That’s a fact, Jack: 25 push-ups

The Covington News - - OPINION -

There’s a scene in the 1981 com­edy, “ Stripes,” where the main char­ac­ter, played by Bill Murray, is chal­lenged to do five pushups by a friend.

As Bill Murray pre­pares for this feat of strength by ly­ing face down on the floor, his friend says, “ That’s none.”

I bring up this riv­et­ing cin­e­matic mo­ment for two rea­sons: I haven’t made a pub­lished ref­er­ence to “ Stripes” in al­most four months and it’s killing me; and Don Magee makes Bill Murray look like, well, Bill Murray.

Don Magee is a Lilburn, man who re­cently did 3,010 push- ups in a day, ac­cord­ing to a story in the At­lanta Jour­nal- Con­sti­tu­tion. That’s not a mis­print — over 3,000 push- ups in a sin­gle 24- hour pe­riod.

Ac­cord­ing to the story, Magee said he could have done a few hun­dred more and he wasn’t sore the next day. In fact, he played golf.

One more thing: Don Magee is 74 years old. Again, not a mis­print.

Magee, a re­tired school su­per­in­ten­dent, rou­tinely does be­tween 300 and 700 push- ups a day, ac­cord­ing to the story. Talk­ing about his push- up ex­ploits to oth-

With my son as my cheer­leader and the power of prayer, I com­pleted the task — 25 push-ups in 20


ers, he heard about for­mer Ge­or­gia foot­ball great Her­schel Walker do­ing 2,000 push- ups a day. On his 70th birth­day, Magee matched Walker’s 2,000 and did 10 more.

On his 74th birth­day, Magee de­cided to go for 3,000. It took him 13 hours.

“ I wanted to make a state­ment that just be­cause you’re old doesn’t mean you can’t do things,” Magee said in the story, writ­ten by Ken Sugiura. “ You can stay ac­tive.”

Mo­ti­vated by Magee’s push- up achieve­ments, I de­cided to try for my own push- up mark. Be­ing that I’m some­where be­tween Mr. Magee ( 3,000 push- ups) and Bill Murray’s char­ac­ter in “ Stripes” ( five push- ups) in terms of phys­i­cal fit­ness, I de­cided to split the dif­fer­ence and aimed to com­plete 25.

My five- year- old son vol­un­teered to be my wit­ness.

Af­ter in­struct­ing my son on his du­ties as a wit­ness to this phys­i­cal feat — mainly teach­ing him how to dial 91- 1 — I low­ered my­self to the rug.

“ Hey, Daddy, why don’t you do one of those push- ups where you clap in the mid­dle. I like those,” of­fered my en­thu­si­as­tic spot­ter.

“ Sure,” I said, for­get­ting that I was an id­iot.

So I raised my torso quickly, push­ing my hands to the mid­dle in an at­tempt to clap.

Be­fore I could clap and safely get my hands back on the rug, though, the weight of the afore­men­tioned torso, which I un­der­es­ti­mated, forced my face into the rug be­fore my hands could re­sume their proper po­si­tion. The “ splat” noise was ac­com­pa­nied by pain to my nose, face, neck, head, chest and up­per body re­gion.

Twenty min­utes later, re­freshed by Dori­tos, Mr. Pibb and some ama­teur rhino­plasty, I got back on the rug to fin­ish the drill.

With my son as my cheer­leader and the power of prayer, I com­pleted the task — 25 push- ups in 20 min­utes.

The next day, I didn’t play golf. I watched golf.

Don Magee did 3,010 push- ups in 780 min­utes — or 3.85 push- ups a minute. I did 25 in 20 min­utes — 1.3 push- ups a minute ( I took a two- minute break be­tween 18 and 19; and a five- minute break be­tween 24 and 25). At that rate, at roughly half his age, it would take me 2,315 min­utes to do 3,010 push- ups, or 38 hours.

That said, I think I’ll wait un­til I’m 74 to give 3,000 a try.

Len Rob­bins

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