Hart Pisani


I’m not proud to admit that aside from PE, I never truly exercised until August of 2006.

This may come as a shock to you, but not all sports reporters are actually good at sports. Still, in August of 2006 I was approaching 15 years old, I was in my first year at my new school so I was ineligible to play sports until the following year, and I loved basketball. Plus, we had a no-cut policy so they literally couldn’t tell me no. So, I joined the Country Day Cajuns’ boys basketball team, which resulted in me partaking in the conditioning program of head coach Mike McGuire.

Coach Mike was and still is one of the best prep basketball coaches you’ll ever find anywhere and a wonderfully kind man, but if I’d known what he had planned for us during the conditioning program, I would’ve given up on basketball before I started.

Agonizing running. Excruciating weight lifting. I’ve joked before about being a mad man but in August of 2006 I thought there was no one more mad than Mike McGuire. I awoke the morning after my first day of conditioning the sorest I’d ever been in my life. I’d never felt such horrible pain.

Still, I adjusted in time. Heck, it even started to feel good, in a way. I kept that routine up for the first two years of high school. By my junior year, however, I got an after school job, developed more of a social life, and remembered that I hated the gym so that stopped.

I remained away from the gym for several years. I was too busy in early college taking part in the activities you’d expect someone in early college to be participating in. I believe my father once referred to it as, “hooting, hollering, high fiving, and having a good time.”

Fast forward to January of 2013. I’d just returned to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. I met up with some folks at my friend Rebbecca’s apartment where she suggested we take part in a game. That was when I discovered the world of Esports.

The game was kinect boxing, which is like real boxing for people who don’t know anything about boxing. Naturally, it was perfect for someone like me. All I had to do was take a controller, punch my arms at the TV screen furiously, and hope my opponent’s life meter ran out before mine did.

My first opponent was my friend Jon, who’s diet and workout routine was about the same as mine. I cruised to victory. Next, our friend Greg was up. I swung my arms back and forth all the way to a 2-0 record. Then, I came up against my friend Lauren, the girl I’d had the biggest crush on for over a year. Should I let her win so she could have a moment of happiness that came indirectly from me? HECK NO! I proceeded to kick her butt.

Three games of kinect boxing in a row and I was the undisputed champion of Rebbecca’s apartment. It was the most physical activity I’d taken part in since having to walk home after a Mardi Gras parade. I was on top of the world.

I woke up the next day with pain in my back. “ARGH!” I shouted. I rose out of bed, moved my arms around and the pain came back. I wondered what was going on. Had I slept funny? Had I rolled over incorrectly in my sleep? I mean, I hadn’t done anything physically taxing recently except for-

“Oh my God,” I realized. “...I’m sore from Kinect boxing.”

I would love to tell you that this embarrassing moment resulted in me realizing I needed to get back to the gym, get back into shape, and start feeling good again. Needless to say, none of that happened as I went about living my life exactly the same as I did before.

It wasn’t until a year later that I finally returned to the gym. Not because of some embarrassing moment, nor because of direct inspiration. No, it was because I was bored one day and my school had a free gym on campus, so why not go?

I proceeded to go to the gym regularly for the next year. I lost weight. I had to sell all my XXL shirts to a clothing exchange store for $1.20 in store credit. It felt pretty good.

As with so many things in life, however, it didn’t last. I fell off the workout routine for several years, gained my weight back and then some. I returned to exercise in 2019 and proceeded to lose a great deal of weight. Then I moved to Colorado where the altitude is too high to run outside and a global pandemic closed the gyms. I remained gymless until last week.

So now I’m a gym member. It’s too cold and snowy to exercise outside here and the $10 a month motivates me to actually go to the gym. My hope and goal is to return back to my college workout weight which I’m currently 55 lbs. away from doing. I hope you wish me luck in this new endeavor and if you’re considering doing the same, I welcome you to join me.

This now takes us to the Hart of the Matter this week which is ... there’s not a lot going on this week. That’s why I just spent 1,100 words to plug the fact that I joined the gym. Still, when I’m not busy owning the treadmill this week, there shall be sports to cover.

We’re still waiting for high school spring sports to kickoff and mushing season is over. When one of those things changes, I’ll do my best to let you know after someone first lets me know.

Last week I acknowledged that I’ve made some mistakes in my life. I then ended up being right about Baylor beating Gonzaga (MWAHAHA) but I still made a mistake. I incorrectly stated that the UAF volleyball team (5-4) would be playing the UAA volleyball team in Fairbanks last weekend. I discovered on Thursday, they’re actually playing this weekend. The Nanooks take on the Seawolves on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m.. The two teams split the series three weeks ago and the Nanooks will look to take down their rivals at least once this weekend.

Last week, the Ice Dogs made their triumphant return to Fairbanks. They had the week off from playing last week and were supposed to return to action this weekend. Due to a scheduling issue with Kenai River, however, they shall remain idle this week. Next week they’ll play their first true home game in 13 months.

Otherwise, that’s it. MLB, NHL, and NBA continue to roll on as do many other sports. I’d love to tell you that I’ll be covering my first venture back to the gym this week, but I doubt y’all would want to hear about that. Until next time, thank you for letting me get to the Hart of the Matter.

Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/hpisani91.