The last few years since I broke my ankle, it’s been a recurring story of rehabbing a lingering physical issue only to have something else betray me. Most recently, I spent the winter strengthening my ankle and back and getting into shape so I wouldn’t hurt myself at New Years’ Fest. The Reed alum team went as the Reed College Utah Jazz, below, and had a blast.
However, early Sunday I slammed my knee into the clay on a layout D and, after the bruising and swelling went down, I’ve still had fluid and numbness– probably acute bursitis that recurs if I lay out without knee pads. This set me back far enough that, combined with unemployment, it was clear that Rhino wasn’t in the cards for me this summer.
Naturally, after a few months of work to stabilize the knee and get my aerobic fitness back up to par, I tore my hamstring at Knife Fight practice last week. This is the third major episode of this, starting the last weeks of my senior year at Reed, and I know that I’ve got a month of rehab ahead of me plus another month of gradual strengthening– meanwhile losing ground on throws and drills and team time. Right now, though, I’ve given myself another week of absolutely no running, and we’ll check in when I start swimming and trying out a series of flexibility runs– thanks BLW for providing these with some advice.
Yep, I’ve been working hard during this stage of limited employment to get better at darts. Three seasons of team league gone by, I have two C-league championships and a B-league semifinals exit under my belt and have started to try my hand at singles competition.
I entered the Oregon Open in early April and thoroughly embarrassed myself on both days of competition. The first day was blind draw doubles; I got paired with a guy who probably tied me in the bottom 5% of the players there. We both knew it, and it sent our mental game to utter hell. I played the worst darts of my life, my hands were shaking uncontrollably, I was missing the board entirely and not having fun; completely in my own head. The only other darts experience I’ve had like it was when I had food poisoning during a team match; we won handily but I still felt like I’d lost. Left feeling miserable ad embarrassed; I knew if I played at my average skill level we would have won a few legs easily.
I went back the second day for Doubles 501 with my team captain, Mike. The competition was much better, since the pairings weren’t random, and we performed much better. However, the play started about two hours after the scheduled time, so by the time we faced an opponent Mike and I were on the bad side of a number of large, cheap rum and cokes. Over the next few hours we played some great games, won several against players that on other days would be out of our league, and lost a few gimme games by not hitting our outs. In the end, we were eliminated after pool play, and I was totally out of control. Amongst all the slurring, I have a memory of jogging to the pisser for the 20th time, weaving drunkenly among hundreds of people holding sharp things. Not my finest hour, but a ton more fun than the previous day.
Determined to leave the solo competition jitters behind me, I entered Portland’s summer singles league. There are 4 ranked divisions of six players, and I’m in the bottom division. Three months of work later, I’m a quantifiably better player than at the Open– specifically, consistency on scoring in 01, more out practice, and work on my weak areas of the board in cricket. The league shook itself out quickly; over halfway through I’m solidly the second best player in my division of 6.