Praise God almighty, free at last!

There were tears all round on Tuesday when I finally rolled up my sweat soaked towel after eight weeks of brutal en-gym-ment and walked out the door of the Futura gym for the last time.

M:I:I, M:I:II and Commander Aimee were all there to wish me a skinny future. Im not so certain that its skinnyness that awaits me but thats just the way those gym folks think. Theyre positive types. But truly, the half full cup is actually brimful of possibilities if you ask Matt George. I can see him laughing off two broken legs, a chronic lung condition and an existential crisis before turning for his fiftieth lap of the pool. Freak.

As for me, well, Im not really that buff or all that much stronger, but my way of thinking about myself and what I can achieve has changed. Indeed the mere fact that I was willing to endure the embarrassment and suffering of this eight-week campaign means I have learnt a vital life lesson.

Loon Life Lesson 1: As we age life gets increasingly painful, injuries heal slower and people we love die (or find someone else whose younger or richer or just half decent). We are tempted to lie down and wait for ourselves to heal but if we do that, we just get older, poorer and less decent. Pushing through the pain is much more important as we age. Its heroic to play through the pain when youre younger, but its essential when youre older. Giving up isnt an option; its the fast track to death.

The actual stats regarding my eight-week campaign arent anything special. Ive lost four per cent of my body fat, shrinking from 22 per cent to 18 per cent. (I dont want to tell you where that four per cent came from. So much for cracking a fat.) My upper body and lower body strength has doubled and my capacity to take in oxygen has changed from poor to good, but you wouldnt know it to look at me. To the naked eye, Im still the same old Loon.

Essentially the program was just a kick start. Im just like a vintage clowns car left bonnet deep in elephant shit for one decade too long. All the hosing, seals and odd shaped tires have long since perished and the poor ole things engine can barely crank over. All this exercise program was was a long, long overdue overhaul. Now Im ready for a little journey around the big top, tootling my new little horn and swishing my windscreen wipers.

Sure, I might dream of embarking on an interstate road trip or even taking the field for a speedway spin, but thats just delusional. At least the engine is ticking over again and Im ready to fuel up for the next big challenge.

The second great labour of the Loon.

It became clear to one of Lismores resident clown doctors, Benhur Helwend, that it wasnt Italian excellence in diving or the pathetic refereeing that brought a sudden and gut wrenching end to the Socceroos World Cup campaign. Oh no, that was just incidental. The real problem was how tragic the winner of the SBS Socceroo anthem competition was. Yes, the ill-fated Green and Gold anthem just didnt have what was needed and Ben has dared the Loon to come up with something decent. Now that Ive cast aside some of my indecency Im ready to pen a real anthem for the Socceroos. A gruelling mental challenge you will agree, but one I can thankfully do from the couch.

A million thanks to Matt George and Co for sticking by this fat bastard during the last eight weeks.


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