windsorblue: (starbuck apollo)
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posted by [personal profile] windsorblue at 11:22am on 08/05/2010 under , , ,
So, the boy broke a finger playing football.

I was against the football. I'm not a big fan of the game in the first place - I don't get the rules or the scoring structure at all, and I think I still have residual issues over the game as a whole because the only time my dad would yell when I was a kid was at the teevee when he was watching the formerly LA Rams lose play. But the boy reallyreally wanted to play in this league, and it was "just" flag football, as opposed to Pop Warner, and so I gritted my teeth and ponied up some dough, and off he went.

And I have to say, he's pretty good at it. I mean, from what I can tell. As noted above, I'm pretty football illiterate. But he enjoyed the hell out of it and got a lot of pats on the head from his coach, and the beau and my mom kept telling me he was doing all the right things, so.

Anyway. In practice before his game last Friday (yeah, all the games are on Friday nights, just like the teevee show), apparently he went for a catch and the ball jammed into his left pinky finger. I didn't get there until the first few minutes of the game itself, so I didn't see this happen, but throughout the game he kept shaking his hand like it was hurting him, and when I asked about it his dad insisted it was nothing. The boy didn't want to come out of the game because they only had six kids show up, so if he'd come out his team would have had to forfeit. And his coach (and his dad...grr...) kept giving him the old "man up, play through the pain" speech.

So by the time the game was over and I finally got a look at his hand, his finger was swollen up like a little sausage and half-purple with bruising. Face, meet palm. Palm, this is face. I took him to the urgent care the next day, and sure enough, the X-rays showed there was a tiny fracture on the middle knuckle. The doctor there gave us a brace and the name/number of an orthopedic doctor, told the boy he was a tough kid for staying in for the whole game with a broken finger, and sent us off on our merry. The orthopedic doc gave us some splints, showed me how to tape it up properly, and told the boy how he himself had once broken a finger playing football, and then re-broken it by not following his doctor's directions and continuing to play. And while I was grateful for the object lesson, I was also re-mystified over the whole notion that somehow playing with an injury made one more of a man. All I could think of was the Black Knight in Holy Grail, no goddamned lie.

The boy is now off the team for the rest of the season (all two weeks of it), and his coach sent out a total "win one for the Gipper"-style email to the rest of the parents. Which apparently didn't work too well, since they lost last night. The boy went to the game, though, because he wanted to be with his team. Which makes me think this might be "his" sport - he would have gladly skipped baseball for an injury, and I can't see him hanging around at a soccer game if he wasn't going to be able to play. So, yikes. And the poor kid is miserable, since he's left-handed, and this big ol' splint is making it hard for him to hold a fork or a pencil, and his school is starting their state testing next week. And he keeps pulling some of the tape off because it's bugging him, or it gets dirty, or he just plain can't like it. I keep telling him it could have been a lot worse and at least he doesn't have a cast, but he's skeptical.

Also, when I told his dad that the finger was actually broken, he said "I'm proud of him."

"You're proud of him for breaking a finger?" I said.

"No, I'm proud of him because he stayed in the game, even with a broken finger," he said.

Now, I see his point. I get that we want to encourage the kid to have some stick-to-it-ivness and whatnot. But...really? He rides the hell out of the kid for not bringing home straight A's on his report card (how dare he bring home that B- in math, wtf?), but doing something that can ultimately be called both "reckless" and "stupid" is what he's going to pat the kid on the back for? REALLY? Am I wrong here? Is it me? Or is that a messed-up priority right there?

There are 2 sitreps on this entry. (Reply.)
kaigou: this is the captain. we may experience turbulence and then explode. (3 experience turbulence)
posted by [personal profile] kaigou at 04:05am on 09/05/2010
Perhaps this will help: having a reputation as someone who'll "keep going with [slight] injury" means that when/if he does ever get really hurt and calls attention to it, he has confidence that his rep is intact. That is, that he's someone who's only stopping because it really is "that bad", and not someone who whines at a broken fingernail. So in that respect, just let it be, while making it clear that if you see blood or pieces of bone, he'd better ask to be substituted out. He'll probably see no contradiction in promising to do that, now that he's proven himself.

Though this, maybe, might not help so much: we used to stand around, after races, and compare blisters. Hands out, palms up, some of the most gruesome blisters -- sometimes blisters-on-blisters -- and you got major additional points if there was blood involved. The parents always groaned and fussed and wanted to know why we'd do that, but it was a huge rite of passage, weekly. We'd all raced, sure, but those blisters were like a concrete affirmation of our dedication, something we could literally shove in someone's face and say, look! double blister and it's BLEEDING! I was REALLY racing!

[I should note that my sister and I both have skin that doesn't blister, but forms immediate calluses... all those years of rowing, and I only blistered in a race, once. I think I was walking on air, that one time -- because the rest of the time? I got grief, because the lack of blisters was taken to mean I wasn't pulling as hard as I could. Fortunately, we finally had a coach with hands the same, who set everyone clear on the fact that blisters have nothing to do with how hard you pull, but how dry your hands are. Hah.]

So his little bandage, I think, is probably that kind of visual proof, but now that he's not playing and it's not post-game, the athlete's gain from it (the points of it as badge) are past, and now you get the fiddling and fussing with it, of wanting it gone because now it's just annoying and no longer a source of admiration. A cast might actually be better, in some ways, because a little wrap-bandage'd make it look like it was a nothing injury, and not worth any fuss at all. Plus, removing it is part of the reputation-building, to scoff and say, "everyone (doctor, coach, parent) says I can't play, but it's fine, see?" which (like the cast) would take the heat off him as potential blame for losing the last games ("if you hadn't had to go crying to your mom" kinda implication, whether or not anyone actually says it).

Lack of cast and insistence he's healed fine puts weight on coach/parent for being over-cautious, and boosts the estimation that he won't flake out unless it's something really really bad -- because, the kid-logic goes, he wouldn't put up with that kind of hassle again in the future unless he's got no choice.

As for reckless and stupid... I think that depends on the sport and the situation. It's a minor injury compared to ones I've seen in crew, and in soccer, and even in football. I wouldn't say I'm proud of a kid for staying in a game, even with an injury, though -- I mean, I wouldn't say that to the kid. That gives entirely the wrong message, that injury is irrelevant and that "staying in the game" is all that matters -- that's where "stupid" and "reckless" injurious actions stem from, to be honest. I'd suggest doing what my coaches and parents and teammates' parents did, which was simply get the injury dealt with and then go silent on the rest. It's for the athlete in question to determine the value of the experience, and part of jockeying among the teammates for proving dedication -- and a parent lauding the action could potentially unbalance what's a very delicate walk between "stay in the game and be of the team" and "damn this hurts and I can't walk".

But then, I also know your ex is an asshole of the ultimate freaking degree, so I'm not that surprised he's got no sense of delicacy on the matter.
windsorblue: (chief - sniffing glue)
posted by [personal profile] windsorblue at 12:57am on 10/05/2010
Yeah, I get that he had to pump up his rep as a badass, especially on the football field. It helped that he got to rush the quarterback all through the game instead of having to run for the pass. I'm just sporting residual frustration that the ex can't see that the kid needs some of that pride action in relation to schoolwork. :/

I'm still kind of getting used to this idea of having a jock for a kid. He ran an 8k with his school's running club a couple of months ago, too. And he spent the whole Olympics fortnight asking when he could learn to snowboard. At least running club doesn't require a shitload of gear to participate.


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