If the season is summer, we might feel compelled to move, but just a little

I see by my smartwatch that summer is nearly here. I could just look out the window to confirm it, but that is so analog. Or I could rely on the usual summer signposts, the Sox in last place, the Cubs congealing, the Bears auditioning and elsewhere basketball being taken seriously.

More reliable, for me, is an annual impulse for self-improvement, a nagging urge to defy inertia. Warm weather seduces me to go outside and get fit, an unnatural impulse. I find considerable variety in watching my sweats wrinkle from lounging.

Without fail at this time of year, I am seized by a resolution to correct what winter has done to my body. Nothing too frantic, just healthy.

I am considering one of two activities. For reasons too tedious to catalog, I have eliminated anything that requires a partner, practice or a pickle paddle. Cycling is out because you must wear a hard helmet and a bright shirt with a pocket in the back. That excludes nearly everything but golf and running.

And when I say running, I mean jogging. And when I say jogging I mean walking. And when I say walking I mean resting whenever possible.

The charm of golf is that the ball never moves when you’re trying to hit it, and sometimes not even when you do. You don’t have to be any good at golf as long as you can get an eraser on your pencil and six a side.

Running’s appeal is that you can do it anywhere, except on the golf course where you get to ride in a cart. Running is cheap enough, unless you buy shoes recommended by somebody named Gronk.

Both sports have flaws, of course. Golf requires elaborate equipment and appointments. Running in strange neighborhoods can turn domestic dogs into loud alarms and summon suspicious eyes behind drawn blinds.

Which to choose? Examining popular models for each activity may provide valuable guidance.

Taking last month’s Boston Marathon as a guide, I noticed the winner was thin enough to hide behind a rake. I remember when Jack Nicklaus was “Ohio Fats” and while Tiger Woods is no longer the lithe sprite of his youth, he is now oddly obvious, like a giant tire on a small car.

My point is, side by side, runners and golfers would tend to make the number 10, or the before and after posters for world hunger.

Golfers waddle off the course and snack on pizza and a six-pack, while any road race winner will invariably ask for plasma and a priest.

Thus, anyone torn between running and golf as recreational exercise can look forward to being called either Porky or Slats.

I considered one of those races that end in K, the K standing for Kill, on advice of a physician friend who runs in several every year. Easy for him to say. He weighs about as much as a good lunch and trying to keep up with him on the fitness center’s treadmill is as exhausting as it is futile.

Golfers can walk an average of 20 miles a week, figuring pro-ams, and still look like they’ve swallowed a sofa. If golf requires you to curl up at night with a half gallon of Haagen-Daz, maybe running is better.

Should any of those Kenyans who regularly win marathons drive an automobile as far as they run each day, they’d be in a car pool.

Running can become an obsession, though golf is no less addictive. Runners wear ear buds to whip boredom, as well as to ignore honking horns of motorists.

Runners don’t eat anything that doesn’t come out of a blender. Golfers never eat any place that has separate menus for lunch and dinner.

Runners talk about discovering themselves. Golfers look for another 10 yards off the tee. Runners can appear in public in their underwear. Golfers and bowlers share the same tailor.

Golf or running?

I am still considering the alternatives. To look like a pool toy or a skinned squirrel.

May blessed winter come early.

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