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Can I get a breath?

I caught myself with too much time on my hands on a recent weekend and spent 15 or 20 minutes mesmerized by an afternoon reality show.

It's ominous title: When Good Pets Go Bad.

Now, when I saw what show was up next - right after World's Scariest Police Chases #2,701 - I had no choice. I had to stay and watch.

As soon as the teaser videos started I knew I'd been had. As the overly-serious announcer put it: "They are mad as hell, and they won't take it anymore."

Right.

In 15 minutes, I was the same way.

Up first was the obligatory shots of angry pit bull attacks. (I know what you are thinking: "A pit bull attacking someone? Surely you jest.")

Now, peeved pit bulls are one thing - and, while I'm not sure I'd consider owning one, they are thought of as "pets." But, for some reason, When Good Pets Go Bad then shifted to other animals.

They showed videos of crazed lions, elephants and bears. (Oh, my!) There was even a moose that served as a college mascot, until he lost his Bullwinkle-esque personality.

Anyone out there have to take the family lion outside for a bathroom break?

I didn't think so.

But with the sensational nature of our world these days, I can't really blame the bad pet producers. I'm sure they felt like showing an hour of housecats clawing their owners just wouldn't cut it with viewers. The phrase "If it bleeds, it leads" - meaning the more gorier the details, the more you'll hear about it - has all-too-often become a mantra in television - and in other media.

But that's another soapbox for another day.

AS I STOOD sweating and light-headed in the hot, humid Screven County evening last Friday night, I came to grips with a harsh, harsh reality: I'm getting too old for this. Or maybe I've had too many cheeseburgers for this.

Either way, I now totally understand the emphasis on physical conditioning and the heat concessions coaches make for athletes.

I understand it - and I really wish I'd have done something about it before now.

But no.

I huffed and puffed (and almost blew chunks all the over the Gamecocks' house) along the sidelines. At halftime, I wheezed my way up the ladder to the press box. Then it was back to the field.

I chugged the requisite water (Thanks, Anna!), and wiped away as much sweat as a handkerchief would take. Yes, I took a handkerchief to do a beach towel's job.

But, just like our local athletes, it's early in the season, and I'm going to have a few miscues. And, just like them, as long as I learn my lesson and don't make the same mistake twice - it'll all be OK.

So to all those local players on the high school and college fields this fall, remember this: There's a fat man behind you all the way.

Just give me a second to catch my breath.



Web posted on Thursday, August 31, 2006













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