Ray King: Ring in the New Year
Hello 2013 – unlucky for some! The holiday season has now disappeared and has been replaced with a new sense of vigour and rejuvenation. It is an occasion when we look forward to something positive and refreshing and begin a new cycle with optimism and the hope to achieve new goals.
No doubt many of you have flocked to the gym, taking fitness classes to get a head start on losing all that extra weight gained during the holiday season. Some of you may have started dieting in pursuit of a healthier life style. Others may have begun meditation classes in order to replace stress with calmness and focus. Whatever fate may have in store for you, the clock continues to tick and the tide ebbs and flows. Time and tide wait for no-one.
Now that I’ve entered my 89th year my zest for life is still as strong as ever. Even though my physical attributes have long since gone, thankfully my mind is still in reasonably good working order. My doctor in Amble, Dr. Watkins, said to me many years ago, “Raymond whenever you come to see me, it is never for anything trivial”. That trend continues but then that has been the story of my life – no sooner do I seem to get over one catastrophe than another appears. The heavy leather ball we played with in the 40s and 50s has a lot to answer for, as it thudded into my body at what must have been 100 miles an hour. The physical challenges we had to withstand in those days have certainly taken their toll.
If that is not bad enough I have to contend with sun damage to my skin which has occurred not only during my life as a professional sportsman but also from years of reckless sun-worshipping. As a child, there was a ditty which went: ‘She shall have rings on her fingers, rings on her toes, she shall have rings wherever she goes’. When old age creeps in the words would change to “She shall have pains in her fingers, pains in her toes, she shall have pains wherever she goes!” This certainly applies to both men and women – I can testify to that. With an estimated seventy-two thousand nerve endings in each foot, (it took me ages to count them!), my feet often drive me crazy, especially at night, making sleep impossible. Just one of life’s little inconveniences.
My son, Gary, asked me a week or so ago, “Would you change anything in your life were you able to live it again?” The simple answer is, “No!” In the words of the song: I’ve lived a life that’s full; I’ve travelled each and every highway, and more, much more than this, I did it my way.
A belated happy and healthy new year to you all.
All good wishes,
Ray’s book ‘To the End of the Road’ is available from Pride of Northumbria,
Queen Street Amble, price £6.99