Friday, February 19, 2016

Jammin' fingers

After contentedly enjoying winter for weeks, my desire to hibernate ended around the time the groundhog didn't see his shadow. Of course, this happened just as the yucky inversion settled in over Utah—I couldn't see the mountains or the sun for days—which only made me even more stir-crazy being stuck inside all day.

These are the kinds of circumstances that force me to seek exciting changes—aka, "good" stress. This time, it was basketball.

No, no, not watching it; playing it.

The last time I was on an organized basketball team, I was about 11. Until junior high, I would shoot hoops in the driveway or play HORSE with my siblings, but I never really got past the remember-to-dribble-with-one-hand, shoot-the-ball-when-you're-open, defense-is-like-playing-tag stage.

The point is, it's been many, many years since I've played, and I knew I wouldn't be any good. I'm only telling you all this so you'll pat me on the back for being a big girl and doing it anyway.

I arrived at the stake center knowing full well that in about 24 hours I would feel like I'd been run over by a tractor. My return to softball had taught me that painful lesson.

The pain came, but about 20 minutes into the game, and in a way I wasn't really prepared for.

When you watch real athletes play basketball, your heart goes out to them when ankles are sprained and ACLs are torn. But nobody cares when balls bounce off players' heads and fingers get smashed. If it doesn't require surgery and/or physical therapy to fix, no one notices.

Well, I'm here to bring some love for the overlooked jammed fingers.

Being the tallest on my team, I figured my one value would be in rebounding. It went okay until the 4th finger on my left hand tried to catch the basketball all by itself.

It didn't work, obviously.

For a while there, I worried that the price for my "aggressiveness" was a broken finger, but I continued to play anyway. As I said, no one cares about smashed fingers.

This is one of those annoying cases where the physical representation of the injury refuses to do your suffering justice.

As much as I would like to milk this devastating injury, it's not broken, just sore, and, according to my dad, should be back to normal in about a week.

So instead of the full-body soreness I expected, I've got a swollen finger, which makes it surprisingly hard to get dressed, type, put lotion on, and pick things up, even though the victim is my most useless finger on my non-dominant hand. Don't even get me started on tying shoes (I wore sandals today).

On behalf of all those basketball players who have suffered unacknowledged jammed fingers, I care about what you're going through. I'll spare some love for your fingers.

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