12.01.2014

Bloody But Unbowed

I did something kind of crazy today. Bordering on suicidal. I went and played soccer for my women's pick-up league, in spite of the baseball sized hematoma covering my right shin and foot.

For those of you not familiar with the sport, soccer is a game that requires nonstop use of your feet, which could possibly be why the Europeans call it football.  So there I was, running on my bruised foot, THUD! Dribbling with my bruised foot, THUMP! Passing with my bruised foot, THWACK! Kicking the heck out of the ball over and over and over again with my bruised foot, WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! And all I could think was, what the hell is wrong with me?

I'd gotten the injury a week prior, playing, you guessed it, soccer. Just as I was winding my leg up to score a beauty of a goal, an opponent kicked me so hard I was facedown on the ground taking the Lord's name in all sorts of vain. I knew right away the bruise I'd just gotten was going to be a biggie. But I never dreamed that a few days later, the darned thing would look like this:


Common sense would tell a person, "That thing is FUGLY. Girl, you need to stay off that foot, hang an Out of Order sign on your back, and for the love of god, keep fast-flying balls and cleated feet far far away'.  They even have an acronym for what I needed: R.I.C.E. Which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Instead, I did what I always seem to do, best summed up as D.I.S.E.: Deny, Ignore, Suck-it-up and Exercise-anyway.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I wondered the very same thing last year when I did the Tuff Mudder, alongside my husband and group of 23 other maniacs. Crawling through mud-filled underground tunnels, jumping over pits of fire, swimming across a dumpster full of ice. And we won't even mention the electric shocks.  Our team name was 'Rochambeau'–which comes from a game played on the TV show South Park where the characters TAKE TURNS KICKING EACH OTHER IN THE NUTS.

That pretty much sums up all the mud runs, marathons and other bucket list events everyone I know has been signing up for ever since we all turned forty.


For my friends and I, ice packs, heating pads and Costco size bottles of Motrin are becoming a way of life. It seems like every other day, someone puts a post on Facebook asking if anybody can recommend a good orthopedist.

It's nice to see I'm not the only one out there still fighting the fight, flipping Mother Nature and Father Time the bird. But I've always been in the camp of playing through pain. Could have something to do with the biology of being a woman. God designed us to endure childbirth, after all. I also went through a big existential phase, reading everything written by Albert Camus, so 'What doesn't kill me makes me stronger' became my personal mantra long before Nike and Kelly Clarkson claimed it as their own.

But like everything in our lives we find fault with, it probably also has something to do with my childhood. Whenever I'd tell my mom, 'It hurts when I do this,' her response was, 'Then don't do that.'

Or, I'd show her a boo-boo that had me seriously concerned, and she'd reassure me by saying, 'It's too far from your ass to kill you.'

And I guess that's the point here. I'm not quite dead yet, so I've got to keep living a life I love. A friend's husband once remarked that he feels so much better since he stopped playing sports and working out, and I believe him, I really do. But I don't believe that sounds like much fun.

So I'm gonna ride out this body of mine as much as I can for as long as I can, and when it all finally gives, I'm going kicking and screaming. There will be plenty of time for Rest, Ice and Compression when I'm buried six feet below ground. And maybe if I've lived a good life, the angels will come down and give me some Elevation.

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