Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gage-ing GrammaB's Parenting

In our family, legend has it that I played the 1982 Vermont high school soccer playoffs with "a broken back" as my 8th seeded Eagles swept through the playoffs to earn a share of the championship title. I was the starting center fullback , a senior and a captain, providing speed and aggression amidst a pair of bookend beheamoths on a rough and tough defense. Three playoff games with three broken bones in my back -- that's how I tell it and I have a banner to show for it.

Two questions came out that adventure:
  1. Wait, you mean the championship game ended in a tie?
  2. Wait, your mother let you play with a broken back?
Yep, back then, there was no provision for a 3rd OT or for shootouts. 2-2 after 2OT? Game over. Tie. Two DII champions. Two championship banners. Sure, they say a tie is like kissing your sister, but in this case, it was more like kissing a hot friend of your sister ... ;-)

Now, thanks to Justin Gage of the NFL's Titans, folks can understand the answer to #2, too.

The Titans WR will miss the next few weeks of the NFL season "after sustaining multiple fractures to transverse process bones in his back," an injury suffered while making a game-winning touchdown catch. Gage's doctor says the player has no risk of paralysis, as the breaks are in the small bones that eminate away from the vertebrae, not in the spinal column itself. The issue is pain -- Gage just needs to heal up to the point where he can hande the pain.

My ears perked up when I heard the news -- that was my injury!

For years, listeners who suffered through the tale have called my momma's parenting into question. "She let you play? What was she thinking?" Neither of us have ever had much of a credible answer. "The doc essentially said I could play if I could handle the pain" has never carried much weight. Now, we can smile and say, "Hey, it was just like Justin Gage." She's been vindicated!!

Gage has chosen to sit out to heal as the Titans are faaaar from contention. He says he'll take comfort in it because he loves his catch. I chose to play through it because of our quest for that championship. It cost me my senior year of basketball. Playing meant I had to spend the winter healing in a brace to be sure I would be ready to take my place at 2nd base for the Eagles in the spring. Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing.

Here's a wish of "all the best" to Gage as he heals. I look foward to adding him to my fantasy team when he's ready to go again. We "transverse process bone fracture" types have to have each other's backs!

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