October 19, 2006

Shoulder, surgery, sports, plea.

Well, it's finally happened. After years of competitive volleyball, I'm having a minor athletic crisis, and sometime around Thanksgiving will be holding a funeral for my favorite passtime in the world.

I played volleyball from about the 6th grade until, well, the present. Competitively for seven years, and then more recreationally for the last six, because:

1. There's a good chance of meeting cool girls to expand my ever-growing (read: fairly small BUT RAD) social circle who don't have eating disorders

2. There's a good chance of meeting charismatic, athletic men who don't smell like french fries made in an auto parts store restroom

3. I love the game, and am lucky enough to still have an impressive vertical and a pretty nasty outside hit, I do say so myself.

Until now. A few weeks ago, I started feeling pretty significant pain while playing, which turned into significant pain while playing, getting dressed, driving and sleeping. I finally went to a shoulder guy -- formerly with the Mariners -- who put me through an MRI. After two hours of whirring and thumping in that tube and three days of waiting for results, I got the call from Doc. Apparently I not only have a tear in my Labrum, I have completely torn my rotator cuff. I guess this is one of those things you kinda have to have to use your arm, so the only option is surgery. And three weeks in a sling. And 6 weeks of physical therapy. And some really awesome pain meds...

Anyway, there goes volleyball, the only sport I ever loved. At least for a few months.

A little history:

I was never much for other sports, finding softball boring and the uniforms totally unflattering. Basketball I would have loved, but I didn't have a dad who taught me to "shoot hoops", and so got a late start in the sport. Soccer I played, but after 5 years on a team ironically named "The Stars" that never won a single game I was finding it hard to stay optimistic.

I did track for a few years, jumping the triple jump and running a dash and a relay occasionally, but soon I got a license and therefore outgrew childish (and inefficient) "running".

No, traditional sports weren't for me. Instead, my athletic career included the following:

- Dance, in the early years. Ballet, tap, jazz.

- Dance evolved into gymnastics when my dance teachers recognized that clumsy and stupid were more likely to be successful while hurtling over the vault than in a tutu in the Nutcracker. (I turned down a role as a one-legged rat in that production, by the way...)

- I also spent some time in Synchronized Swimming (again, hard to hurt or embarrass yourself underwater). No joke.

- Gymnastics was my passion until I was about 14, when three things happened to me. First, I was on the beam attempting a backhandspring when my feet slipped out from under me and I "crotched" the beam. Crotching a beam basically consists of getting the equivalent of a sandpaper burn all up the insides of your legs and then landing with all of our weight on your crotch on the beam before sliding to the floor in agony. Fun. Second, I became anemic one summer and fainted, hurting a vertebrae in my neck. Gone were my days of complicated floor moves, as putting my chin to my chest was painful. Third, I grew. Like 5 inches. TOO tall.

- Enter Volleyball, my love for more than a decade. It has it all: action, intensity, jumping, hitting something as hard as you canl, diving onto the floor, smack-talking, teamwork, and really, really hot uniforms.

(Okay, maybe they were more like this, but nobody likes a stickler for details.)

Now I have to find a new sport that isn't dependent upon the critical right shoulder and that I don't hate/suck at.

I have picked up both golf and tennis recently (pre-injury) and loved them both, but they're out of the question, post-surgery. I'm actually having a hard time thinking of a sport not dependant upon the shoulder. Bowling, curling and table tennis are out. So is cricket, lacrosse and hockey. Downhill skiing, maybe - but only if I avoid moguls and pole-planting. Frisbee and tetherball? Out. Dodgeball? Definitely not. Where have all the good sports gone?



I'm going to have to start running again. Upside? Fabulous ass and increased skinniness. Downside? The running.


If any of you have fun little gadgets that make running more fun, easier or generally less completely fucky shitty, please let me know. Otherwise, hold for stories of torture and months of complaint... just the way you like it.



Jackie said...

Oh my poor Liz...I feel your pain. Two months of physical therapy and counting. Luckily I only have an impingement which, thank the Lord, means no surgery. But it also means no volleyball for another month. How are we supposed to show off our mad skills?

Oh Volleyball, how I love thee!!

Trebuchet said...

Eeew. Physical therapy. I'm sorry to hear that!!

I guess it would be inappropriate to confess I'm somewhat relieved you're sharing my pain, though, wouldn't it? Inappropriate or evil...

Hurry up and get better so I can live vicariously through you!

Ken Lohr said...
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