I didn’t kill myself!
Brian Acton batting away a disk meant for Dave Filo
as Susan Churchill and Jesse MacNish look on
( from a game in May 2001 )

In a previous life (before the book, before the baby) I used to play ultimate Frisbee with friends at Yahoo. I played in the first Y! ultimate game, back in 1997, and fairly consistently for about four years. I wasn't outstanding, but wasn't too bad. Physically, I was in pretty good shape. (If you're not familiar, Ultimate Frisbee is like soccer with a Frisbee instead of a ball.)

Then, I started working on the book. With every waking moment not devoted to work going to the book, I soon turned into a blob (gaining 15 pounds over the two years working on it). Ugh. Then Anthony was born, and any thoughts of getting back in shape went out the window. Ugh.

I've long had random back aches, but once when Anthony was 7 months old (two years ago), I was carrying him and my back just “went out” (whatever that means -- I effectively couldn't walk for three weeks after). Since then, on my best days, my back only hurts a lot. It's horrible. It's gotten so that on some days I'm so scared about how my back will hurt that it starts to hurt all on its own. When the thought of having to put your socks on drives you to terror, something like running (which is what ultimate Frisbee is all about) is seems unthinkable.

Yet today, I visited Yahoo! and played Ultimate with the guys, and actually could do much more than I'd thought. The times when the game was most active was the best, as I thought less about the pain (or potential pain — there was both) and so my fear didn't cripple me — just the actual pain. It was wonderful to get out there again, even if only for perhaps 20 minutes.

The best part about it is that I didn't kill myself. I thought I'd be in major pain afterward, but I don't even feel achy (at least not any more than I would normally). It makes me want all the more to get back into shape!


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