From this revelation was the phenomenon of jogging born.
My father, who was described by his mother as a "sickly child," was struck by Cooper's ideas, and combining this information with some inspiration from the then very active career of Green Bay Packers' quarterback Bart Starr (local boy made real good), Daddy slipped on some sneakers and shorts and began jogging in 1969 at the age of 42.
It will seem very funny to folks much younger than I that at that time normal grown-up Joes didn't do exercise. They might play tennis with their buddies, or swing a golf club, or take a couple laps in a pool somewhere, but regular, daily, all by yourself with nobody watching stuff? Nope, not so much.
Daddy was quite an oddity, that's for sure, but I was always pretty proud of him without really understanding why. I just knew my Daddy did something that none of my friends' daddies did, and that he could beat any of 'em in a footrace.
He put up his running shoes many years later. He can't remember now exactly when, or why, but he certainly wouldn't have done it lightly. I know his knees began to argue with him some, and that there were other things going on in his life that began to require more of his time and attention. Whatever the reason, all those years of being, virtually, the lone runner served him well through his recuperation from a stroke and colon cancer. He tackled recovery from those challenges exactly the same way he tackled that whole running thing -- thoughtfully, and with the same fierce self-competitive mindset he had used when he first measured his runs with this stopwatch in 1969:
That's my hand holding the stopwatch.
After protracted negotiations, he relinquished it to me yesterday (on loan, of course) to use in my own training. The resolution to our back and forth was announced to me by my Mother, in this e-mail: