Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Good Game (Series)

The Stanley Cup was won last night by the Chicago Blackhawks. They won the cup in six games after a frantic end to the game which saw them turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory in the final 2 minutes of play. That is an amazing accomplishment as the visiting team, but that's not what this post is about.

The NHL (and hockey in general) has a great (almost unheard of elsewhere) tradition for the end of playoff series. The two teams will line up at center ice and shake hands. It's a formal lining up and a nod to the hard work both teams put into the series. No one skips it. In fact, while watching this display of sportsmanship my wife asked what would happen if someone skipped it. I said that the guy's teammates would probably pummel him. That's how much it means to the game.

Watching the opposing side celebrate right after the final horn sounds cannot be easy. I would bet that most players want to get off the ice and away from the celebration that slipped their grasp. However, there were the Boston Bruins players and coaches waiting for the handshake. Boston's team captain Zdeno Chara led his side's handshake. I'm sure that is not an easy task for the captain, but to see him congratulate the Blackhawks is something we don't always see in other sports. Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks captain, in turn congratulated the Bruins in a heartfelt manner.

There was no taunting, no "no time for losers, cause we are the champions", no "nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah"s. There was respect, There was "great game", "good job", "congratulations" all around. Hockey may not be the most popular sport in the US, but it does have the tradition of putting aside the competitiveness of what happened in the game to congratulate the other team, whether you won or lost.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Long Time No Musing

Wow, when you fall off the wagon, you really fall off. I haven't written here in so long that there is no way I could catch up. So instead, I'll try and get things up to speed for the recent year.

In March I finished (note I say finished) tearing my rotator cuff in my right shoulder. Two events precipitated this. The first was playing co-ed indoor soccer where I got turned in a wall by some guy in a pink jersey (let the jokes commence). The second was playing in the parents-kids game for Sam's soccer team. The problem with the second event is that I was sprinting when it happened. Nothing like crashing into a bunch of 9 and 10 year olds, nor going shoulder first into a goal post. Just the natural action of pumping my arms to sprint for a ball finished it off.

I went in for surgery in April and when the bandages came off the Dr said "Oh yeah, the shoulder from hell". I was like really? He also went on to say that someone my age shouldn't have a shoulder that looked like that. Of course that made me feel really good about how I'd been treating my dominant arm over the years.

I spent six weeks in a sling and slept in a "recliner". The only saving grace was the Cold Therapy Unit (CTU). This device uses ice water pumped from a base unit into a "pad" that is strapped to my shoulder. This delivers the cold needed to reduce inflammation and provides some blessed relief from pain. Of course the medication I was given kept me in a blissful state for the first couple of weeks.

After 2 weeks I started Physical Therapy. This is a glorious system where you get to pay people to basically "beat you up". Ok, it's really not that bad most days, however when the therapist stretches you out there are some really good grimace moments. I like to think that I handle pain well and am determined to not invoke the "$5.00 charge for whining" that is posted on one of the walls.

Physical Therapy also comes with "homework". This is designed to help speed recovery, but I also think it is a devious plan to make me feel like my kids who are in grade school. Of course it also means that I get to use the CTU (I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to its cooling properties at this point).

All in all this hasn't been too bad. I'm at the point now where I feel like I could do everything I could before, so I still have to be careful because well I can't. So don't expect me to be making plays at shortstop anytime soon. On the other hand, I've been cleared to jog again, so I can start preparing for soccer season and playing the game I loved.