Opinion

Take a few steps to glory for the team

By John Lewis

I've never been a numbers man because numbers are just too precise and my life is fuzzy like an old banana.

But this week I've been counting big numbers. Numbers so big they hurt.

Numbers that particularly hurt the extensor retinaculum, the lateral plantar nerve and my bunion.

When I was asked if I wanted to join a team effort in the Get Mooving Challenge I was ready to say 'no thanks' for two reasons.

First, I'm just not a team person. I can't help it, but I've always been a lone wolf chewing on a piece of gristle in the corner.

Second, the challenge involved walking 10 000 steps a day, which sounded like walking to Melbourne and back.

Then someone said walking was relaxing and healthy, and a walk around Victoria Park Lake was just over 1000 steps. I thought, cripes — I would have to use my entire long-service leave to walk 10 times around the lake.

But then again, the challenge was thrown out by people 40 years younger than me who think old scribblers just sit around all day and go to the toilet for exercise.

This was like a red rag to a bull with bifocals.

So I downloaded a pedometer to my mobile phone, got up the next day and went to the toilet. That was 23 steps, which increased to 545 steps when I wrapped my phone in a plastic bag and jogged in the shower.

You've got to get smart about this.

Next, I walked into the kitchen, let Prince Fiski out and walked to the carport to fill up his bowl with gourmet Omega-3-enhanced chicken superfood. I chased away the magpies and walked three times around the kitchen bench to look for cereal and coffee buried under a pile of News copies from World War II.

That's 2413 steps before I even got in the car.

I'm killing it.

Walk around the lake at lunchtime, walk around the kitchen bench three times and 5416 steps recorded before bedtime.

The next day, I find my teammates have averaged 11 000 steps and I'm bottom of the ladder.

Righto. Time for Operation Bunion Buster. Walk to the toilet etc. Lake walk, office desk walk, kitchen walk and repeated coffee machine walks. Prince Finski is astounded and exhausted after an extended walk in the dark around the home block.

By 11.30 pm I am on 9857 steps and pacing around the loungeroom table like Hitler in the Wolf's Lair before the invasion of Russia. When the pedometer cranks over the 10 000 mark I roar and beat my chest like a silverback on methamphetamine.

I have not felt such a sense of achievement since single-handedly slaughtering the Minotaur with an axe in Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

This team-walking thing is okay.

The next day I find I am second from the bottom of the ladder, with other team members walking an average of 13 500 steps.

I have now retired to my corner with a big piece of gristle and a comfy pair of shoes.