Coach: When in doubt, try the broccoli

  • Jon Cohn

    Jon Cohn

  • Get family, friends or, heck, complete strangers together (OK, maybe not strangers) and try ax throwing at any number of local establishments. It's a surprisingly tough workout that's gaining in popularity.

    Get family, friends or, heck, complete strangers together (OK, maybe not strangers) and try ax throwing at any number of local establishments. It's a surprisingly tough workout that's gaining in popularity. Daily Herald file photo

  • Spinning at home, especially Peloton bikes, became incredibly popular during the pandemic. Now that the weather is cooling off and winter is coming, try out a class since it's likely time to put away your regular road bike.

    Spinning at home, especially Peloton bikes, became incredibly popular during the pandemic. Now that the weather is cooling off and winter is coming, try out a class since it's likely time to put away your regular road bike. Daily Herald file photo

  • There are approximately eleventy billion kinds of yoga, with nearly as many benefits for the body and the mind. Practice it mindfully.

    There are approximately eleventy billion kinds of yoga, with nearly as many benefits for the body and the mind. Practice it mindfully. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Updated 9/15/2022 11:41 AM

In a previous life (journalistically speaking) I had a motto about trying new things or experiencing things you would not normally think of doing.

"Try the Broccoli" was the calling card for this concept, based on the fact that as a kid I hated broccoli and never wanted to try it. It looked weird, smelled strange, and had a texture lurking dangerously somewhere between roughage and Astro Turf.

 

Despite calls from my parents to "try the broccoli," in my younger years, I never did." BUT, later in life as I actually "tried the broccoli," I found out it tasted pretty good. Maybe it needed a little roasting, toasting or broasting, and some salt and pepper helped, but this green healthy vegetable was pretty good-once I finally tried it.

So taking this concept into the sports and recreation field, I have on occasion thought of some "try the broccoli" items that may exist and possibly be worth trying, many of which are available right here in our home communities.

For instance:

Cryotherapy: This relatively new concept, consisting of ice cold muscle therapy has been rapidly gaining in popularity. People swear by it's benefits. Understood that jumping into a freezing cold tub of ice and water may not sound like a great way to get the muscles and body to relax but they say it works, and who are we to question "they?" Also, high level athletes are using this freeze cold therapy more and more for muscle recuperation, so worth a try, right?

(Chances of me trying this? Moderate to partly sunny. With a little bit of an encouraging nudge, I might just take the freezing leap)

Yoga: Very popular, but still many in the mainstream have never tried it. First you have to decide which one to try as there are about 38 different types of yoga classes just in our two communities alone. Venture outside Northbrook and Glenview and the list quickly gets into the triple digits.

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Choices include yoga with your kids, seniors yoga, silent yoga, body and brain yoga, sensory yoga, core power yoga, reach yoga, and even yoga as couples therapy! The list and variations are literally endless. But the mental meditation, the stretching of the limbs, and the gains in health and flexibility are all yoga-plus items.

(Chances of me trying? Solid. I have only done one yoga class in my life and that was a beach yoga session that didn't go very well. But I definitely believe in the benefits of yoga -- and second chances -- so may be time to give it a shot again.

Attend lower-level high school sporting events: Many fans of high school sports-be it football, volleyball, swimming or tennis or any other of the other many options, typically only go to watch the varsity games. Unless maybe they have a son, daughter or other loved one playing on the lower level teams.

But as fan, an unattached fan that is, you might try going to a freshman or sophomore game or a JV match and catch some of the action. The competition is pure, the skill level is good, the enthusiasm and effort always high and the unpredictability of the lower level athletes makes it even more fun to watch. Bonus? You may be watching some future stars in their early years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

(Chances of me trying this? 100%. Already been there, and done that, and this "try the broccoli" idea comes highly recommended)

Fitness On Demand: Yes, this new exciting concept of joining fitness and exercise classes via video, all from the comforts of your own home, is rapidly gaining popularity. Park District's and recreation centers have already added these options, as the post Pandemic stay at home philosophy takes hold.

(Chances of me trying this? Slim and none, with none holding a significant lead. Sorry, but I just can't wrap my head around this growing "craze" of joining fellow exercise mates through the wonders of the TV or computer screen while I work out alone on the carpet in the cozy comfort of my own home. Nope, count me out for that. I prefer the inspiration of getting out, surrounding myself with other like-minded semi-athletes, and getting a good workout with the added motivation of just being around other strangers who are also sweating their way to good health)

Go to a bar or restaurant to watch the big game: Football season is upon us, and If you are like me, you typically want to watch your favorite college or pro teams play in the comfort of your own home on your nice large screen TV. There are few if any distractions, and the ability to pause the game or rewind to take care of any at home distractions makes it even more desirable.

But there is another side of the coin that the crowded sports bar offers that home does not. The energy and excitement of watching the game with others at a local establishment, where the group cheer upon a big play can help you really get into the game on a different level. Much more so than watching from home.

Yes, there are more distractions at the local sports bar, and it is tough to follow all the action and even hear what the announcers are saying, but for a change of pace and an added kick of adrenaline? It might be worth a shot

(Chances of me trying? Well-above average. I am guilty as charged when it comes to enjoying watching from home, in fact I don't even like friends coming over. I am kind of hermit-like in that regard. Having said that, a "try the broccoli" change in venue would probably be good for the sports soul, so it is on my list to try, for sure)

Spinning: Oh, do the "spinners" ever think highly of their chosen activity. "You have to try it!", "trust me you'll love it!", or better yet "just come to one class and you will be hooked forever," are among the many comments I heard from the spinning-crazed community. For the uninitiated, spinning is basically a stationary bike workout in a group setting with music and instructor encouragement. It is and has been "all the craze" for a number of years, so we all probably should give it a try, no?

(Chances of me trying? Not great, but not impossible. I still struggle with the concept of riding a stationary bike indoors, within a closed room of other perspiration-covered, hardworking fellow bicyclers. On the other hand, no question it is a good workout, so from a cardio-if-nothing-else standpoint, maybe I will "try the broccoli" on this one)

So many potential other "try the broccoli" ideas are out there, most within or near our Glenview and Northbrook communities. A few other options, depending on your level of bravery:

• Rent an electric scooter

• Take a leap off the high dive at one of our local swim pools (when was the last time you did that?)

• Try a rock climbing wall

• Take an evening dance class with your spouse/significant other

• Buy some roller blades and give those a whirl

• Volunteer as a dog walker

• Complete a mini sprint triathlon

• Or how about the ultimate "try the broccoli" recreation activity out there right now: An evening with friends and family at your local ax throwing establishment (yes, this is a real thing, and it's quite popular)

Whatever the case, more often than not, trying a new activity can open your eyes to a potential hobby or interest or, at the very least, a fun, one-time adventure.

Use discretion, of course, and be safe. But when in doubt? What the heck, give the broccoli a try.

• Jon Cohn of Glenview is a coach, retired PE teacher, sports official and prep sports fan. To contact him with comments or story ideas, email jcsportsandtees@aol.com.

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