America’s greatest athletes are those old people that walk in the malls at 7am every morning. You can see them in every mall in the United States, walking fast in their brightly colored track suits and spotlessly clean jogging shoes. Some of them even build up enough of a sweat that they have to remove the warm-up jacket, revealing the sleeveless muscle shirt underneath.
Of course, we are conditioned to admire 20 year old Olympic athletes and professional sports stars, but there is a lot to be said for those old mall walkers. They have to overcome obstacles and traps that no professional sports figure has to face. They must walk by the delicious aroma from the Cinnabon booth at the food court and resist the temptation to stop the workout and instead eat a 2,000 calorie breakfast.
They climb up and down the mall stairs while the empty escalators are just begging the old folks to use them.
As the young workers arrive at the mall, the old mall walkers must weave in an out of these groups of slow-moving “young people”, and put up with the smirks and not so hidden laughter directed at the old mall walkers.
Yes, the old mall walkers get neither fame nor fortune, but I respect them. They have had to swallow their pride and admit that their ancient bodies can no longer tolerate jogging in the outdoor winter cold or broiling summer heat. So they have moved indoors to the constant temperature of the malls, and slowed their once-rapid running pace to a more reasonable walk.
Despite this compromise with Old Man Time their daily mall workout is their way of snubbing their nosed at Old Age and telling the rest of the World, “we’re still here, and don’t you forget it. Now get out of the way!”
Mall walkers are living proof of the old saying that, “you can’t turn back the clock, but nothing says you can’t wind it up again.”
These old folks are not trying to win a race, or get a medal or impress anyone. That is why you see them laughing and joking with friends while they circle the same mall at the same time every day. They have reached a stage in life where they realize that enjoying the journey and cherishing the moment is more important than the actual destination. We could all learn something from these great athletes.