This is the story I didn’t want to write…
Two days after I pitched on June 23, I had my first appointment with the orthopedist. This doctor is very well known and very respected. He took X-Rays, put me through a battery of small tests, he examined my legs, took careful note of my right Achilles, and, after all of that, said that my baseball season, my softball season, and my running season are all over.
I knew this was coming.
We all knew this was coming.
I just didn’t want to hear it.
I still don’t.
I knew I failed the test at the doctors when, while I was standing in my bare feet, he asked me to stand on my left foot only. That was easy enough. He then said, “Go on you tippy toes.” I also did that well enough. When he asked me to do the same with my right foot, I grabbed hold of the table and cabinet in the room to go up on my toes. He said, “Let go.” I went down on my foot, and when I tried it again without holding on… I couldn’t.
He looked at me.
I asked about the New York City Marathon. “You can get a medical deferral.”
I asked about softball and baseball. “You’re injured. You can do serious damage if you keep playing.”
I asked if he can fix me. “Will I run another marathon?”
“Absolutely. Just not this one, this year.”
The long and the short of it is a have tears in my Achilles. If I continue to stress them, by continuing to push them, I could shred the tendon.
“That would not be good,” said the doctor.
The doctor isn’t certain that rest will help, I may have done too much damage already, but he’s going to take a wait and see approach.
He’s going to carefully study the MRI, he’s going to confer with my sports injury/chiropractor, and they are going to make a plan for me to heal.
(In the meantime, I’m going to wear some silly night boot that stretches the Achilles for an hour every evening.)
I’ll see the doctor again on July 8.
There’s just one problem – I’m not a good patient.
When my Achilles hurts, I want to run and play ball. If it doesn’t hurt (as it doesn’t now that I’m resting it), I really want to run and play ball!
I can’t sit still.
I still can’t admit that I’m on the shelf…
I notified all my teams that I’m likely done for the seasons. (That wasn’t fun. I miss playing already.)
I actually say all of that with one caveat. I plan to pitch once more. I’ll wait until the last game of the season.
I don’t care.
Ethan, my son, is now on the team. He’s a catcher. He can be my catcher.
We might never get this chance again. Time and life are fleeting. We have to make the most of the opportunities we’re given.
I won’t let this one pass.
I will pitch one more game this season.
I’ve come this far without killing the tendon. Heck, I ran the marathon on it last year. What’s a little more pain?
I can pitch one more game.
This week I skipped watching the softball games as a spectator to travel with the baseball team to Morristown to watch them (and Ethan) play.
The team again jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
Again, that was the high water mark.
They lost. The score was a lot to a little.
Ethan played well. He had a hit. He walked. He scored two runs. (He also struck out and popped out.) Ethan played third base and caught two innings.
I coached third, I kept score and felt a little like I did when I was Ethan’s baseball coach all those years ago.
After the game, Coach Yates announced the three players from our team that were chosen by the team to play in this year’s All-Star Game.
I was one of the three.
I think they were just being nice to vote me onto the team, but it sure is an honor.
The game is on Saturday. I spent a lot of time thinking about it. I said to myself, about a million times, “I can pitch one winning…it’s the All-Star Game!”
Discretion is the better form of valor.
I gave my spot to a teammate who is actually much (much) more deserving than me.
I’d love to pitch in the All-Star Game, but I have to be smart. If I’m going to be stupid about one last game this season, it will be with the whole team and with Ethan there, not with a bunch of All-Stars.
I’d love to play. It’s a pretty neat honor.
But I’m hurt.
I’m not a good patient, but I have to admit that I’m hurt. I can’t do it all, as much as I’d like to.
Who knows? Next year… at 100%…
Heck, next year I should make the All-Star team again!
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