Pickup ball really puts a smile on my face...
An anonymous reader left the following comment on yesterday's The NBA versus Male Genitals
"I got a hit in the nuts horror story for the ages. When I was around 15 years old, I was at the park playing basketball when I did a no look bullet pass into the post. My teammate wasn't ready for it so it went out of bound with a crazy amount of velocity right into the crotch of some poor sap who was sitting on a bench hanging out with what I'm guessing was his girlfriend. He immediately falls to the ground shrieking and crying. I walked over to apologize and see if he was alright, when I suddenly see blood stains on his jeans around his crotch. I started freaking out asking what happened when his girlfriend yelled at me, "He just got circumcised a couple of days ago!" The guy's probably alright now but I still feel guilty that I might have inadvertently ruined some young man's genitalia."
If you were able to read that gruesome story without at least
wincing, then I'm pretty sure you don't have a penis. Which, for the time-being, makes you one of the lucky ones. [shudders] Anyway, it got me to thinking about weird basketball injury stories. I'm not talking about the standard sprains, strains, pulls, bruises, cuts, etc. I'm talking strange stuff. Here's the story of my oddest basketball-related boo-boo.
Several years ago, I was playing pickup ball with a few friends at Lifetime Fitness late on a Sunday evening. Now, I had received two early warnings that strange things were afoot that night. First, a buddy of mine who cannot
hit from the outside beat me in a game of 21 -- for the first and only time ever -- by shooting all threes. (I continued to give him the green light, of course, because I refused to believe he'd keep knocking them down.) Second, some very eccentric characters showed up and asked us to go full court, including one guy who was playing without shoes or socks. (Who plays basketball while barefoot? Seriously?) I ignored Fate's warnings, though, and paid for it dearly. On the first possession of the first full court game, I collapsed into the paint to help out on a guard who had beaten his man off the dribble, but the guy flailed his off arm and whacked me in the face. It was a stinging blow, and I was momentarily stunned. I grabbed my mouth, where he'd hit me, and bowed my head slightly...and blood started gushing onto the court.
My buddies, who know me a little too well, assumed I'd just keep playing. (I have a history of playing through some rather grievous injuries.) But the blood was freaking me out -- I mean, there was a lot
of it -- so I stumbled out of the gym and toward the locker room to check things out. I bumped into another one of my friends on the way, and when he asked what was wrong I removed my hand to show him the wound. I asked how bad it was, and he said, "Uh...was it hanging down like that before?" It? Hanging?! As cryptic and somewhat alarming comments go, that one was right up there. So I started freaking out a little.
In the locker room, I wiped some of the blood off my face with a paper towel -- I know, really sterile of me -- and inspected the damage. It was worse than I'd imagined. The corner of my mouth where my upper and lower lips meet had split and was just gaping open. It wasn't the force of the blow that had done it; the hit had driven the flesh into my incisor, which had done the job that nature created it for: To cut and slice. My very first thought was: "Oh shit! I'm...I'm deformed!" It looked that grisly.
Pressing a huge wad of paper towels against the wound, I shuffled to my car and drove myself to the nearest emergency room I could think of. It was empty when I got there, but they made me wait for over an hour anyway. I guess people were dying in the back or something. While waiting, I asked the nurse on duty for a butterfly bandage or maybe some gauze, but she said they didn't have any. How a hospital doesn't have these things is beyond me. (My suspicion is that she simply didn't know where they were or didn't want to have to stand up and, you know, do actual work.)
The good news was that, once I got to see the doctor, he assured me that he could stitch everything back together and that the scarring would occur inside my mouth, so no one would ever see it. Whew. There were some downsides, though. For one, it took him so long to return after shooting me up with anesthetic -- about an hour and a half -- that the anesthetic had actually worn off a little bit by the time he started working on me. Let me tell you, that did not feel good, but it was almost 3 a.m. by this point and I was sick of waiting. The other crappy part of the whole deal was that he had to sew half of my mouth shut...and it had to stay that way for no less than a week and a half.
Having half of my mouth sewn shut really sucked. I know that sounds rather obvious, but allow me to expound. First, I was only able to eat things I could suck through a straw. That meant I was on a liquid diet for about two weeks. Liquid diets get a little boring after about, oh, half of one meal. They also leave you weak and constantly hungry. Second, I couldn't talk. Well, I could, but everything I said sounded like, "Errr, errr, errrgh." But the real bummer was that the very next Saturday was my dating anniversary with my then-girlfriend. We had reserved a fancy hotel room and pre-ordered some really nice room service food, complete with hors d'oeuvres and cake. But I couldn't eat. And I couldn't kiss. And the area of my mouth that was stitched shut was rubbing against my teeth, which caused several canker sores to form on the wound
...so let's just say I wasn't exactly filled with passion and romance. Worst date ever? Pretty close, yeah.
Okay. I've spilled my guts. Now you, dear readers, must post some of your freaky basketball injury stories. I'll add the good ones to this post.
Labels: injuries, pickup basketball, so much blood