December 6, 2013
Hello Sports fans-
I hope everyone enjoyed a great Thanksgiving turkey and over-consumed joyfully. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, as it is an opportunity to step back and think about all the things we have to be thankful for, which is a really good way to look at life. It is also a great opportunity to consume mass quantities of food, while temporarily setting aside guilt, and then continuing with leftovers, incorporating pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream into the daily diet.
For me, the holiday was a bit bittersweet, as I managed to rupture the Achilles tendon in my left leg while playing paddle tennis on the day after Thanksgiving. I was sprinting for a short ball near the net when I heard a "pop" and actually saw stars as I went down like a ton of bricks and stayed down. Having blown my ACL before, the telltale "pop" familiar, and I knew right away I was in trouble. You know when you are watching an NFL game and you see a guy get hurt and he starts pounding the turf with his fist because he knows he is screwed? That was me.
Which reminds me of a similar incident that happened to my son Griffin, age 16, just a few weeks ago. He was playing in a lacrosse tournament at UMASS when he jumped up to check a guy and landed awkwardly and his right knee inverted and 'popped" and same thing... Lying on the ground, pounding the turf... knowing he was screwed. So Grif is scheduled for surgery to replace his torn ACL on January 10th, while I just had surgery on my torn Achilles yesterday. The reason for the delay in his surgery is to allow the swelling in his knee to go away and for him to regain full range of motion and some strength. For the Achilles tear, the protocol is to go in and retrieve the two ends as soon as possible before the upper tendon roll up the leg like a window shade and becomes difficult to retrieve. So, similar injuries, but different treatment plans, but all in one family. Like lightning striking twice. Or just plain bad luck. What was the part about being thankful...?
The silver lining for Griffin is that he has been offered (and accepted) a lacrosse scholarship to the University of Virginia, and will be playing for the same coach, Dom Starsia, that I played for over 30 years ago at Brown University. Since leaving Brown, Dom has become the winningest coach in NCAA Division 1 lacrosse history, having won 4 NCAA titles, and it will be an honor for Grif to suit up in the Cavaliers orange and blue play for him. And pretty cool for me as Dad, watching my son play for my former coach. I feel pretty thankful.
Anyway, back to sailing. My pal Dave Rearick is safely in to Cape Town after a lengthy solo passage from Jamestown RI by way of Bermuda. Congratulations to Dave and his new soccer ball companion- Franklin... I hope that works out for ya Dave. The Transat Jacques Vabre race is over for most of the competitors, except for my friends Rob Windsor and Hannah Jenner aboard 11th Hour Racing, who had to return to France to replace a failed forestay strop and ended up more than 1,000 miles behind the fleet. I can imagine that Rob and Hannah are a bit burned out at this time, just trying to get in to Itajai, Brazil and get this race over with.
So perhaps todays theme is injuries and disappointments- failed ligaments, tendons and forestays- all causing great disappointment and allowing competitors (aka human beings) the opportunity to look inside themselves to determine why they compete, and how badly they want to fix what was broken and get back out on the field. I often think back to one of my Dad's favorite poems "The Man in the Arena", by Teddy Roosevelt, which celebrates the simple decision to compete, rather than standing on the sidelines, second-guessing those that tried and failed on the field of play.
So, get out there and compete Sports fans, and be thankful if you are not currently injured and if you are injured, join the Harris boys on the road to recovery-