For the past decade or two, I haven’t been what you’d call a careful person. I’m pretty spontaneous, and no doubt some of the silly things that come out of my mouth have some folks questioning my sanity.
And I want to do things. Things that involve spurts of energy, throwing my arms into the air, singing when I feel like it. I’ve loved dancing for many years. Jody used to enjoy staring at folks who were watching me dance. She loved seeing their fascination with my erratic use of four limbs – not exactly the fox trot, not exactly jiving, not exactly … anything.
I hurt my knee on Canada Day last year, slipping on some slopey grass. It still hasn’t healed fully. I’ve wanted to get an MRI to see what’s going on, but my doctor at the Fowler-Kennedy Clinic offered another perspective. “You have arthritis in both knees. They’re degenerating some. The grass was just the moment that caused you to pay attention to something that previously you couldn’t see.” Oh. So I’m doing these eight exercises, not to end a pain that came on suddenly but to strengthen knees enough so that I can continue doing the “Activities of Daily Living”.
And what exactly are these ADL’s? I guess that’s up to me to decide. Walking, climbing stairs, bending over to pick up the newspaper – these are good things. But I want more. I want to play floor hockey with the kids at school! Doctor J warned me about the dangers of sudden sideways movements of that joint of mine, but saw floor hockey in my future. That was three weeks ago. Today I decided the future is now.
A friend and colleague presented me with a blue t-shirt this morning. Written across the logo of the Toronto Maple Leafs was the name of the school. On the the back was “Brucio”. That’s me! At noon, the teachers’ team was to bang sticks with an ace kids’ squad from Grades 5 and 6. The winner would go to the finals on Thursday.
So, Bruce … yes or no? I said yes, after consulting with my right knee. It smiled up at me. The kids are fast and aggressive. I’m slow and aggressive. I got out there and did battle, noticing that when the puck did end up on my stick, I had precious little time to do anything valuable with it. Oh well. I played some so-so defense and got a few good passes off to my teammates. The knee twinged here and hurt there but I consistently remained vertical. I even got a zippy shot on net. The Grade 6 girl playing goal had to make the best stop in the history of the western world to deny me. Or … the puck headed right for her stomach.
I picked an opponent to check and stuck with him like glue, occasionally. More often, he was long gone down the gym floor while I breathed behind. Happily though, I wasn’t the token adult. I played hard. I wasn’t out of place. I contributed to our stellar 1-1 tie with the kids. And we do it all over again on Thursday.
Am I crazy? Am I risking my future ability to walk by engaging in these hockey shenanigans? Is this a late life crisis? Naw. None of the above. I’ll keep doing my physio. I’ll do my yoga. I’ll be on the elliptical. And I will have fun with those kids. They deserve me and I deserve them. And watch out Miss Goalie. I see a wrist shot to the top corner in your future.