A very different Ted awaits me today. At first I did not recognise the Bear I have known this past year.

A quick double take and very dark glasses prevent Ted from seeing my confused look which instantly changes into one of gob-smacked recognition and awe. The face is the same. It is just that it now has a beautiful bone structure where before there were bloated cheeks.

I switch to professional mode, masking my surprise behind, “Let’s get started then!” While watching the first lap I ponder, “Is this the same Ted who sat in the car while we ran and played with the furkids 12 months ago?”

Any blind fool could see he had lost weight. I can’t help myself and ask, “How much?” About 27kg, I’m told.

This is really freaky, and takes about six more laps of the lesson to digest. Thrity percent of Ted’s body is no more. Stumpy little arms and legs are gone, and before me swims a big man. Tall, average body — no svelte gym bunny here — and I try to look beyond the missing part of Ted. He doesn’t need pulling and prodding to make him look human. He doesn’t need to be bitten and pulled to be lovable. He is genuinely nice and unassuming.

It is easy to see the physical and physiological change. Ted is ten years younger in his dreams, vision and affable manner. He is very comfortable with who he is. He isn’t shaved or manicured — he is not that kind of gay man.

While Ted has worked hard at losing weight he was tired of carrying, an amazing thing happened. While focused on the outward physical appearance, his attitude changed him forever.

Sit in the car alone? You have to be kidding ! He drove us all to the park. Join a sports club — and used his expertise to assist the club’s administration. Someone requires assistance — Ted leads by attending and bringing others with him.

I ponder how 30 percent of a person can disappear, yet that which is left is more highly motivated, driven, fun, outgoing, passionate and caring. It must be slothfulness, in hitching a ride beneath our skin adds little to who we are. Consuming instead our life force, positive energy, personality and passion, binding them inside in such a manner that the Bear that we are is never truly seen. Not in participating in sporting activities available in our community anyway.

Come along with Ted to a sport of your choosing: Team Sydney Clubs via the website: www.teamsydney.org.au

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