Friday, June 29, 2007

Fathering Knee Injuries

Here is how stupid asses mess up their knees:

The first time it was also my daughters fault. She and a friend wanted to go to the track up at Parkway West High School, to train. Track season was right around the corner, they needed to do some distance, some intervals, some build up stuff. I put on my best Balboa sweats, some Converse high tops, a headband, pulled my boom box down from the refrigerator, cause I couldnt find my headphones. I had a hellova time conceptualizing "the runner look" so I went with a collage, interesting combinations of fabric and color, for style. After all, there would be others up there, with 75 dollar running kits, minus the cost of shoes--others running in circles, to burn the fat. Not me, I was fit, been riding bikes for 7 years. I felt very comfy with my fitness. I figured I could sprint, jump, hurdle, do some agility, I was feeling pretty good. I was pumped for speed.

At some point I looked over and saw Natalie and her friend standing quietly at a stack of low hurdles. They were neatly pulled to the side of the track beckoning thier use. I couldn't hear what they were saying but figured that they were wanting to give it a go but needed that extra push, the confidence only found when an expert can provide sound advice, when embarking on something new. One was daring the other to set up two or three of the hurdles for some sprint intervals.

I was thinking:

"Hell, I had run hurdles in High School hadn't I? I remember the training, the positioning, the technique".

So I said:

"Ladies, why don't you two novices stand quietly over to the side? I, the expert, will demonstrate the greatness of what once was".

This bubble popped up over my shoulder, and inside it was this:

I was back in 9th grade, the warm up, high stepping pre-race mantra that got my head right before the start of the 100 yard hurdles. I had bangs. I was as skinny as a pole vaulter, high kneeing it, half skipping, arms flying.

I visualized the old glory.

I was ready for the pop of the gun. I even had them start me like in the old days, just like they did at the meets. I was there, back in my element, at the blocks, ready to go. Runners take your mark.....

Now apparently, and from what I could remember, approaching the first hurdle is the hardest. If you were off a bit, you have to stutter step if you had not pre-determined the strides. Stutter stepping is not an efficient method of approach and typically indicates a true lack of proficiency. The best hurdlers didn't stutter, they timed it so they fluently cascaded over the hurdles, one by one, until the finish line approached and the race is won. I would visualize success, just like that.

So upon approaching the first hurdle, wind in my hair, accelerating quicky, it occurred to me that I maybe I really didn't know WTF I was doing at all. Maybe I was no more a hurdler in high school than a cheerleader. Maybe I had only watched from the sidelines my hurdler friends-- that they were the ones who were experts, not me. Hell, I am sure that I sucked at hurdles. Come to think of it, I stayed the hell away from them. I was scared of them, didn't want anything to do with them. I was way out of my element, flying towards the first of three jumps, stuttering, flopping, skipping grunting, losing control. I accelerated, threw the left leg out and "POP".

Both girls were extremely helpful getting me from the red clay track surface, up the stairs, out of the fencing to the car. It swelled up pretty good by the time I got home. Surgery later followed. She is as good as new now.

Folks, the bike fitness didn't do "jack squat" for me when it came to the hurdles. Rather, gave me the confidence that I can do things that I might not normally do, if I weren't fit at all. I might not have been at the track with my kid at all that day, I wouldn't have this stupid family story to tell, nothing to reflect upon. Maybe my kid will appreciate that someday, that regardless of skill, no matter what, I gave it a go, sacrificed myself for her benefit? Go for the gold, no matter what.

Same kind of thing with Tennis injury to my other knee. Sure its another story to tell, but was it worth it? I am thinking not and I am so done trying to impress teenagers.

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