The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Snippet of Life: sports

I note that Kobe Bryant "severely sprained" an ankle Wednesday night. [link]. It brought to mind this:

When I was a mere lad of 19 and stationed at the ASW Training Center in San Diego, we were expected to engage in rigorous exercise every day. In the furtherance of that expectation, they handed us a volleyball and sent us out to play upon the asphalt courts near the main building each weekday just after lunch. We would pull off our work uniform jumpers (still in "blues" as it was early Spring) and choose up teams.

I like volleyball. It was a sport I could play decently, where I was not always the last to be picked for a team, and one whose rules I understood. And the play was informal. No refs in our games nor judge to call fouls at the net. Yet, in spite of the aggressiveness caused by young men's testosterone levels, we pretty much adhered to the rules and matches did not deteriorate into brawls.

I really enjoyed being in the front-center position (middle blocker), though I played all positions with enthusiasm. But the front line was where all the action was. Being not especially tall at 5'11" nor a great jumper, I was handicapped a bit. I was a little more aggressive then and used that to push myself. I also weighed less than 140 lbs... which meant I was not an imposing figure. I tried to use this to my advantage. It did not take long for opposing teams to decide I should not be taken lightly.

One day, as I was in my favored position, a ball came to the net just to my right; in that space between the front-right ("opposite") position and mine. The guy to my right was taller than I and heavier. And aggressive. We both went up for the ball at the same time. He went up a little higher but we came down together... with him on top. I hit the ground with my left foot's outside edge and all his weight plus my own.

I suppose I was fortunate that the ankle did not break. I hobbled and limped with some help to "Sick Bay" where a corpsman examined the ankle, took an X-ray, taped up the ankle and handed me two things: a pair of crutches and a "light duty chit".

Among our duties at the base, beside learning something about the rating (SONAR, in my case) we were assigned, were watches and "sweepers". Watches were simple, you acted like a security guard  making sure the barracks or the classroom buildings were free of enemy agents. Since there were no enemy agents at the time (and no reasonable threat of them), they amounted to walking around for 4 hours. Sweepers were just that: you swept. You pushed a broom and your assigned area would take just about 2 hours to do. These duties began at 4 PM (sweepers were only a 6 to 8 PM gig) and ran until 8 AM the next day. You were assigned to these duties, presumably randomly, by the Master-at-Arms.

I took my "get out of work free" chit to the Master-at-Arms' office so that he could cross me off the list for the next 4 weeks while my ankle healed. And I was chastised loudly as a "wuss" (though he used a stronger term) and told that, as soon as the chit ran out, I would be assigned to "sweepers and mids" from then on. He told me he thought I was faking my injury. We had a few words but he out-ranked me (just about everyone did at the time) and I soon hobbled away.

He watched me from time to time for the next couple of weeks. I suspect he was hoping to catch me doing something I would not be able to do with a sprained ankle. And when I was put back on regular duty he never fulfilled his threat.

I will say I feel for Kobe, though. Sprained ankles hurt!


T.C. said...

I've had ankle problems mostly through playing soccer. It never really heals. It stays with you!

Douglas said...

My ankle is fine these days but my knee? The one I broke a couple of years ago? That is getting worse now. And I cannot go back to the doctor who "fixed" it because he is serving time for misappropriation of his employes' pension fund.