Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Torn Meniscus

Torn meniscus are my two newest hated words. To torture myself I decided to make a list of other words that can be made up of the letters in these two words. They include, but are not limited to: cuss, mess, smite, scorn, crime, not nice, and sucs. (Okay, not really a word, but close, and the sentiment is there.) Coincidence? I think not. `

I hate being injured! It is a beautiful Wednesday morning, not too hot - and my kids are busy going swimming with some friends, and I bet there is a huge turnout of people at the soccer field this morning, and I am inside, fretting and typing.

You know how you break up with someone and every song on the radio is a perfect reminder of how much you are suffering? That is how it feels to be in my house and not be allowed to play soccer. Please, look past the dirt and watch my pain-soaked photo essay of how soccer is everywhere.

It started off innocently enough, since I was reading the paper on my couch, and I look over at my coffee table and see this, the bookmark my kids gave me as a gift. It has a tiny little soccer ball dangling from it... the other end of the coffee table is the infamous 'finger soccer' set, now missing one of the soccer balls. I think the cat may have eaten it.

To get away from all this soccer taunting me, I hobble up the stairs to my room, and guess what is on my bedside table? A stack of soccer books!

Fine, down to the family room it is. But curses, no World Cup games for a few more days. And what's this? Perhaps the soft Ikea soccer ball the kids and I used to punt around! (It is looking a little worse for wear. I think I might have spilled some beer on it when I saw David Villa score for Spain yesterday.)

In the kitchen I stumble across this soccer keychain on top of my microwave. It came with a bottle of South African wine I bought a month ago, before I got injured. The wine is, of course, long gone. But the theme is really emerging now. Soccer is everywhere. And what colour is my kitchen? Black and white, of course.

All I need to do is look down. This is my kitchen floor. (I probably should have washed my floor before I took this - don't look too closely.) Have you ever seen a floor that looked more like a soccer ball? Dang....

And now we are just in a complete, sneaky, black and white soccer hate spiral. Look at this bag, that I need to take back to Tina (my soccer friend)-

Soccerish, right? And also these balloons, leftover from Soph's birthday party? They're just sitting on the ground, asking to be kicked. And they're black and white.

No soccer for three weeks means my brain has begun to rot. (Not so fun fact: rot is another word that can be made from the letters in Torn Meniscus.) It's right there in black and white. This sucs!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Boys IV

Once at the bar after a soccer game, a young woman tried to pick me up in the washroom at the pub. Having no experience with this, it is the only logical conclusion I can draw from our exchange. I’ve had a few drinks with the guys, and I’ve just left the stall and am washing my hands when she comes in. “So what are you doing here?” she asks. I assume of course, that she isn’t inquiring as to why I am in the washroom, but that she means in this pub in general, in our tiny little town, on a Monday night, when there is almost no one else around.

“Uh, I just played soccer.” I say.

“Yeah?” she says, as though this is the most interesting thing in the world. She is from Calgary, she tells me, and was just out here for a friend’s wedding, and she just decided to stay an extra day and she has to go back tomorrow. I start to recognize the Calgary part – is that a western style shirt she’s wearing? – when she puts her hand on my upper arm, standing behind me, while we look at each other in the mirror. “You’re cute.” She says. “And you’ve got those freckles...” she says. I hesitate, wondering for a second if I should explain to her that they are probably age spots.

Do I look like I play for that team? I fumbled some excuse and went back out to the pub and sat with my friends. I want to look like I play for this team. Soccer. The boys. Nothing sexual, just because I am good enough. There is no way in hell that I am about to tell the boys what happened in the washroom because the teasing would never, ever end and they would probably try send her over some sexual sounding shooter, pretending it’s from me. One of those ones with whipped cream.

I tell Steve when I get home though. He sometimes wakes up and when he asked how was it? I said “I think a girl hit on me in the pub” and he is suddenly a lot more awake, even though it is 1am. “What did she look like?” he asks. Of course. Men. Geez, I don’t know, she looked like someone who made me really uncomfortable by hitting on me because

a) I’m not gay, and
b) I’ve been married for fifteen years and I don’t tend to get hit on too often.

She was tall, taller than me. She was thin. She wore that westernish shirt. She had a pixie kind of haircut, but not as cute as Tegan and Sara’s. “She looked like someone who was lonely and desperately trying to score on her friend’s wedding weekend and there weren’t a lot of women around to choose from.” When he finds out this is all that happened, it becomes less interesting to Steve. He falls back asleep, snoring.

The next week at the pub, the boys and I are talking about how quiet it is, just like last week, and now I tell them what happened to me with the girl the week before.

“Why didn’t you tell us then?” they say, all outraged. A teasing opportunity, missed.

“Because I know what you guys would have said.”

“What?!” they say, with mock innocence.

What did she look like?” I say.

They laugh. It’s the kind of laugh that means that’s exactly what they would have said. I may not always be the best soccer player, but at least I might have played that right. Yee haw.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Physio and the Vuvuzela Theory

I think we can all agree that the 2010 World Cup vuvuzelas are tortuous and mind numbing. (Thank you, Urban Dictionary, for the perfect definition.) You don’t even have to be a soccer fan to notice these – maybe you are just walking by a cafe showing a World Cup game, or scrolling through the TV channels trying to find something to watch, and you’ll start to think “am I being followed by a swarm of bees?” or, as some commentators have put it, “is a goat being lead to slaughter nearby?” or "is there an elephant somewhere passing wind?" Watch enough of the soccer, and you sorta get used to them. But you know what else is tortuous and mind numbing, and that I won’t get used to? Physio.

Physiotherapists are unbelievably smart and they know all sorts of stuff about your joints and your body that you never knew. They went to school for a long time and charge high fees for a reason. But I have had physio for my knees twice now – once in the last millennium when I had surgery on my torn ACL and once this week for this – whatever this is. And both times the physio is positively primitive and barbaric. Three times a day, for a variety of sets and reps, I must lie on my back, tie a rope around my foot, and pull on it so my knee bends. It really hurts. (Then I must cover my knees with frozen peas.) This is the best they can do, with all their schooling and advanced knowledge? Explain to me how this is different than the medieval rack. It is truly both mind-numbing and tortuous. I’d rather clean. I’d rather poke myself in the eye with something sharp. Good god, I’d rather do yoga. (He he....)

Do you detect a touch of cranky? Perhaps. I haven’t been able to player soccer for 12 days now and it just might be getting to me. I complained to Steve about my medieval torture and he thinks I should embrace the noise of the vuvuzela. He suggests that I lie on the floor and do my physio exercises in front of the TV when a game is playing, turn up the volume really loud, and put my head right by the speaker. Bring on the brutal! (I’m not sure what this would accomplish, to be truthful. Two annoying things don’t cancel each other out and make life pleasant. Imagine, for instance, listening to a very loud Rick Astley song while scrubbing your toilet.)

Do you think maybe Steve is getting tired of waiting on me?

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Knee Interview

So, I got hurt. I’ve been on crutches most of the week. Because this is far too depressing to even think about directly in terms of playing soccer and blogging about it, I have decided to accept a fictional interview request from Christiano Ronaldo to explain my injury. Here he is:

Ronaldo: So here I am. Can we make it quick? I have a game tomorrow.

Me: Oh sure, try to shirk your journalistic responsibilities with some game....

Ronaldo: It’s the World Cup? The Biggest sporting event in the world? Against Ivory Coast? Drogba’s team?

Me: Oh, right. I’ve PVR’d it. Okay. I’ll be brief.

Ronaldo: Thanks. So, you hurt your leg or something?

Me: Yes, my knee.

Ronaldo: What happened?

Me: Well I was playing a soccer game for this women’s team I just joined and I sort of twisted and collapsed and it really hurts.

Ronaldo: Was it a real injury, or fake?

Me: Uh,real. We don’t do fake injuries.

Ronaldo: Why not? You can get free kicks out of them.

Me: Yes, well, but everyone can see they’re fake, right? It’s one of the worst things about watching you guys.

Ronaldo just glares.

Me again: But, uh, anyway, our refs probably wouldn’t even notice if we faked injuries anyway. They don’t run much. They just stand in the centre circle and try to see everything from there.

Ronaldo: What?!

Me: I know.

We have a shared, bonding moment of hatred for lazy, stupid refs. Look how similar we are to each other!

Ronaldo: So why is this knee thing such a big deal?

Me: Well, it’s just that this time it was my good knee.

Ronaldo: What do you mean, your good knee?

Me: Well I have had two ACL surgeries on my other knee, many years ago, so I think of that as my bad knee. Now I will have two bad knees. Even though this is hopefully less serious. Perhaps only a torn meniscus.

Ronaldo: I’ve had trouble with one ankle, but they just fixed it and it’s fine. I don’t understand the concept of part of a body being bad. My body is perfect.

Me, quietly: I know. Sigh.

Ronaldo: Pardon?

Me: Nothing.

Ronaldo: So, if it is just going to get better, what’s the big deal?

Me: Well, it is at least 6 or 7 weeks of no soccer while I do physio. So depressing.

Ronaldo: Oh, that is depressing. You know, when I get depressed, like when I crash a Ferrari, I just buy another Ferrari.

Me: How nice for you. For me, that’s not really an option. I’m thinking about making the kids get a paper route so they can earn enough money to pay for my MRI.

Ronaldo: What’s a paper route?

Me: Never mind.

Ronaldo: So you said you had the other injuries a long time ago. You’ve been playing soccer a long time?

Me: Yes. ahem. More years than you’ve been alive.

Ronaldo: With who?

Me: Well, I used to play for UVIC, but now, mostly just drop-in.

Ronaldo: What’s UVIC?

Me: Oh, it’s roughly the female equivalent of playing for Manchester United or Real Madrid.

Ronado: Oh, so you’re good.

Me: Uh, I used to be okayish.

Ronaldo: You’re a famous female soccer player, then? That's why I'm here?

Me: No, you’re here as a fictional construct that allows me to explain my effing injury without sounding too sorry for myself.

Ronaldo: Glad to be of use.

Me: If you score for Portugal tomorrow, will you dedicate it to me?

Ronaldo: No.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Finger Soccer

Because I am beginning to believe that it will never stop raining, I have resorted to playing ‘finger soccer’ with my kids with this toy they bought me from the dollar store. It comes with a goalie net, a goalie that you move around by a stick that pokes into his back, two mini soccer balls and two ‘feet’ that attach to your fingers, so your fingers can play soccer.

Hannah asked to play it with me. (I am trying to get over the irony of the fact that she will never play real soccer with me when I ask her to – but that is another story.) When it was her turn in goal, she began with the asinine strategy of simply moving the goalie back and forth whether I was shooting or not. (Unfortunately, I’ve actually seen my other daughter Sophie play soccer like this in real life. Let’s just say it’s mortifying watching your kid dodge back in forth in front of the net unnecessarily when the ball is at the other end of the field.) But I decide to be quiet about it. Here I am in the comfort of my own home, not being judged by other parents, with plastic shoes stuck to my fingers, so sure, why not? Who am I to judge? Just a player for 30 years and a soccer coach, but go ahead and do your thing, I thought. You’ll learn.

But guess what? Her strategy worked. I shot, trying my hardest to time it so that it would miss the goalie and go in the net, but she actually managed to stop it. Repeatedly. It was like trying to get a hole-in-one at one of those mini golf courses with a windmill that passes in front of the hole every few seconds.

Bored by my lameness, Hannah changed her goalie strategy. She decided to do nothing instead. She placed the goalie in the middle of the net and sat back with her arms crossing her chest. I frantically finger-kicked mini soccer balls at Hannah’s goalie and none of them went in and she began to openly mock me. “Mom, you can’t even score when I do nothing.” She laughed.

(I was reminded of a statistic someone told me about real penalty kicks – that a large percentage of the time, the goalie could save them if they did nothing – no need to jump to the left or right - so many of us just kick it right at the goalie. I tried to look up this statistic and had no luck, so then I casually asked one of my English soccer friends if he knew anything about this and he said something like “Oh, you North Americans with your sports statistics. Most saves. Most minutes with the ball. Most successful passes. Rubbish.” Okay, so’ll have to take my word for it. )

To save my sanity in finger soccer, I decided to reverse roles and let Hannah shoot while I played goal. But then I worried that either:

a) she won’t score either and I don’t want her to be let down and hate soccer more than she already does


b) she will score and I will be shown up by my 10 year old.

So I decide to play the goalie upside down. My goalie will stop everything as well! On his head! And this strategy also works. (Mostly because when Hannah shoots, she shoots off to the side and with such force that the feet fly off her fingers. Not something that happens often in real life, to my knowledge.) Because I am atrociously immature, I believe I may have yelled “in your face!” while pointing at Hannah and even high-fived my 2-D goalie after most of my saves. To her credit she did eventually manage to score a few by not really shooting so much as just pushing the ball right up next to my goalie’s head and then forcing it across the line. Not sure if that would work in real life, but I am willing to try it, since I am a major, shameless goal-suck.

I bet you’ve never read such a detailed analysis of a dollar store toy before, eh? You’re welcome.