Tapping out


Why do I keep taking life for granted? Because I’m living?

My son broke his right pinky playing in a soccer tournament last week Sunday. His team didn’t even win. But they have a chance to make it to the semi-finals this Sunday, only, my son won’t be playing.

He’s in a cast for the remainder of the five weeks until a few days before high school tryouts, which has been his main goal in life. The physician’s assistant who checked him out yesterday cleared him to play in this soccer tournament, but cautioned again raising his heart rate so much that he starts swelling and sweating up in his cast.

In the end, my son decided against that risk, opting out of any physical activity until Feb. 23rd, when the same physician’s assistant will remove the cast and see what she will see. The PA on James’ case was fairly confident that he’ll heal up his growth plate chip by then.

In the meantime, since life goes on and the world doesn’t give a damn, he’s had to back out of this soccer tournament, the indoor soccer we already paid for, the Unified Team Sports basketball attached to his high school and Special Olympics, as well as the requirements of his band class.

I’m not even thinking about the shower or bath he’s yet to take, the pain in the ass of doing homework using only three fingers of his dominant right hand, and making sure the area doesn’t get too tight or wet in general (we live in the Northwest).


We go along in life as if we have all the time in the world and our every plan will come to pass — until the shit hits the fan, and then we helplessly watch all those well-laid plans fall apart. The rest of the world continues on unaffected until someone in it gets hit too. That’s just how we’ve been wired, I guess.

I’m convinced these incidents are designed to force us to take stock, put more importance on quality, substance, love over the trivial. We keep forgetting, getting swept up by man-made pomp and circumstance, the unbelievable aggrandizing of the most mundane drone work (bills, appointments, jobs, the everyday struggles interfering with joy), all this trivial shit, that we’re completely flummoxed when these opportunities are taken away from us.

You’d think I’d learn from my son’s asthma attacks not to take life lightly, not to fall back into drone mode, not to make costly assumptions. But no, here we go again, him missing out on a ton of fantastic opportunities he’s worked so hard for.

The difference this time around, I think, is that my attitude’s a little more laid back. It’s not life and death to me that he participates at all costs.

His Premier soccer coach asked if there was any chance James could still play this Sunday. Technically, he could. He’s been cleared. We could jury rig some foam or bubble wrap — his dad is the ultimate MacGyver — and call it good. The team really needs him, as it’s been suffering from a short roster all fall season, plus two of his other strong forwards are out on injuries for several weeks too.

James wouldn’t have it, any of it. He also seems fine with his decision to give his arm a break (no pun intended). I kind of admire him for his resolve.

He admitted that it hurt a little to give up the indoor soccer, because for once they opened up the rules to allow any high schooler of any age to play, and he would get to play with all these older kids he’s looked up to, including his neighbor friend who first taught him how to play like a badass.

It also hurt to miss out on the first scrimmage of the Unified Basketball Team representing his high school Thursday night, even though he attended in uniform and cheered his teammates out on the court the loudest.

But, perspective right.

He’s alive. He’s getting over this weird flu/cold. He’s happy. He’s able to do well in school despite his cast. He’s currently binge-watching “The Flash” on NetFlix, and tonight, we’re going to see the premiere of “A Dog’s Purpose.”

This cast isn’t forever. When it finally does come off and he’s fully healed, he can attack soccer, basketball, band, and whatever else he’s had to put off 100 percent as always — with renewed zest and gratitude.

Not everyone can. I need to remember that.


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