Triumphant return to, and immediate hiatus from basketball

Doesn’t getting old suck?

To put it lightly, it does suck; tremendously.

Just as Wagner was a bit of prick, yet we can’t deny the excellence of his music, so too is Louis CK dodgy, yet his stand up was fantastic. This bit illustrates it perfectly:

I’ve joined a couple of Facebook groups, one of which is Basketball in Tallinn. I’ve wanted to get back into it for a while now, and it’s a good group which organises regular pickup games.

The group admin posted that a local team was having an open practice where they wanted outsiders to come along so they could have a pickup game. I though to myself, “Bugger it! Have to start sometime!”, and along I went.

Time travel back to when I was still in Australia, and I’m figuring out what to pack and what to jettison, owing to having a limited amount of baggage. One of the things I sacrificed were proper court shoes, as they were relatively heavy and took up a lot of space, and since they wouldn’t be used frequently, they are now sitting in a storage locker in south east Melbourne.

So I turn up in runners. And to make matters worse, they’re runners specifically for the gym, and as such, have very poor grip (relying on the friction that comes from being worn on carpet or rubber).

I decide to persevere. It’s just a local rec team; how intense could it be?

Turns out, very. And, with a combination of poor fitness, rusty skills, and really really bad footwear, I don’t fare too well. But the real problem is that I try to keep up – and for the first 10 minutes or so, I do, much to my own detriment.

As the game goes on, the skills start to improve, but the legs start to die. I’ve already hit the floor a few times because of the stupid shoes. Then, I have a collision with a opposition, and down we all go.

Tangent time!

Like all team sports, you need an even number of people to play basketball.

The trouble was, we had an even number at that practice. And there’s unspoken rules in the world of basketball etiquette whereby if you have even numbers, you don’t ruin that by sitting out, because then somebody ELSE needs to sit it out to keep things even.

That’s why I didn’t want to just say, “Hey, guys, I’m subbing off because I’m in way over my head here”.

Or maybe I just wanted to save face 😀

Anywho, bang. I hit the deck. It did hurt, but it wasn’t too bad. However, the benefit was that I landed right on the pointy bit of the tibia that pokes out directly beneath the kneecap, because there is no muscle on top of it. Given it is just skin and bone, grinding it on the fairly well-waxed court induces bleeding easily and produces bruising quickly. I seize the opportunity to take a justifiable absence from the game, and take it easy.

Once I get home, I’m still fine; I can feel pain around my knee but I’m able to walk with no issue.

That is, until the next morning.

When I wake up, I can feel greater pain in my knee; “This is not good”, I think to myself as I try to work up the courage to get out of bed.

Except that, once I finally try, I can’t move at all. Locked up! Pain! It took what seemed like forever to get up and somehow make it to our little island bench that has wheels, so that I can get around the house at least.

I barely manage to have a shower, and confine myself to the couch. This is when the terrifying thoughts start growing. What if I’ve done something bad?! I’ll have to go home for treatment, because I don’t have insurance over here yet! We’ll have to move home and I’ve ruined our whole Estonian experience!

Jacqui goes to the pharmacy after work and gets me one of those lower arm-only crutches. 15 euros later mind you; apparently they don’t hire crutches here.

At least this gives me some mobility, but I’m still in a bit of pain, the muscles especially, and I’m terrified that I’ve “done” my knee. Perhaps a lot of the fear stems from the fact that Australia is the knee injury capital of the world, given the propensity with which AFL players do their ACLs and need knee reconstructions.

I decide I need to see a physio, otherwise I’m just going to drive myself nuts worrying about it. Off I go and luckily find a really good one right off the bat, and his English is great, which is a massive help.

“I can tell you don’t take care of your muscles” he remarks, after doing a bit of probing and manipulation of the joint. Wowie, cheers mate! But I wasn’t going to deny it; I just agreed with him because, well, it’s true! 🙂

Once we’ve gone through it all, he gives me the good news that there are no ligament or tendon injuries, which is an instant relief. Turns out that I just had mega DOMS, and had slightly twisted the meniscus in the knee, but that it doesn’t require surgery, is mild, and it’s safe to walk on. I should avoid basketball for a month, and try not to play as though I were ten years younger.

Oh, and that I just have a shitty knee now 😛

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