoid the snake if I walked on the other side of the street, provided it had not slithered over there to maniacally outwit me already. But what about the dog? What if he wasn’t on a chain? I never really stopped to see. In all of this madness, I realized I had but one thing on my side beyond my faith: I had finally gotten in shape and stayed that way. I could make it past “Cujo.”
It would be a tough and ugly job, but I had to do it!