Editor doesn’t clown around with fitness

My life was changed by an anonymous person I never met.  In fact, I couldn’t even describe the features on his makeup-laden face.

The only thing I can actually remember is his snotty voice – a voice that my brain has replayed each day for the past few years.

Zack McDermott, sports editor

The summer day was a beautiful one as my high school buddies and I finished shoveling deep-fried food into our stomachs at the local Saxonburg Carnival. After losing in excess of $10 trying to win different 50-cent prizes, we found our way into a crowd gathering in one corner of the fairgrounds.

My droogs and I were standing in front of a dunking tank as a clown mercilessly harassed a young lad who was vehemently trying to send him to an icy fall.

We laughed – everyone did. After the kid was deterred, he picked on the passersby – we laughed more.

Catching wind of our chuckling, he turned to us – we didn’t laugh.

“Hey, you,” said the clown as he pointed his long index finger at me. “Me?” I stupidly asked in reply.

Then it happened. “Yeah you, Chubby.”

Boom.

Chubby? Chubby!? This guy cannot be serious, I thought. Some of my friends are bigger than me, but he decided to call me out.

I didn’t hear what he said next. He could’ve given me the world’s greatest compliment but it didn’t matter – the damage was done.

Focused and furious, I walked up to his giggling assistant and demanded a ball. My first throw hit the bull’s-eye and the clown fell to the water. He was silent, the crowd cheered and I raised my hands in triumph.

Too bad the feeling didn’t last.

My happiness faded faster than my self-esteem as I realized that Bozo pointed out what I feared all along – that I actually was chubby.

Did I know that I was a little overweight? Yes. Would I have ever considered myself chubby? No way, José.

As I lay in bed that night, I made a promise to myself that I would never give anyone a chance to make that joke again.

It was the start of my long-term workout plan as well as the self-image problems that still plague me to this day.

There were times I wanted to bag my whole plan – this is too hard or this is too much work, I’d whine. But every time I complained, I heard Krusty say “chubby” yet again.

Suddenly, I’d be clowning around no more – one more mile? No problem. Ten more push-ups? Let me give you 20.

As the months passed, I finally began to feel better physically and emotionally.

Since then I’ve lost between 20-25 pounds of fat, gotten in the best shape of life and have eliminated the word “chubby” from my vernacular.

To that clown, I was just another person to vex in his 8-hour shift, yet to me, he was the reason I changed my lifestyle.  Sometimes, I wish that he knew that.

But then again, I’m glad he doesn’t – he did call me chubby, after all.

ZACK MCDERMOTT

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