In one element of my life, I can proudly say I am the envy of the majority of males my age. It’s a heavy subject that I allude to, and the accompanying pictures give credence to this claim.
Sadly many men suffer the insidious increase of one pound per year from age 20 onwards for the next half-century of their lives. They are then obliged, it seems, to make jokes about their immense girth with statements like, “I’ve paid for each inch and pound of it.”
It’s quite unsportsmanlike of me to say, “Eat your hearts out lads!” as I compare my 16-year-old torso with my 70-year-old physique that still fits into the same Boy Scout shirt 56 years later…
Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout movement also had a slim, trim figure at life’s end at the age of 84. Of course, his early times in the 217-day siege of Mafeking during the Boer War weren’t conducive to obesity. His secretive prowling around the desert landscape shaped the activities on which he modelled the outward-bound adventure basics of his future Scout worldwide organization.
I can confidently recommend to the youth of today the physical, social cultural and lifestyle values embodied in Scouting. I cannot promise the same results for every youth, but wouldn’t it be so grand to “Be Prepared” to look back in fifty years time and see if the shirt still fits?
Photos show sixteen-year-old Blair (centre) leaving Dumfries en route to the 8th World Scout Jamboree at Niagara on the Lake, Ontario in 1955 (recounted in Chapter 9 of The Frolicking Physio), and Blair today.