Throughout my playing career, I rarely was hurt. In high school I was fortunate to strain a muscle on an off week. I had the flu for two games during the state tournament. But I rebounded by splitting my chin open on the floor for the state finals.
During college I had nagging back issues. Playing through the injury disrupted my chi. The injury spread its destructive energy into my right leg, through my hamstring, down to the knee, and finally settling into a career ending tendonitis of the achilles.
As an adult, I’ve been able to stay away from serious injuries. Sure I sprained my ankle once or twice since I hung up my jersey for good. Who can forget how basketball lead to six stitches 2 days before my wedding because of an elbow to the face. There was one time I completed 4 days of Insanity Max 30 and I felt my achilles flare up the same way when I decided I wouldn’t pursue playing overseas. The burning sensation was enough for me to stop the program because soy demasiado para esto. In other words, I’m too old for this.
Two months ago I was playing basketball, not all that well but well enough. I knocked down the game winning shot with a step back three (I felt like Clay Thompson). My team was ready to pick up another old man pick up win. That all came to a crashing halt when a teammate chased a long rebound in the corner. I turned and tried to sprint down the court.
A few things happened at once.
- I turned slowly towards the opposite hoop. Nothing about my game is fast anymore.
- There was no one in front of me, my man had been caught flat footed and realized I would make the open layup if I got the ball.
- I planted my foot in to put out actual effort (I’d be lying if I said I was planning to dunk).
- I collapsed to the ground like I slipped on a banana peel.
My knee had given out and I couldn’t put pressure on it. Since then I’ve been hobbling about. If you’ve ever read The First Law series by Joe Abercrombie, you’d know much Sand dan Glokta hates stairs. If you’ve ever watched the Simpsons you’d know how much Mr. Burns hates stairs. Well, I now know how much bad fictional characters hate stairs.
Getting old isn’t fun. My body doesn’t respond the same way it used to. I need to forget the days when I could sleep off an injury or play through it. At some point I will remember who I am now, how old I am, and adjust to my new reality.