Saturday, January 30, 2010

You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling

You ever break up with someone and then, after a few months of their absence, begin to wax poetic about all the warm, fuzzy things that person used to do until it becomes clear that you threw away the best relationship in the history of the world that no other relationship could ever top with the person of your dreams and that no one will ever love you again? And then you're ridiculously happy the next time you run into (read: stalk) that person, until after 10 minutes of conversing with them they say or do something that reminds you all over again why you're glad to be single and that your nostalgia was a mere product of your own loneliness, boredom and fear of spinsterhood? (No? Just me?) Anyways, that's the relationship I think I have with wheelchair basketball.

Last March, I broke up with wheelchair basketball because it was causing me nothing but hip-ache and pain. I was so burnt out that I literally felt a bit nauseous when I passed the bus we used to travel on. After watching a tournament a few weeks ago, however, I began to get that lovin' feeling. I missed playing a sport (rather than just exercising). I missed blocking shots and laying the smack down. So even though my hip was not exactly ready for action, I decided to suit up.

I found a wide chair and developed a strapping system that wouldn't hurt the place where my gluteus medius detached. The fact that this so-called "strapping system" was nothing more than a stretchy luggage strap that perpetually came undone and caused me to basically stand up every time I turned a corner did not particularly phase me. For a few weeks, I was joyous. I was playing the sport I loved! I was having fun! I was getting back to normal! The things that usually annoyed me about the sport (people bitching at one another, the fact that sport is a socially acceptable way to unload your rage on someone) seemed to be merely amusing quirks! Everything was hugs, kisses and cuddly puppies!

This past week, however, I've remembered why I broke up with wheelchair basketball and I've begun to suspect that my relationship with the sport might be better left to the occasional booty call. The problem is that the Type A personality in me wants to do things well. If I can't do something well, I at least want to do it to the best of my ability. I've therefore become frustrated with the fact that I'm using a chair set-up that would have been considered archaic and clumsy 15 years ago. (When your chair set up went out of style along with blue eyeliner, you might just have a problem). Because of my ongoing hip problems, I can't strap my knees down (because, when I do, sometimes my body zigs and my hip zags and I get flashbacks of last season). I can't use snowboard bindings (which will rub against the side of my hip). I'm beginning to get the off-and-on numbness and shooting pain down my leg that signals that my lower back is quitting me. My hip is perpetually sore.

Bottom line: my balance is bad, my speed is bad and my turning radius is bad, and it's hard to focus on the finer points of the sport when you're still stuck on the finer points of how to not suck at everything. Right now, the gap between the knowledge I have in my head and my ability to execute that knowledge is worse than it was before the hip replacement. Besides, now that I'm working, I have an outlet for the massive amount of energy I seem to possess, which means that wheelchair basketball is beginning to fail the "Is this worth missing "House" for?" test.

For this reason, I'm considering shuffling off back to retirement. My plan, however, is to wait until I get back to Champaign and am reunited with my own chair. Perhaps there's a way to change my strapping system for my chair so that I can keep up. If not, however, I think I might have to concede that while I love wheelchair basketball, we're just not meant to be. Wait...What's this? Have I also dropped out of the Screw-You-Body-You'll-Do-What-I-Tell-You-To-Do School of Decision Making and Pain Management? Have I turned in my membership to the Cartesian Dualism Society of Body Awareness? Am I actually being mature for once?

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