Don’t hesitate, go get yourself checked out

Two plus two will always equal four, but in the world of sports, you can make numbers say just about anything you want.

A baseball team with a positive run differential looks like a good team, but it still might have a losing record. That’s what happens when you beat up on your hapless opponents and struggle against the good ones.

A coach once told a former colleague of mine, “Statistics are like bikinis; they show you a lot, but they don’t show you everything.”

Sports aren’t the only place you’ll find stats. Just about everything we do involves some kind of numbers game. For example, did you know that more Monopoly money is printed in the world than real money? Or did you know that during a lifetime, a human consumes about 60,000 pounds of food?

Not all statistics are interesting, and not all are good. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease was the leading cause of death among men in 2007. Those are the most recent numbers the CDC has on its Web site, but for me, the number that sticks out is one.

A year ago on Monday, my dad was working in his backyard when he suffered cardiac arrest. There are many likely factors that contributed to it, including the hot, humid weather, to the fact that if he took a bottle of water out with him, he’d usually leave it inside the garage.

And there were health factors, too. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are as much a trait on that side of the family as dark hair and light-colored eyes. The one thing I heard most from my dad’s friends and co-workers was that they couldn’t understand how this could happen to him, because he always ate well and he did his best to exercise regularly.

Sometimes, unfortunately, that’s not enough. What those people didn’t know what was that he hadn’t seen his doctor for a physical in almost a decade.

Would that have made a difference? I don’t know. Whenever someone dies, there’s always someone else who says, well, it was just that person’s time.

Maybe, maybe not, but going to get a physical certainly wouldn’t hurt.

None of us want to be just another number, so make sure you’re not. Go see your doctor. If it’s that big of a deal to you, then convince yourself you’re just stopping by to see how he’s doing. Chances are someone will be glad you did.

Joe Marchilena writes a weekly fitness column for Hampshire Hills. To find out more information about the “90 Day Commit to Get Fit”
program, call 603-673-7123 or