Friday, May 9, 2008
Young At Heart
Yesterday after work my colleagues and I headed to the university across the street to hit some balls.
The tennis courts are right next to the race track, which students use to train, walk off their dinner, or burn off stress. Some even walk backwards as they believe that helps stimulate your creativity. I have yet to try that.
And as we were warming up I saw an elderly man quasi jogging, but really shuffling along the race track. He wore a blue short sleeved shirt that was unbuttoned, showing the white singlet he was wearing underneath, a pair of baggy shorts hiked up around his tummy, and runners. He later stripped down to the singlet and hung his shirt on a soccer goal post.
Students whizzed past him along the 250m track, but he just kept going like a turtle, slow and steady.
I thought it was so cute seeing a senior doing his bit to stay active. This was a perfect example of what the Olympic spirit is all about -- keeping our bodies healthy and striving to reach goals.
So I got onto the track, whipped past him too and then waited for him with my camera. He knew I took pictures of him and then asked me where I was from.
We quickly struck a conversation and he had to "jog" to keep up with my slow walking pace. He was thrilled to meet a foreigner.
Mr Xie Wenjie didn't reveal his age, but said he was from Jiangsu Province and had lived in Beijing for a long time. He still wasn't married yet, but was continuing his search for a lady friend. He had even studied a doctorate in Business Administration and spoke a few words in good English.
He said he came to the track practically everyday, but I'd never seen him before. I walked a lap with him, but had to practically extricate myself from him, as he wanted to keep talking, but I had to get back to the tennis court.
And he probably kept going for almost an hour before I saw the blue shirt missing from the goal post, when the sun had already set.
The Beijing Olympic organizers should use Mr Xie as their poster boy for the Olympic spirit. He ain't going faster, higher, or stronger. But he keeps plugging along, with a smile.