Sunday, August 5, 2018

Falling... Again

I have had my experiences with falling.  I mean falling, not failing, just to be clear.  Literally falling. I spent most of my life before 25 as a goalkeeper in soccer, a skate boarder, skier, and overall taking chance type of physical person.  I have had 3 documented concussions with hospital visits, no memory, and probably 2 more that I faked as if I was okay. #manup only to play, not to try and hide my pain.  There is a difference between physical and mental pain.  We should never #manup the mental.  B-Dawk reminded me of that last night with his hall of fame speech. I just know the game of training rooms and if I wanted to play, I had to fake no pain to be in the game.  It is the competitor in me.

In soccer I was good, really good, like Olympic Development good, trained with eventual MLS and many division I players good.  They were no better than me, but at the moment of selection I eventually fell, not failed (2 concussions 2 separate years).  Camps, I got kicked in the face, I have a Kevlar plate and pin in my eye currently.  Tournaments, cuts got infected, to the point of hospitalization.  Junior year in college 3rd game, dislocated rotator cuff in the left shoulder.  This time I told the trainer I was fine, and did not miss a game.  The rest of that season, I could raise my left arm above my head unless I was making a save and adrenaline force my hand up.  It still tings and bothers me a couple of times every day.  We eventually made the NCAA tournament and we played well.  That summer I self inflicted a broken hand that spit 2 of my of bones in my right hand in half, requiring a 4 screws and a plate to hold them together.  They had to later be removed.

I spent a stint in the hospital every year from 11 to 21 without a year off.  Some years multiple nights.

Skiing, skate boarding, other stuff, similar falls.  I remember the time I slid half way down a concrete hill on my knees and shoulders from going way too fast and losing control of my skate board.  I remember hitting a tree and then flying into a net at about 40 mph on ski's going way too fast.  All of these taught me lessons.

Tonight I learned another.

3 weeks ago playing with my kids (hide and seek) I fell out of a tree using a rope to clime up.  I fell square on my left back and cut my back pretty deep, but more importantly bruised the left side of my internal ribs pretty badly.  Bad enough I could not breath or cough, laugh, and definitely not sneeze for a week or more without major pain.  It still hurts to this day and I can't sleep on my left side or lie on my stomach.

knowing all this, I decided tonight to skate board down a pretty substantial hill in my neighborhood, with my kids, they were on bikes.  I don't own a bike.  I have done it before, but not in a while and not with a previous injury.  I fell once leaving my driveway, this should have been a sign!  It was minor, I just ran into the grass and tumbled.

I then embarked, it is actually 2 hills with a straight part in between, but after the second hill there is no real slow down spot, just a cul-de-sac.  I made it down the first part fine, straight away, back and forth, left to right, feeling good... Then the second hill hits.

I can not check my speed, because I have not seriously skateboarded in 25 years.  I pull my usual move to slow by sliding my left foot forward (I stand goofy foot) and try to grind out a stop.  It gets squirrelly right away, I feel the fall coming, I am in the middle of the street.  It happens, I hit, not on my left side, thank goodness, but I twist to my right as I saw it coming.  I scraped my elbow bad, rolled 2-3 times, but kept the pain to my right, my now good side.

My kids are behind me, they ask if I am okay.  They also witnessed my fall from the tree 3 weeks earlier and saw the blood pulsating out of my back as I cut through a vein.  That was a slow popping trickle in cadence with the pulse out of my back.

I got up tonight.  I successfully fell, as I knew it was coming, not like the tree fall or the soccer kick to the face.  More like the tree and the net and the knees and shoulders down the street. 

My moral is this... I think when I can see a fall coming, I can deal with it and recover a lot faster than when I don't.  That is pretty common sense.  I also know that if I have a fall I don't see coming, I can also recover, it just takes a bit longer.  Pushing myself to recover faster always works although it always brings more pain.

I am thankful I did not hurt myself worse tonight, but I had a half a second to prepare.

I also learned that I am 40 years old and that I should be a little more careful.  I was at the very least wearing a helmet!  I Don't think I want to stop taking chances that create great experiences, just want to set up situations where I have at least a half a second to prepare for the fall.  That is all I need.

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