Jean Simmons, columnist

Jean Simmons is a Franklin resident, nurse and published author who won a Janice Keck Literary Award from the Williamson County Public Library in 2014. She can be contacted at

Trying new sporting activities gets harder as you get older, in my opinion. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it does not, and some times it really, really does not.

Example of really not working out: Attempting to snow ski a few years ago resulted in a fractured femur — the largest bone in the body, by the way — and a permanent titanium rod in my leg. My husband tells me that titanium is the strongest metal in the world and will never break, but that is really not much comfort and I will never snow ski again.

Learning to water ski a few years ago has been good since I can manage to get up and stay up and have not had any bodily injury. You can still get hurt water skiing but at least you are falling on water and not hard-packed snow. It’s also interesting waiting in the middle of the lake for the boat to come back; you can't see anything in the lake and the music from “Jaws” always starts playing in my head for some reason.

Yes, I know there are no sharks in fresh water lakes but there are snakes and some ferocious looking catfish. Love it when people tell me they are “more afraid of you” because I know for a fact they are not more afraid of me.

Wakeboarding is something I have been trying this summer and have had several falls, some of them face plants that left me with actual stars floating around my head like Wile E Coyote in the cartoons. I’ve had a lot of lake water up my nose, and not to be indelicate but one fall that felt like a lake water enema — at a certain point it starts to seem more like waterboarding.

I have been doing better and enjoying myself, especially when I show friends who have never wakeboarded that I can get up — now if I can just not do a major face plant and get outside the wake I will be happy. (Another issue is finding muscles that ache that you never knew were there.)

I tried watching online videos about wakeboarding but they are all presented by young men who talk about “riding the edge,” whatever that is, or how “gnarly” it can be (need a translation into middle age language). I began to realize these are not real instructions and they are basically winging it. There are many incredible wakeboarders including a young friend of mine who can jump from outside one wake to outside the wake on the other side. That is impressive and something I will not be attempting; my health insurance only covers so much, after all.

I did get some video on my phone of me wakeboarding, so that the next time some young whippersnapper at the grocery store asks me if I want the senior discount or my son acts like I grew up with the dinosaurs, I can whip out my phone and show it to them.  That’s also when I let them know I was “riding the edge” and it was really, really “gnarly.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.