Saturday, August 01, 2009

casual upside

it's a relief, in a way.

for years i quietly dreaded the possibility that i'd tear up a knee playing basketball.

i didn't dread it enough to stop playing, mind you, but that low undercurrent of anxiety was always there.

now that it's done, the reality is i've been much more fortunate than most who tear an ACL. it hasn't hurt all that much. it didn't swell up, and i've lost very little range of motion.

even the grotesque sensation of instability has mostly gone away. occasionally the femur goes one direction and tibia goes another, and that's kind of sickening. but as long as i keep my forward motion in a straight line, the knee stays underneath me, and it's all good.

but none of that describes the relief i'm talking about.

which is that the injury gives me a good excuse not to run.

full disclosure: i don't like running. never have. i've done it for years, but usually out of a sense of obligation. kinda like eating broccoli. it's good for me, therefore i do it. eventually i learned to like broccoli. the running, not so much.

now, according to the surgeon, i have a legit medical reason not to run for a good nine months post-op. we'll pause here for a brief message from our sponsor:


over the years there have been other injuries, other times when i'd watch runners go by and be envious. i'd feel a deep, irrational need to get back out there amongst them immediately.

this is not one of those times.

maybe it's the wisdom of old age...or maybe it's just old age. maybe it's temporary. or maybe my new bike will replace the countless pairs of running shoes and basketball shoes that have come and gone.

oh, yeah...the basketball is now an open question as well. mrs. spaceneedl is lobbying for a long-term cessation of that activity. she raises an eyebrow and says, "is it worth the risk that you'd have to go through this again?"

that's not a particularly good argument--is driving worth the risk that i might get in a multi-car pile up? is scuba diving worth the risk i might get nibbled by a shark?

but here's the thing (and i'm a little embarrassed to admit it): basketball isn't as much fun as it used to be. mostly because i'm not as good as i used to be. not that i was ever "good", but i used to be better. and playing bad basketball is not much fun. it's a little chastening, in fact. i don't care to be chastened. it doesn't suit me.

so my answer has been, "we'll see." and we will. but first things first.

there must be cutting on the knee before there can be cutting on the court. there will follow months of rehab before there can be any more rebounding.

and there's the little detail of actually getting back in basketball shape, which is not an easy thing.

lateral mobility vs. collateral damage. worth it? we'll see.

in the meantime, i'm gong to keep one foot on the ground at all times, and learn to appreciate the low-impact alternatives to running.

doctor's orders, you know...


Anonymous said...

Basketball is not a "life" sport. My father can still play horse or around the world and be fine, but the days of going back and forth are long gone and he suffered coming to that realization. Man won a state championship in Texas at the highest division. Was selected 1st team All-Texas. Doesn't matter. Unless you are playing only with players all over the age of 50, I need to discourage you. Even then it wouldn't be wise. Nothing more dangerous than playing basketball with people that have less control over their bodies.

If you can create the time, you'll find a much better reward out in the golf course. Good for the mind. You've bought about as much time with good treatment of the body as you can. Golf never hurt anyone (except that guy in Florida who was eaten by an alligator).


spaceneedl said...

time is in short supply, golf-wise. which is why i've liked my recreation in manageable, hour-long segments.

basketball fits the desireable profile: good exercise, good eye-hand, good for the soul (usually).

but then there's the cost.

we'll see...