By DARREN HANDSCHUH
It would be comical if it wasn't so painful.
It started when a good friend of mine asked if I would like to go play squash sometime.
Having never played the game before in my life and not being too bright, I said "sure, why not."
As the day of the sports adventure neared, I was assaulted by a nasty cold and was forced to cancel - perhaps a warning that a day of squash would turn into a day of "that really, really hurts."
But paying no heed to the divine cautioning, we decided to reschedule the little competition.
We had the squash court thingy booked, my buddy, Bruce, had two rackets, I borrowed some of those stylish squash eye protectors and was ready to hit that stupid little blue ball around for 45 minutes or so.
The first game went well, and I even managed to score a point - one single point. But for my first time ever playing squash, that is not too bad.
Sure my buddy had already amassed eight points, but that one little point was enough to stave off defeat - until his next service and then it was game over.
I scored a whopping two points in the next game and could feel my squash prowess blossoming.
By the time we started the last game, I was a mad man possessed by the spirit of some long-dead famous squash player type guy.
I was zooming all over the court with lightning speed. OK, maybe zooming is a little to much. How about sprinting. Still too much. OK, how about lumbering as fast as I could in an effort to hit that stupid little blue ball. Much better.
But I was starting to get the hang of it. I played lots of tennis when I was a kid and then lots of raquetball as a teen, so the basic principles were the same - hit the stupid little ball.
The problem is, as I get older gravity seems to increase, slowing me down and making running a lot harder than it should ever be.
In the last game, Bruce and I were locked in a battle of monumental proportions, and much to everyones surprise, I actually managed to pull ahead by a single point.
That's when things went a tad wonky. You see, I am in the middle of my F years and while life may begin at 40, it does not begin without a closet full of painkillers, ointments and vitamin supplements.
Bruce is in his early 50s and is in great shape (for an "old guy" anyway.)
We both have several nagging injuries from our youth - who doesn't - and we were both afflicted with those injures in rapid succession.
I began the parade of pain when a bone spur started acting up in my heel. Can you say ouch? But having dealt with the boo-boo on many occasions I decided to push on and continue the contest.
Minutes later, on what would turn out to be the last play of the game, Bruce lunged for the stupid little ball, let out a weird groaning/wailing/grunting sound and hit the ground.
He lay there for a bit, making a funny noise and I thought he was simply goofing around as he often does.
But when he did not get up and began moaning about his back, I realized something was amiss so I hobbled over and found he really needed some help.
Eventually a staffer helped me to basically carry my friend to my van where I laid him in the back and drove him home.
It was quite a sight. I could barely walk and Bruce could not even stand on his own. The joys of getting older are plenty.
I got Bruce home safe and sound, and as he was using a pair of crutches to haul himself across the room he looked over his shoulder and said with all seriousness, "So, uh, same time next week."
Let me think about it and I will get back to you because it will take me at least a week to heal.