Here’s something you may not know about me. I am so exceptionally skilled at sports that I am banned at participating in them. It’s true. I’ve dunked on Jordan, blocked every shot by Gretzky, and I fucked Sheryl Crowe while Lance Armstrong was busy trying on a new “Live Strong” bracelet. But like all great athletes I have had my fair share of injuries. Joe Dimaggio once tore his rotator cuff punching Marilyn Monroe in the jaw. They’re freaky and come out of nowhere. Sports injuries have plagued my life.
The first injury I remember getting was having a softball hit me in the eye. It was at my dad’s company picnic when I was in second grade. My dad told me to stand near a man named Wilson who he worked with. I knew nothing of the man other than his name was Wilson and he liked doing that lame “take off my thumb” trick for me. My references were pretty poor back then and for some reason I thought Wilson was Ozzie Smith, short stop for the St. Louis Cardinals. There was also a man who lived on my street with grey hair. I assumed he was Cal Ripken Jr. Anyway, I disobeyed my father and had a softball land in my face. I went to the emergency room and had to wear sunglasses to school for the next week. I felt like a movie star. Especially when all of the teachers would take me into a room alone and ask if softball was code for mom or dad. It wasn’t. And despite the name, softballs are not soft. Maybe if I didn’t take things so literally I wouldn’t have tried catching the ball with my eyelid.
(Someone buy this woman a baseball glove! She needs to stop catching her husband’s fist in the face)
My second big injury came while playing in an organized baseball league. I was the catcher someone slid into my leg and knocked me over. I came out of the game from catching it hurt so bad. I remember the umpire saying “Don’t worry, chicks dig scars.” I was 9 years old. I didn’t even know what testicles were yet. I still could pee without having to hold my penis. I also was smart enough that a broken leg wouldn’t leave a scar. I guess when you’re a little league umpire, medicine is hard to comprehend. I did stay in the game though and managed to get a base hit. Of course, I didn’t know at the time that my leg was broken. This was a blessing in disguise as it gave me something interesting to write to baseball players begging for their autographs. They wished me well and asked that I stick to playing ball. Little did they know I used that story years after it had happened. Sorry about that Pete LaForest! I had to trick you because I thought you’d be a big name by now. But thanks for the letter encouraging me to stay tough.
It wasn’t just baseball that gave me injuries. Most of those injuries I would eventually fake or over exaggerate. It was the only way to save myself from the embarrassment of a rare 0 for 5 day with 4 strikeouts and a ground out to the pitcher. I never got hurt much playing soccer. I remember getting my feelings hurt one time because I was having a bad game and I insisted that it was because the sizes of the goals were not even. Classmate and kid who once whispered “Let’s get physical” into my ear, Stephan Giffin, agreed and helped me get a teacher to confront them about the goal size. The cones were moved in 2 inches each and I finished off the game magnificently. I even won an award that year for being the best recess goaltender. It was made of tinfoil but that didn’t matter. So is the Stanley Cup.
(Some kid with Down Syndrome touching a coveted sports trophy)
My other big soccer injury came in gym class of ninth grade. I was goalie (I’ve mentioned that I was a fat kid before right? Fat kids are always the goalie) for a game of indoor soccer. My team was made up of two stoners and me. The other team was three lesbians. You can’t make this shit up. The fattest and probably meanest lesbian kicked the ball at me. While stretching for it, my knee felt like it exploded. I crashed to the ground and held it tight. Like an army buddy you knew was going to die and you knew you’d sleep with his wife when you got home. I went to the nurse and then to the doctors a week later. My doctor said that it was because I was fat in oh so many words and I was fine a week later. Not all problems are due to being fat. Starvation for instance.
Football was one sport I never received any injury in. It was such a rough sport that I was able to tough anything out. I played on the high school football team for one practice then quit because everyone seemed mean and I hate(d) running. I had no idea the quarterback and the cornerback were different positions. I thought whenever people mention them they just had a speech impediment. I did jam my finger a few times catching footballs with my dad. Other than that, I’ve never had a major football injury. Probably because I was always the fattest kid playing.
There’s a legend going around that I am not a good ice skater. Yes, photographs might suggest I don’t know how to properly place my ankles on the ice. Despite popular belief I wasn’t that bad in my prime. I could skate forwards, backwards, sideways, I could jump up and not fall on my face. I’ve fallen down a lot ice skating and each time I got right back up after crawling back to the wall. My most memorable fall happened getting off the ice. I never learned how to properly stop which is the most important part of slowing down. The blades hit against the edge and I flew forward onto my face. It was loud and everybody saw it. Worst of all, I remember someone who worked there that I had a crush on. She came over to me later on and asked if I was all right. That made falling down worth it. To have someone unattainably older than you show concern for your existence, it made every injury mean something. A sports injury doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, I guess. It can be good. It will get people to pity you. They’ll come over and talk because they’re afraid their souls are headed for hell. Asking someone how they’re doing makes them feel like they have a chance at a better after-life. I know, what a shitty lesson to learn in the end. But I’m trying to be more positive. Sprain your ankles, cut up your knees, get hit in the head with basketballs, do all of it. Maybe you too can learn an invaluable lesson.
(A soccer player at Lesbian Camp injuring her knee. I can’t wait until footage of the “muscle rub down” is released to the public)
What are your sports injuries? And unrelated, should I update my avatar? I wrote a whole blog post about updating my avatar but reread it and thought it was worse than that Freshly Pressed article about the yogurt selections.