The problem with big sports on TV is it requires spectators. Growing up trying to watch big time TV sports with my other male role models, I usually became frustrated. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t be, or shouldn’t be out there playing the sport, or at the very least outside playing the sport we (family members/friends) were watching. “Why are we watching this instead of doing this sport? Why are we not playing?” I wanted to be in the picture, not looking at the picture. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I am not like some members of my family, my sex, and most Americans. Even while watching my favorite of big time sports on TV, professional ice-hockey, I get antsy and/or bored. I find other errands or projects vying for my attention. Watching another sport on TV doesn’t hold my interest simply because I want to be doing what I’m watching, and don’t see any reason why I can’t, even if it’s fantasizing on my front lawn that I’m the great receiver or quarter back. (Of course watching the New York Marathon, Boston Marathon, Ironman, or Tour d’France doesn’t qualify because these do not compare with the American TV sports of football, basketball, or baseball.) This probably is the greatest reason why I’m active. Growing up, I was the most active of my family. This has the obvious benefits everyone who reads this paper already knows, defined as “being in shape.” But there is also a down side that I realized at a recent gathering.
Parents were talking about their kids. One mentioned how their most active is also their most accident prone. BINGO! The lights went off in my head. “Most active. Most accident prone. Hmm. Could there be a correlation?” I can’t speak for others, but I can tell you I have the most hospital visits and surgeries of everyone in my family combined. That includes my mom giving birth three times, my sister having two kids, and my brother who had a heart ailment. Through playing ice hockey and running growing up (on organized teams since 13), and now later in life, I have racked up four typed pages of injuries requiring a doctor. So many in fact, that when filling out the box on applications (insurance, employment, hospital) that asks for prior injuries or hospitalization, I am not able to fit all my entries into the 1 x 8 inch square box provided. Instead, I write in “SEE ATTACHED FORMS.” The secretaries usually comment. Some snicker, others are surprised and immediately start flipping through my health history pages.
I have gone to so many doctors, most at one hospital, that I’m re-cycling them. On January 8 of this year, I suffered my latest injury: a separated shoulder from checking an opponent during a league ice hockey game. Basically, he had the puck and I didn’t. Though I won the battle, I lost the war. I got possession, and we won the game (8-2), but I couldn’t get my equipment off and had to drive myself to the emergency room. While visiting with a second doctor days later, he was going down the list suggesting orthopedists. I had gone through them all for one aliment or another, finally settling on the one I started my Dallas health history with in 1987, Dr. Payne. I’ve been going so many times for so long that I had gone through all the orthopedists. I was impressed with myself. I have considered putting this down as a new PR in my workout log. “January 8: Completed doctor list. Starting over.” My wife, Janalou, was not amused.
[Follow up: I got home late from the hospital. My male mind said not to wake Janalou to, “Honey, I got hurt. Go back to sleep.” I knew, I just KNEW, there would be a 30 minute “discussion” if I did. So, I left the emergency room hospital papers on the front seat of her car in the garage, where she wouldn’t see them until she was headed to work the next morning. This, my male mind said, would also save her and me the 30-minute “discussion” we would have about my injury in the morning. She could have her breakfast, get dressed peacefully, and make it to work on time. None of which would happen if I told her those four dangerous words: Honey, I got hurt. That’s what I planned before slipping slowly, silently, and painfully between the sheets next to her. I had four hours before the alarms went off, and I had to get my body, that had become a board, out of bed before Janalou, trying to sneak an extra two minutes of sleep. I made my way to my office and computer in the other part of the house. Somehow, I managed to stay awake until she left, kissing my left cheek, and wishing me a good day, never seeing my swollen right shoulder. The male mind had triumphed! And at precisely 8:08 am the phone rang. The ID Caller might as well had said “Discussion.” Though it would be over the phone, it would be peaceful.
I am the most hospitalized, but also the most active. Somehow, Janalou didn’t find my self-titled distinction particularly important. “But, Honey,” I started to whine. She only stared back.]