A few months ago, my family doctor told me that I had high cholesterol. He prescribed Pravachol, the exact same medication both my parents take (is there too much Jewish deli food in my family’s genes?) This disturbed me, mostly because who wants to take the same medication as his parents? It also made me feel old. Soon, I’ll be pulling out that that same medicine container with the twenty-five different pills they take each morning. So far, I haven’t taken one pill. I hate taking medications.
I went online to find alternatives to lowering your cholesterol. I’m drinking grape juice every day. I tried taking Niacin, but it made me feel like I was having a "hot flash." I’ve taken Metamucil because studies show that the fiber lowers cholesterol. I eat pretty healthy, so I know that’s not it. If there is a problem in my life, it’s a lack of consistent exercise.
I belong to 24 hour Fitness, but I find going to the gym boring. What I’d really like to do is play in some team sport. I love playing sports. Unfortunately, I’m a mediocre to poor player in almost every activity. When I was younger, I played on all sorts of teams because when you’re a kid they have to let you play, no matter how awful you are.
I was in the Queens Athletic League (QAL) Little League for six years. I played right field, of course. My lifetime batting average was .100, which I thought was pretty good, since a 100 in school was like an A+. I couldn’t hit, I couldn’t catch, I couldn’t run. I loved it.
I was also on my temple’s basketball team (Israel Center of Hillcrest Manor or ICHM, as we called it). I was a notch better in basketball mostly because I was tall. Howie, the coach, always gave me the same advice, "Just stand with your hands up and pass the ball to someone who can shoot."
One season, I accumulated 0 points. I was so jealous of my best friend Tuck who managed to get off a total of 1 point during a lucky free throw. Playing basketball was so much fun.
I played soccer, tennis, and volleyball. I was terrible in everything and enjoyed it all.
Then something happened in high school. Playing sports became a serious business. Only the good players really played ball, while the brainy nerds avoided the gym like the plague. Little by little, all the crappy players were weeded out of team sports. By college, my sports days were over.
Some critics have said that Title IX, which was passed into law in 1972, has had the unfortunate effect of hurting men’s sports programs. Title IX required that there be equal opportunties for male and female athletic programs. This has been great boon for women and sports, and women now participate in all sorts of college and intramural sports they hadn’t before. But since men’s football and basketball eat up much of the men’s money, many of the intramural sports for men were dumped.
Where can I find a game today? The basketball players at Venice Beach seem like semi-pros. The male volleyball players at Manhattan Beach have chests the size of my thighs. All the soccer players grew up playing soccer in Mexico or Europe. Who would want me?
A former literary agent once tried to convince me to join Gary Marshall’s popular Hollywood basketball league. The league consists of top writers and young aggressive agents, and my agent thought it would be a great way to network. I told him that if I played on one of these teams, it would surely mean that I would never work in Hollywood again. This was a big shock to me — even to become a WRITER, of all things, you were expected to be a decent athlete.
Would anyone in Los Angeles like to start up a sports league consisting of really shitty players?
Maybe I’ll just stick to the Pravachol.