Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Tear Their Achilles Tendons

HYDE PARK SOFTBALL FIELD – At approximately 10:37 pm EST Tuesday night, with a light breeze blowing in from the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, I stood on first base, brimming with confidence and ready to advance.

I hadn’t hit much over the first three games, but finally got “locked in” on my first at bat, smashing a liner to right. Watching the ball sizzle over the second baseman’s head, I thought to myself: Playa, you may be 43, but you still got game!

It’s too bad, though, what they say about pride coming before the fall.

The next batter up hit a grounder to short – I took one, maybe two steps and heard SNAP! I went down like a sack of spuds.

achillestearMy first thought was: did somebody just shoot me? Who would do such a thing? After ticking off a short list of potential suspects – ex-girlfriends, creditors, that guy in the blue Hyundai I’d unintentionally cut off the other day making a bad merge onto I-275 – I decided the probability of a sniper scoping me out from the grassy knoll by Sweet Bay was unlikely.

In actuality, the snapping was the sound of my Achilles tendon rupturing.

A half hour later I’m flat out on a hospital bed in the ER at Memorial Hospital watching some kind of prairie dog trying to sniff out a deer and her doe in a bucolic meadow scene. The nurses were affixing a splint to my leg and I had to look away because who really wants to see that kind of carnage on Animal Planet, circle of life or not.

I grabbed my iPhone and typed in the words, “Who was Achilles?”

It’s been a few minutes since I last read The Iliad, so I’ll paraphrase: Achilles was this seriously bad dude who fought in the Trojan War back when you could get your gods and demigods in quantities of 6 or a dozen and in 47 different flavors depending on your spiritual needs and how you wanted to mutilate or condemn somebody who’d crossed you. Turns out this other, lesser known dude rendered Achilles asunder by shooting him in the heel with an arrow. Because he died from such a small wound, the term Achilles’ heel has come to signify a person’s point of weakness.

Hobbling out to my car it occurred to me how quickly you can go from hero to zero, even if it’s just in your own mind. Yesterday, I’d planned on rounding out Cowboy Appreciation Week by taking my fiancé to the Strawberry Festival and then onto one of the area’s oldest honkey tonks to ride a mechanical bull.

Today, I’m feeling like Alan Ladd in the final scene of the western movie classic, Shane. Banged up. Slumped in my saddle. Blogging towards parts un-known. Only nobody’s yelling, “Randy! Come back! Come back, Randy!” 

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