Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The End of An Era

Well, a bunch of you have been telling me for a while, but the time has finally come. After 6 years, several ankle sprains, a partially torn MCL, broken big toe, broken jaw, bruised ribs, two chipped teeth, a separated shoulder, and numerous turf burns, my mind and my body are telling me it's time to give up playing in my indoor football league.

The craziness surrounding my last game two weeks ago, and Kevin's ensuing injury last Friday causing him to not be able walk right now, are a shocking reminder that I am not invincible and I am fortunate to have made it through the beatings I've put myself through every week for these past 6 years. My older brother put it best when lecturing Kevin (and me) after this latest injury.

"What if you had been hit as you were falling and instead of hitting your knee, you hit your head into the screws, leaving you brain dead or killing you? You were lucky. Both of you."

He speaks from the heart as he is presently up in Boston, with his wife sitting by the bed of her brother, who was hit by a car while walking on the street when he was 12, has been a vegetable since, and now at 36, has lost brain activity and awaits death this week.

Injuries can obviously happen anywhere, and this was the rationale that I have used in the past, and is how I justified to all of you why I am back out there despite the fear that a newly broken jaw would require a bone graft from my hip. However, there is no denying that the odds of injury are higher when I step onto that field.

I haven't been the same player since I came back from my broken jaw, and perhaps it's best that I quit while I'm ahead. I still can't close my mouth properly, and presently I can't lay on my right side for an extended period of time without my shoulder hurting. This can't continue.

Plus, I think I wanna have my Friday nights back again. And I wanna take a few more vacations this Winter, as I've had a stressful year thusfar.

But I'm not trying to go out without a final performance. The playoffs start this Friday, and two victories would put us in the finals...a place I've been before, but never have I won. I want to do that. And I have pushed myself to be able to put up my best.

I've dropped 12 pounds since my last game (don't worry...I was depressed, but I'm bouncing back OK), I've been to the gym or worked out at home almost every day for the past two weeks, and I feel like I'm in the best shape I've been in since I was twenty two. So, now all I have to do is give it my all, hold nothing back, and play like it's the last games I'll be playing...

Because it is.

Wish me luck...and of course, no injuries. See you at the bars on Fridays in two weeks.

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