A Grandpa End-of-Year Movement Assessment

Hey, sorry it’s been a while. I didn’t run out of gas; I ran into more life. I also ran into a revelation about this blog, courtesy of my wife. The “more life” largely means more work and more stress and more sleepless nights and no care to blog. The revelation was that my wife noted that this blog shouldn’t be about me and whatever it is I’m doing with movement and exercise (boooring); it’s about the being a grandpa part, about being a grandpa . . .who also moves! As it happens, all of that got a recent end of year assessment during some family time over the holidays.

Over the course of four days I underwent the “Grandson Physical Fitness Challenge” (v. 23 mo.). Below are the event descriptions and my scores. All events occurred multiple times per day over the four days. All challenges are scored Pass-Fail.

Rocking “Happy Baby”

Challenge: This begins with a grandchild saying, “Hap-bebe, gan-pa!” You then sit on the floor and the grandchild shoves you down onto your back. They then sit on your stomach and lay back on you. You must then alternate rocking up and down, from your back in a yoga “happy-baby-like pose” to a sit up position, while holding the grandchild against you chest, and repeatedly singing “Happy baby.” (Illustration)
Score: Pass*. (*There is a notation in my results about how I showed signs of technique breakdown — seen in the video — the day I did a boat load of boat pose in yoga that morning.)

Living Room-Dining Room-Kitchen Steeplechase

Challenge: When a grandchild says, “Run, gan-pa, run, run!” and then takes off, you must follow at a prescribed distance and match speed, generally not passing and not lagging, There may be occasional spurs off of the loop to the front door, in which case you must stop, turn, and then only take off again on the grandchild cue of, “Ready . . . RUN! Run, gan-pa!” This can happen innumerable times, almost becoming meditative after ten or fifteen minutes, and ends more when the grandchild is distracted than when they run out of energy. (Illustration)
Score: Pass, in the counter-clockwise direction.

Tandem Lawnmower-Mini-Dyson Sprints

Challenge: This involves running just behind or alongside a sprinting grandchild while hunched over and pushing a toy lawnmower or other such push toy (a mini-Dyson in this case) over the distance from the back wall of the house to the front door. There is no set number of cycles; it can continue indefinitely and can directly cycle into the Living Room-Dining Room-Kitchen Steeplechase. (Illustration)
Score: Pass. (Note: One should take part in hamstring endurance training before attempting this event; there is something challenging about the position of being hunched over pushing a little lawn mower or a Mr. Pero; the mini-Dyson’s not so bad.)

Christmas Tree Box Fold-and -Pop

Challenge: For the final challenge, you must get in the box upon the command, “In, gan-pa!” and fold down into a ball, in a kneeling position with your torso folded down onto your thighs. When the grandchild pulls back the top and yells, “HEYYYY!” must must unfold and pop up to a kneeling position. Repeat indefinitely. (Illustration)
Score: Pass. (Admittedly, it’s easier for someone who is 5’5″ than an averaged-height or taller adult.)

I guess I’m feeling pretty good about myself. I passed with a perfect score! Back in high-school I miserably failed the President’s Physical Fitness Test. Now that I’ve moved up to the Big Show (being a grandpa!) I am happy to report that my physical conditioning can meet the current demands of the league. See ya in a few weeks!

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Chris Correia

I live in Northern Minnesota, am a Massachusetts native, a 35-year husband, a grandpa, a former taekwondo instructor, a bit of a yoga guy, a student of Ignatian spirituality, a good-natured joker, and I now work with blind teens and adults.

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