Big Balls and a Broken 4th Metatarsal

Knocker ball, bubble ball, human hamster ball … whatever you call them they look so fun.

Fun. Fun indeed. Also dangerous, in a hilarious way.

This past weekend we took a road trip from North Carolina to Ohio. A quick but jam packed trip from Friday to Sunday. It was a long drive and I was feeling restless when we arrived. We hugged, chatted a bit and then suited up for a game of back yard ball.

By suited up I mean we climbed into giant blown up clear balls that were outfitted with shoulder straps and handles. The ball top sat above my head and well above my knees so I looked like a giant clear soccer ball with legs.

I squared off with my teenage son. We pranced around the beautifully landscaped lawn totally out of place and sweating like wieners on a campfire. Each of us taking a slow step forward and back getting the feel of these giant bubbles and sizing the other up.

Then someone screamed “GO” from the sidelines and I got in a few strides before I felt the force. All 138 lbs of boy muscle wrapped in a vinyl bubble coming at me like an deranged rhino.

For a split second I second guessed how fun this really was and I feared for my safety.

I felt my feet come out from under me and I bounced onto my back. All was fine, I could see the green of the tree leaves and a bit of blue sky with puffy white cloud. I didn’t die.

I tried to hoist myself up with no success. The only free moving parts were mid thigh down and my log legs wouldn’t respond like brain was desperately signaling.

I was thinking I would just stand up. Just pop right up. You know, like a gymnast after a flip. My brain pictured it but my body simply did not compute that kind of movement.

Have you ever seen a bug knocked on its back and watched it struggle to get flipped back?

That was me.

I was laughing too hard to ask for help and I’m not sure anyone knew how to get me upright. I had to roll to my belly, slide out of the harness, stand up and put it back on for round two. Thankfully no cameras were catching any of this nonsense.

I strapped in, took off my yoga sandals and faced the other bubble direction. The boy was gonna get it this time.

We charged again and this time I decided I wasn’t going down. I dug in my heels and shifted my weight to pummel him but it was too late.

He got me.

I felt the ball around me take flight and then hit the ground. I felt the heat of a thousand fire ants at my ankle. I would have grabbed at it but I was stuck in the chamber, strapped in and crying for some kind of merciful, quick death.

I was laying in the grass, as flat out as one can being that they are shoved mid thigh in a big ass ball. I heard a gasp, maybe it was my own. I heard my mom’s voice I think, asking if I was alright. No idea because I couldn’t see anything but trees and blue sky. The voices were a little muffled but I knew this was probably bad. Real bad.

I don’t recall getting out of the bubble but once my hands were free I reaching for the ankle. Sprain? Broken? Faking injury to take down the unsuspecting kid? Nobody knew.

I got help to stand up and the pain spread. I was sorta laugh hobbling to the nearest seat. The ankle was swelling. This was extra bad.

We went about the weekend, I ignored the pain and limped from the chairs to the food table and back numerous times.

No ace wrap. No doctor. Nothing to see here, just a sprain soaked in a bucket of ice. Dipped in off and on, keeping the swelling down. There was plenty of ice. Lots of good food and family and alcoholic beverage. I was going to be fine.

On Sunday (now 2 days from “the incident” and still no medical attention) we stopped halfway to do a little shopping.

The pain. Oh my goodness the pain.

I cried. Real, hot, terrifyingly uncontrollable tears rolled down my face as I watched my foot swell like a giant sausage in my shoe. I yelled at my indecisive family in the drive thru. I got frustrated with our geriatric dog for not being still in her bed. I was in so much pain the thought of chewing off my own leg crossed my mind.

Just after the tears incident I found myself apologizing to the family for snapping like a lunatic. We decided I would be dropped at the ER once we reached our home town. no more questioning whether this needed medical attention.

Fast forward to Xray viewing. I wish they had provided popcorn at least. The suspense was killer. I didn’t hear her clearly when she said it was broken. She had to repeat it to the blank faces staring at her. Broken? She pointed out the break in the screen. It started to make sense.

I repeated again how it happened. We joked the doc sees the danger in everything and never the fun. I see her point as I sit here in the splint. Soon I hope to be able to be weight bearing. Those balls will never look the same to me.

Some how, some way I didn’t completely realign the broken bone while limping about all weekend. It should fuse without surgery. I’m feeling lucky in a way but equally wondering if I would have less pain had I just chewed it off in the car.

For your viewing pleasure I’ve attached some photos of others playing over the long weekend.

For your own safety please don’t try this at home. If you don’t die laughing you could get hurt otherwise.

If you must try them for yourself you can find your own set on Amazon.

Follow-Up Safety Video. Thanks, dad!

Gym etiquette for idiots. Top 10 things not to do.

I am by no means a fitness fanatic. I don’t love working out, I do it because I have to. If you read my “Why diets don’t work for me”  blog you know why I have to go and why I must go 5 days a week despite my body’s constant plea for an after work couch nap.

The wife and I love our new gym; it’s old, young, fat, thin, gay, straight, whatever friendly, which I absolutely love. The problem is not the gym itself or even the people, it’s what members of said gym think is totally acceptable behavior.

Here are my top 10 things not to do during your workout. I affectionately call this list gym etiquette for idiots.

1. It’s awesome how you can do 12 sets of 100 reps on the bicep curl machine. Honestly. Super impressive. Seriously though some of us might like to work on our arm flab while we are still young. Get your reps in like a normal person and get the hell off.

2. You’re here to work out not play the Dating Game. That goes for the ladies and the gentlemen. I repeat, you are not here to pick up a date. Do not make eyes across the free weights, you could hurt yourself.

3. We all like our jam. Maybe you’re into some ’90s rock or maybe you heart T. Swift. Whatever your preference please for the love of Kanye keep in mind you’re not on American idol. Stop singing. Stop it now.

4. Coffee houses are great for socializing. Gyms and classes at the gym are for working on your fitness. If you want to gab let’s grab coffee after we finish here. Otherwise, don’t talk to me. Clearly I’m out of shape and out of breath.

5. Grunting. I’m not even going to say anymore about this. There might be a time and place but the gym isn’t it.

6. Fitness attire. Why must we make this so complicated? Why with all the complicated options why would anyone wear spandex?

Ladies, leggings are not pants. You can’t wear leggings and a top which comes to your waist band and expect we won’t see more than just your panty line. Once seen we can never unsee it. Put on some real pants.

Gentlemen, I know it gets warm in there but please keep your shorts long. By long I mean with enough length so that the only balls you’re bouncing are the ones on the court. Nobody wants to see that.

7. Mirrors. Some people don’t use them at all (see point #6) and some abuse them. They are there so you can be in proper form. They are not there to check out your newly formed abs. Put your shirt back down and move that egotistical observation to the locker rooms.

8. PDA couples. Love is awesome. Truly. I am so excited for love and being in love that it propels me to be a better me, for her. I do not however express my fondness for her or her body in the gym for all to witness. Yes, we encourage each other. No not with a slap to the ass. Not with a make out session on the weight bench. Not any of that. That is not ok. Stop touching each other.

9. Naked. We all at some point have changed our clothes or taken a shower in the locker room. That is exactly what it’s designed for. Here is the tricky part; no one wants to see your fleshy, flabby parts swaying around. Nobody wants to see mine either which is why it is imperative we all just grab a towel or hustle those wardrobe changes. Just because we are all the same sex doesn’t mean I don’t mind to see your body bits. I most certainly do not want to see you in the nude.

10. This one is the big one. If you are anything at all human you are going to sweat. Maybe a little, maybe in buckets. It’s going to get on the machines and it’s going to get on the seats. Have you ever walked up to a machine with a wet ass print? If you haven’t you’re lucky. If you have then you know how important it is to clean up after yourself. After all we are here to get healthy, not spread our germ juices all over the gym. Wipe the damn thing down after you finish.

I promise that by avoiding these things people will think much less about how much of an asshole you are.

Now go workout. You can thank me later.