History has shown that I am not exactly a genius in the "making smart health decisions" department. I have a tendency to run my body into the ground harder than those WWF wrestlers who spend their lives being hit over the head with chairs and walk like old men by the time they're 40....except I'm 27 and I walk like an old man....on heroin. I must have the world's most boring masochistic streak: no whips, no leather, no safety word, just wheelchair basketball.
That's right. Not only am I back playing wheelchair basketball, but I'm back practicing with the U of I varsity team. Translation: this morning, I woke up at 5:45 a.m. already wearing my workout clothes, froze my ass off in my 58-degree apartment while I struggled to make toast without waking up everyone in my household, bundled up in 8 million layers, nearly wiped out on the ice three times walking to my car, then drove to practice in the dark singing Destroyer's "Self Portrait (With Thing)" at the top of my lungs to wake myself up ("tonight is not your night....no it's not your night...oooooh....yeah").
As I was engaging in a little Dan Bejar early-morning karaoke, I thought to myself: Arley, you cannot even complain about this shit because you are doing this voluntarily. You are choosing to be here. Right now, you could be in bed with your cat drinking coffee and reading "The Savage Detectives," (which is awesome, by the way, even though Bolano does tons of shit that I usually hate in fiction). The only thing worse than getting up at 5:45 a.m. in winter is having no ability to complain about it.
I must admit, however, that it's good to be back, even though the only way I can play is to use a "waist-trimming" neoprene strap that is designed to "sweat inches off your waistline" (I can corroborate the "sweating" part...not so much the "inches" part) as a strap, which means that I'm the only class 4.0 (read: nearly able-bodied) player strapping like a class 1.0 (read: high paraplegic). It's not the most dignified way to play basketball, but at least I'm sweating my way to a svelter me.
It's strange being back as a guest instead of a player, but there's something wonderful about getting through a whole practice without half of my skeleton falling off. Even though my hip shifts around a lot and makes a clunking sensation that makes me a little queasy, at least those sensations are just annoying. As my teammate Shawna said, "It's so nice not to have to tug on your leg all the time!" Truer words were never spoken, though I guess I'll have to find a new pick-up line. (Because "hey, baby, can you tug on my leg to put my hip back in its socket?" was really getting me places).
In my defense, I've actually tried to be smart (smarter?...smartish?...) about the whole thing. After two days of practice, my back was acting up and I kept getting pins and needles in my right foot. Did I say, "Fuck you, body. I don't need sensation in that body part anyhow. Now let's go lift some heavy things!" No! Instead, I took a day off, slapped on a heat pack or two, and chilled the fuck out. In response, my back stopped being a diva and I was able to practice the next day. Baby steps, people. Baby steps. After all, I can't afford to be gimpier.