On July 30th, 2008 I broke my ankle playing Ultimate at Reed, ending my club season.
I was first on crutches, then in a walking boot then brace for about a month and a half.
As soon as the doc said my bone was healed, I started pushing my body harder than I ever have before, working with my frustration of months of not being able to use my body. As you can guess, after rushing into 6-days-a-week of either lifting, running, playing or plyos without rebuilding a base of strength, my body said ‘fuck you’ and hit me with incapacitating back pain and worrisome knee instability. I lessened my intensity and hoped my body would catch up– no luck. After an embarrassing attempt to play a tournament at the University of Oregon at the end of November, I decided to take a month an a half off. Also, I began to see a chiropractor with experience with athletes.
I took all of December off, barring back stretching exercises prescribed by Dr. Higginson, and began doing back strengthening exercises and running on a treadmill the first week of 2009. I’ve also tried to combat the unavoidable back damage that sitting down all day can do by walking around and stretching at work, and using a yoga ball instead of a chair. I started throwing again the second week of January, and kept running a few days a week, though my stamina was shot.
This past weekend (Jan 30-Feb 1) I went to Phoenix, Arizona to play in a tournament with a Reed reunion team. I had a spectacular weekend, seeing a lot of guys I hadn’t seen in ages, some for a few years. I was in no kind of aerobic shape, but my back, knee and ankle treated me very well.
I rate my play at an even C, on the scale of best play of my life being an A+. I didn’t have the throws I used to, but occasionally tried to throw as if I did, which normally resulted in a turnover. I’m smart/experienced enough to be able to play poach/contain D without fucking my team over; however, I’m used to being one of the fastest people on the field at all times. To not be able to take that for granted was pretty tough. It’s a point of pride that I rarely get scored on whatever level I play at, but I gave up three points this weekend.
In the next few months, I’m looking forward to pushing myself, in a considered way, towards getting in shape for Rhino season again. Tryouts are going to be hard, and I feel like I’m going to need to work harder than most to make the team again– again, because as a veteran the team will need to take some things for granted; I don’t have the rookie’s fallback of working towards a hoped-for potential.
Here’s an email I set Google to send me in March, back when I was on crutches:
Shane. This is broken-ankled Shane calling.
Pull your fucking shit together, kid.
Remember what it was like to sit in a chair with a camera for two days. To not be able to carry shit. Not run, skip, throw, jump.
When are Rhino tryouts? How are your throws?
Remember sucking it up at track workouts this year? Start now, and be at the front of that pack.
What’s your fucking excuse?
There’s always an excuse; it’s time to be bigger than those.