Several weeks ago, in a rare moment of housekeeping, I came across the Wii balance board languishing in a corner, covered in fuzz and cat hair. I dusted it off and put it into storage.
I bought the second-hand unit from Reiner’s son a few years ago. I had high hopes for me and Wii. We hung out together for about a year, did some yoga and, believe it or not, running! On the spot, mind you, but I was gob-smacked to find myself not only running for 10 minutes straight, but I actually looked forward to it! That was huge for me. Especially when you consider that I almost gave up on the thing the first day I tried it.
Nintendo’s Wii is a game console and Wii Fit is a fitness “game” that is a lot of fun. Brilliant, that – blending computer games and fitness. It has different training sections – yoga, balance, strength, cardio. You can ski or golf, or play tennis.
Basically, the unit is a slim tablet that you stand on. First your record your baseline (weight and BMI) and set your targets – how much to lose in how much time. The software asks for other details like height and age and so on, and you step on and off the machine a few times to calibrate it. During setup, it tells me that I am fidgeting. I can’t agree that I am, but no matter. Then, after my first work out when I am tired and a bit uncoordinated (OK, a LOT uncoordinated) it says, by way of comic relief, “You seem to be stumbling on your feet”.
Oh my god! The ghost of Howard!
Flashback to the day when Mom and I came home from shopping. I was 11 or 12. Clothes shopping was an ordeal in itself, since I was hard to fit – or at least that’s what my mom always claimed. Maybe the reason I was hard to fit was because it was end of season and she could afford only what was left on the rack. Anyway. Dad was sitting on the front porch, so I got out my new shoes and I modeled them for him. I was very pleased as I minced up and down the walk like I was on stage. Then I tripped over a crack in the concrete.
“Good God, Margaret, why don’t you watch where you are walking! You’re as clumsy as an elephant!”
My dear old dad, whatta guy. He, who was severely crippled by polio. One would think that he might have some insight into the shame and humiliation that comes with taunting and teasing about body image and physicality!
Decades later, I had just finished my first workout with Wii. “You seem to be stumbling on your feet”, it says. Fuck you, I says.
I managed to suppress the impulse to trash the Wii, but only after considerable self-talk. It was one of those theatrical, “I’ll show YOU!” moments. This was my chance to prove that I could walk a straight line and have the GRACE of an elephant!
I’ve never been much for physical activities like team sports, or even solo sports, like biking and running. There was a time when I rode horseback during my cowboy phase. After several riding accidents, I found that I preferred both feet firmly planted on the ground, walking speed only. With winter upon us, school and WordPress, these days it’s more like butt firmly planted on the seat. Yesterday I read the news that Sitting is the New Smoking. I need to address this. I may have to lug out the old Wii-ster and fire him up again.
Besides, you never know when the universe is going to deliver a teaching moment, do you?
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