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Playing Against the Clock
Rick Telander
December 29, 2003
WHAT POSSIBLE SENSE CAN A MAN MAKE OF BUSTED FINGERS AND ENDLESS SWIM MEETS AND FOUR CONFOUNDING, ATHLETIC CHILDREN AND RACCOONS IN THE GARAGE AND FEAR OF FOOTBALL AND THE YEARS SPINNING, SPINNING, SPINNING BY?
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December 29, 2003

Playing Against The Clock

WHAT POSSIBLE SENSE CAN A MAN MAKE OF BUSTED FINGERS AND ENDLESS SWIM MEETS AND FOUR CONFOUNDING, ATHLETIC CHILDREN AND RACCOONS IN THE GARAGE AND FEAR OF FOOTBALL AND THE YEARS SPINNING, SPINNING, SPINNING BY?

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"I will never treat my children the way you treat me!"

Judy and I have to leave town for part of the weekend, and when we return the house looks different "It was not a party?' says Robin.

And those are not Busch Light cans in the evergreens.

Phone message: " Mr. Telander, this is Dr. Tom Wiedrich, getting back to you."

Wiedrich is a hand specialist I visited a while back. He told me then there wasn't much he could do for the damaged ring finger on my left hand other than fuse it. But then I couldn't play the guitar at all. And playing is something I enjoy, even if I don't do it well. I tore the ligament on the inside of that finger when the digit got stuck in a guy's jersey back in college, and over the years the thing has bent more each time an errant ball or body has hit it. Now it looks ludicrous and is swollen and hurts, and I can barely play a C chord.

Dr. Wiedrich told me to call him in a year or so to talk about the new artificial finger joints being developed. I'd take one of those in a flash. How cool would that be? An artificial joint. That's why I called.

Our heavyweight team's tailback, who was standing behind the fullback in the I formation, has dropped to the ground, face-first, gagging, as I was explaining a play to him. His retching noises have me petrified. I'm thinking: grand mal seizure, a burst aorta, poison. Two other dad coaches come over. We kneel down. The boy spasms, making horrible sounds. Someone needs to call the paramedics. Then the youth is silent, still facedown. Dear God. Abruptly he rises to his knees. "Whew," he says at last.

"Are you all right?" we all say again and again. "What's wrong?"

"My mouth guard was in a funny place."

Judy and I are watching the Colorado-Colorado State football game on TV. The weather is growing bad at Invesco Field, and soon the game is delayed because of lightning. I call Lauren on her cellphone, certain that she is there.

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