Mitchell: What do Ryan Howard, David Beckham and Ryan Mitchell Have in Common?.
When you are a baseball broadcaster, 6 months out of the year your free time is virtually non-existent. When you are a baseball broadcaster with a wife and three young children, you try to make up for that lack of family time in the remaining 6 months. That leaves very little time for building and maintaining friendships and social circles. At one of my kids’ soccer games last week, I was invited to play basketball with a group of the dads. My wife strongly suggested that I go so I could make some new friends and get out of the house a little.
I’m not a basketball guy. I wrestled in school, I’ve coached wrestling for a decade. I’m 5’9 on a good day. My vertical leap can be described as wrestler-esque. When I played pick-up games in college I was the guy who rarely shot, played crazy-hard D and tried to contribute with tenacity and hustle because I couldn’t do so with any court skills. I hadn’t set foot on a basketball court for a game with others in over a dozen years, I’m totally out of shape, I’m 36 years old- this should be good for a laugh
Last Sunday night, I got to the gym and stretched, introduced myself to the guys, stretched, ran some warm-up laps, stretched, shot around (hit about 18%) and finally stretched some more. I was determined not to pull a hamstring or a calf.
We split up sides by the color of our shirts, sparing half of us the indignity of having to go “skins” and played the 1st game. My grays lost 11-4. Bad, but at least I didn’t puke on the court. It felt good to be doing something athletic and they seemed like a fun group of guys. The second game started much like the 1st, the grays were down pretty good, but then we rattled off a few buckets in a row and it was a 2-point game. As I stood out beyond the 3-point arc to the right of the basket, I saw an opening to the hoop and saw the ball coming my way. I broke for the rim with visions of a score in my mind.
Then someone chopped me in the back of the right leg and the floor dipped a few inches. As I fell forward, questions raced through my mind at super-speed. How did someone get back there without me seeing? How did they make the floor drop? What was that popping sound? Is the halibut my wife was making for dinner going to be any good?
As I hit the ground, all of the questions had been answered in my own mind. I KNOW no one was back there, therefore no one hit me, and therefore I’m injured. I didn’t roll my ankle but I can’t move my foot. This is bad, really bad. That popping sound had to be my Achilles tendon snapping in two, that’s why the floor seemed to drop. And the tastiness of the fish doesn’t really matter because I’m not going to be home for a while.
It hurt a lot, but I was very calm. In all of the years spent on the wrestling mat, I was used to injuries happening, sometimes to me. As a coach, I had to be the one who stayed calm to reassure the kids when they were scared. I think that’s why I was able to keep cool. After being helped to the bleachers, I called the wife to come take me to the ER. This may be a cheap plug but my Sprint phone was the only one with service in the gym. Thanks a million to Bill Cashman and the folks at Sprint for that!
The irony of this injury is that it is one of the few sports-related injuries that have always made me physically cringe to think about. Bone breaks, knee tears, gashes, those are all bad, but the thought of a ruptured Achilles, the snap and roll-up-gave me the shivers. Once it happened and I knew before being told what it was, I didn’t cringe; I just accepted that I was in a really bad situation. It’s depressing, but what can you do?
I am scheduled for surgery next week to repair the tendon, followed by many weeks of casts and then more months of rehab. Fortunately much of my off-season work can be done from my laptop and cell phone from home because driving is out for a long while.
At the end of this week, I’ll be accompanying my oldest kid to a father-daughter dance along with many of the guys I played with. I might be able to manage a dance on crutches or from a chair, but I’ll have to pass on the limbo I’m afraid. The guys all felt really bad for me. Of course it’s nobody’s fault, but don’t tell my wife I said that, I’m planning on milking a lot of guilt out of this for her making me go try to have a good time.
As for the Clippers, hopefully my convalescence will allow me some time to devote to the blog. The organizational coaching staff announcements should be forthcoming in pretty short order. When we find out, we will pass it along as well as all other pertinent info that you clippers fans need.
Don’t forget to get your 2012 season tickets! Call Scott or Eddie at 614-462-5250.
Tickets to The Ohio State-Michigan game can be had for as little as $5.00 and go on sale Monday at 10:00am on Indians.com. Of course, it’s the outdoor hockey game at Progressive Field on January 15th. Check it out here.
The game will be on the penultimate day of the Tribe’s Snow Days festivities, which will run from November 25th –January 16th.
Check beck frequently for Clippers and Tribe updates!