I admit it.
I've never been much of an athlete.
At least not in the past 15 years.
Of course, when I was a kid, there was nothing I wouldn't and didn't play.
Basketball, football, baseball, tennis, duck-duck-goose, anti-I-over, jacks. I did it all.
But in recent years, I've slipped into the sedentary lifestyle of your average adult.
Sure, I did some working out, made some trips to the gym - but it was strictly non-competitive.
I guess I've started playing some golf in the past few years and I can honestly say that hasn't been much of a competitive venture either.
But this winter, I resumed my "career" in competitive sports by playing on a recreation basketball team.
We weren't much of a team, more like a group of misfits. While most basketball teams are made up of point guards, centers and power forwards, our team was composed of musicians, longhairs and loafers (I fell into the last two groups unitl I got a haircut, then just the last one).
I was probably the worst player on the team, which was saying something considering we had a former high school wrestling champ as our sixth man.
So this spring I went about changing my status as one of the worst rec basketball players in the city.
I started playing in noon games at the local YMCA a few times a week and actually started to see some improvement in my "game."
And just when I started to make some progress, tragedy struck.
Well, not quite tragedy, but injury. And to an old, washed-up "athlete," an injury is a tragedy.
While trying to make some absurd baseline spin move during one of the games, I stepped on a defender's foot and twisted my ankle. Down I went like a 270-pound sack of potatoes (now that's carb-loading), writhing in pain. My ankle swelled up like a hot air balloon and it was so bruised it looked like it just went the distance in a 15-round heavyweight prize fight.
For the last week, I've hobbled around like a bellicose pirate with a peg leg.
Sports editor Michael Linnell even tagged me with the nickname "Bum Wheel Bieri."
Fortunately, I have good sources in the sports medicine world. While covering some fastpitch softball games, I picked the brains of professional athletic trainers Kevin Melby and Robyn Gust, who gave me some recovery tips.
If nothing else, it's been a good training tool for sportswriting. I've written plenty of stories of actual athletes who have recovered from injuries to regain success.
Now I've experienced the injury and the recovery firsthand.
As for my brief career as an "athlete," I think I'll be continuing to cover the success part of athletics from the sidelines.
(Chris Bieri is a sportswriter for The Minot Daily News. He can be reachedby e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)