Monday, August 27, 2007

No Surrender

Last Saturday morning I had breakfast at Pier Village in Long Branch, NJ. When I left the restaurant, one individual amongst the dozens on the sidewalk caught my eye from over 100 feet away. From what I could tell he looked to be in his late 50's yet was dressed like someone in their 20's. Multiple earrings, a chain wallet, camo shorts, a long sleeve t with a short sleeve t shirt over it and sunglasses and a hat pulled low. His t-shirt even fit properly, which is the signal of a cool dude. When you are young and cool you wear fairly short (3-4 inches below the belt) t-shirts and long shorts. When you are old and/or just not cool, you strangely start increase the length of your t-shirts (5-8 inches below the belt) and decrease the length of your shorts (above the knee). This is something that I never understood and have been trying recently to pinpoint exactly when this happened. Nowadays when I hang out with my dad and his friends they are all dressed like me and my friends were when we were going to a Naughty By Nature concert back in '93. Except with short shorts and loafers. But the XXXL shirts are in full effect. Think Sly Stallone in that racing movie about 5-8 years back. When I get sucked into watching golf with him, I notice that all the 40-50 year old golfers are also rocking this look. I was happy to see Tiger Woods recently wearing a shirt that fit him. Hopefully he can bring this trend to an end.

But I digress...

As this mysterious figure got closer, I thought "who the hell is this dude?". When he first caught my eye he was walking out of Gold's Gym and it was apparent that he had just worked out. For some reason I couldn't look away because I just wanted to see what this guy looked like up close. I also was hoping that I would be cool enough to still dress like that at his age.

When he got within two feet of me I still couldn't make out his face that clearly. He was about 5'9" at best and 165lbs. When he nearly brushed shoulders with me I realized it was Bruce. Now if you're from Jersey you don't need the last name; if you are not, it was Bruce Springsteen (If you're from the NY/NJ area you also know that there is only one LT and he wore number 56 not number 21). Since Born In The USA was the first tape I ever owned (as I once mentioned HERE)
and I have been a huge fan for over 20 years, I was star struck for one of the rare times in my life. We both walked into the same coffee shop and nearly plowed into each other en route to the counter. Nobody recognized him and I didn't want to draw attention so I quietly patted him on the back and thanked him for all the years of great music. He shook my hand and thanked me with the trademark gravely voice and was on his way.

Shortly afterward, I recalled how my friends dad used to tell me about stories of training in the same gym as Bruce down the shore all through the 80's when he lived in the area. Apparently he was in the gym four days per week, religiously, lifting and doing cardio. It was great to see that all these years later, The Boss is still training as hard as ever.

Unfortunately I still hear excuses from countless people that they are too old or too banged up. You're not. You're never too old to start training and no matter how old you get you should never stop.

I walked into Golds afterward to check it out since I intended to train before going to the beach. It was a little to pretty for my liking and I instead chose Jakes Gym down the street but while I was there I asked the guy at the front desk how often Bruce comes in. He told me he was there at least 4-5 days per week lifting, doing cardio (since he is "Born to Run"), stretching or a combination of all of the above.

If The Boss can do it at 57 years old, you can too. "No retreat, baby, no surrender..."