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Bits & Pieces

Bits & Pieces: People live, breath college football in southern states

By Stan Ber, howardcountysports@patuxent.com

4:43 PM EDT, September 24, 2013

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Wow. Until you have been in the Southeastern Conference during the college football season, you really don't know how important that sport is to the people there. I just visited Chattanooga for the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Chicagamauga during the Civil War and spent some time in Georgia where all you see is "Go Dawgs."

As it happened, I bumped into a couple of diehard Georgia fans in the lobby of our hotel and they weren't very happy about their team playing second fiddle to Alabama. "We haven't won a championship since 1980," said one. "And I ain't happy about that."

Football in that region is second only to religion and, believe me, the Maryland area just doesn't measure up to the intense emotions that pervade the scene there.

Even the excitement that the Terrapins are generating this season after their 4-0 start doesn't come close. Of course, I really can't understand all the excitement. I went to Bowdoin and we scored five big points in our opener this past week.

Nyad is a shining example

Despite the criticism that some have directed against 64-year-old Diana Nyad for her 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida, I remain amazed at her performance. How many people that age can even attempt a feat like that?

And that brings me to a favorite topic of mine. I want people over the age of 50 to get off the couches and get into the swing of exercising and participating in some sort of sporting activity. I don't care if it's walking, riding a recumbent bike, swimming, playing tennis, softball or whatever. I want to see more of our older population living better through exercise and eating better.

I am pretty certain that we have in our community some former athletes who think that time has passed them by and they don't hit a golf ball or play tennis, swim, play baseball or basketball anymore. I encourage them to get started again in some kind of activity that can only improve their health. Sitting around and watching someone else play on the tube is not the way to go.

I like what the Senior Olympics has done for many of its participants. It actually has given some of our older athletes a new purpose in life and it shows us just how good some of them still are.

I don't expect the times for runners to be on a par to when the athlete was much younger, but I am still amazed at how fast some still are.

I know the aches and pains that come with age but we don't have to throw in the towel just yet. Start slowly, but at least start doing some activity. I, myself, have had a series of physical problems over the past three years or so, but I still do exercise on my recumbent bike and treadmill every day. I feel much better than I have in years. Besides, one of the big benefits of exercising for senior citizens is that it can keep weight gain in check with proper eating habits, and reduce that gut that seems to appear suddenly with age.

A year ago I went to Cedar Lane to watch some of our older players in a softball game. I was amazed how good they were and how competitive they can be.

You don't have to be that serious. You only have to get out and work at your own pace. I guarantee that you will feel better once you rid yourself of that rust.

So get those clubs, racquets or running shoes back out and watch for older groups to join.

There are a number of them around and I am sure they would benefit from your participation.