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I Don't Want To Be A Fat Penguin

December 2, 2008 - John Whittaker

The News Gal and I started working out again Monday night - after more false starts than your average Detroit Lions game.
So, the News Gal and I have started hitting the YMCA again - because I don't want to look like a fat penguin on May 23.
Here's something you probably didn't know - the average news editor's job is really, really sedentary. You sit at a desk for 8-10 hours a day and then go home, lay around, watch TV and go to sleep.
I'd been able to keep the weight off for a long time - walking whenever I had something to do downtown, weekend basketball, snow football games and things like that.
Over the past few months, though, I've been packing on the pounds like I've been eating for two. Last Christmas, my dad, brother, the News Gal, my sister and I went out for dinner - and my sister asked me when I was due.
Pants I've only had for, like, a year are already getting tight. I haven't needed a belt in four years. Pajama pants are really, really comfortable (not that I can wear them to work) and I've started wearing a lot of sweaters to work, because they hide me expanding waistline.
So, the News Gal and I are making out way to the YMCA again, three times a week. On Sunday, I'll start playing in my Sunday morning basketball game with George, Buf, Boots and the rest of the Sunday morning guys.
And, hopefully, I'll not be the fat penguin standing next to the hot girl in the white dress at the altar.
* * *
I re-read my Friday blog today, and I can't believe how badly I misread what was going to happen in the Pats-Steelers game. I couldn't have been more wrong - and, the Whitless Wonder should take the public flogging from his readers.
Dan Rooney's search party found the Steelers' offense, Matt Cassel looked like a backup quarterback and the Patriots played like a tight team -- tons of drops, fumbles, missed blocks and horrible tackling.
The lesson, as always, is that I'm an idiot.
I whiffed on the Bills-49ers pick, too. The Trent Edwards Resurgence crashed and burned while the 49ers took it to the Bills, Jake Delhomme continues to make me look stupid (not that it's that hard, really), Jay Cutler and the Broncos are making me eat a big slice of humble pie, and not only did I miss on the Jacksonville-Houston game, but it was fairly entertaining, too. And, How I Met Your Mother was a re-run.
* * *
The News Gal and I are working on Christmas lists for each other - and I'm finding mine hard to do this year.
For one, I've had a really hard time getting into the holiday spirit this year. There are so many other things happening right now, shopping and getting presents are the farthest things from my mind.
Also, honestly, there aren't a ton of things I really NEED this year. Dress socks and maybe a new shirt are about all of the things I really need, and a lot of the things I want I'm more than happy to just wait another year to get. Honestly, part of me thinks I'd be happy just getting cash that we can put toward the wedding. I won't be thinking that on Christmas morning, but that's what the rational side of me says now.
Not that I'm posting it here, since I haven't given it to the News Gal yet, but I did finally cobble together a list.
* * *
Lastly, a Syracuse-hoops thought.
With 4.8 seconds left in Monday's game with Colgate, Jake Presutti scored the final basket in an 86-51 win.
In 2004-05, he was one of the team's managers. Then, in 2005-06, Presutti was a walk-on member of the team before earning a scholarship for 2007-08. Now, as a graduate student , he's a walk-on again. A walk-on who is now averaging 0.3 points a game.

Monday's bucket was Presutti's first as a member of the Orange, and it probably wouldn't have happened if not for Jim Haney, one of the officials working the game. Presutti, you see, doesn't usually go into the game and fire shot after shot at the rim. So, when Haney saw walk-on guard Brandon Reese sitting at the scorer's table, Haney blew his whistle and started tying his shoe, giving Reese a chance to come into the game and set up a shot for Presutti. Class move by Haney.
Jim Boeheim didn't want to use a timeout, since his team was ahead by 30 points and it would have looked like he was rubbing it into Colgate. Presutti wouldn't have brought the ball up and taken a shot, because it's not his style. But, Coach B. wanted to get a guy who has put in his work with the team a chance to get a basket - and Haney obliged.
As a former end-of-the-bench player, I read that story on and smiled a little smile. Only us end of the bench guys understand how cool a story that is.
Hollywood won't make a movie out of Jake's story, but they should.
Not only has Presutti been a willing practice player for a team that has needed guys to fill practice positions the last couple of years, Presutti has truly followed his heart.
A native of Belmont, N.Y., Presutti has been a longtime Syracuse fan. While the Orange weren't going to offer him a scholarship, and even though he could have started for any Division 3 program in the country, Presutti attended Syracuse basketball camps and eventually sought out Bernie Fine, Boeheim's longtime assistant who oversees the managers and walk-ons, to see how he could become a walk-on at Syracuse. When a walk-on spot evaporated before his freshman year, Presutti volunteered as a manager, paying his own way to attend every road game and rooming with Demetris Nichols, a second-round NBA draft pick. He participated in team workouts in the offseason, working on his game and getting better even though he knew playing time was hardly ever coming his way.
Presutti wants to be a coach - so he pays attention to Boeheim and Fine. He watches Mike Hopkins recruit. He pays attention to how Boeheim handles situations, how he distributes playing time and disciplines players. He's parlayed his contacts in college basketball to coaching in camps across the country, including volunteering with former Syracuse star Leo Rautins and the Canadian national team over the summer. He's used basketball as a means to achieve his career goals - and given short, chubby guys like me a reason to smile.
So, Jake, from a guy you've never met - way to go. You've earned it.


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The Whitless Wonder loves to see guys from the end of the bench score.