Bumps and Bruises · 7 March 2008

They say that pain just helps you to know you are alive. Personally, I can think of many better ways to know that I am alive. Just waking up is one good indication. Still, I understand the sentiments of the old saying. As a coach and athlete, I would rather say that bumps and bruises let you know that you played hard.

I will admit that I am a weekend warrior who sometimes goes a bit overboard. I have strained my hamstring, gotten black and blue, and even cramped up so badly that I could not run. All from weekend activities. Basically, I have gotten bumped and bruised participating as an out of shape adult. From being a weekend warrior.

Sometimes, I get an owie because I am out of shape or because I do not warm up properly. These are just dumb injuries and I should know better. I tell the kids I coach that warming up and cooling down are two of the most important things that they can learn from me. I almost always stretch but sometimes I do not warm up enough before I participate in a physical activity. Kids can get away with it whether they are in shape or not but guys like me who just play ball once a week need to warm up. A lot.

Every so often, I can hear my dad saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” It is usually when I am telling my athletes to warm up or cool down after I have recently participated in an activity where I did not do so. Or I hear his tongue in cheek taunt as I go down from an injury after not warming up. I hate it when I do that. To be sure, it is worse when I hear my Dad’s voice.

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, I sometimes beat myself up just playing hard. It is not so bad getting those bumps and bruises when they are the result of hustling on the court or playing field. It still hurts being hurt but the pain is lessened when it is due to playing hard. I am not much of a basketball player but I play hard. I enjoy the game win or lose as long as I give everything I have. I do not just say that because some of my players might read this but because that is how I live. I work hard and I play hard. It is just the way I am. I guess that I learned that from my dad too. After all, like my father before me, I am a weekend warrior. And also like my father, as I get older, it takes longer to recover from those well earned bumps and bruises.

I know that what they say about pain letting us know we are alive is true. I know that I have been dumb and hurt myself when I have not warmed up properly. But I know that bumps and bruises are a little less painful when they are merit badges earned for playing hard. I am happy when I earn them that way. I am just glad that I only earn them once a week or so.

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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