Then again …

‘Man, that ice hockey,’ said Steve the barista, as I hobbled into my favourite café, broken toe hampering my every move.

‘Well, sort of,’ I replied.

‘Not a hockey injury?’

‘More embarrassing. Got through all of the final Dev League scrimmage for the term, cursing my stupid knee which hurt and stopped me having any drive, as has been the way of it lately. But got through it. Went home and Chloe had gone to bed, so all the lights were off. I was creeping around, trying not to wake her, and fully kicked a desk we’d moved, so that I’d forgotten about it, coming from the bathroom. Little toe, left foot, smashed.’

‘Nasty,’ said Steve. ‘And not nearly as heroic as a hockey injury. Might need to work on that story. Coffee?’

‘Of course. Since when does not being able to walk stop me drinking coffee?’

A week later, still swollen and sore.

And with one more week until the next team training. Putting this toe into a skate will be a lot of fun, if it stays like it is. Listen for the screeches from Oakleigh.

Will this year of stupid injuries ever end?

But then again … then again … I’m just laughing now. In the lottery of playing sport, my body has drawn a few dud numbers in 2013. Hey ho.

Because no matter how gloomy you feel, it’s always worth remembering that there is a ‘then again, it could be worse …’ You can be sure that somebody somewhere is dealing with crap much more difficult than you are, and handling it well. (Good life lesson there, hockey fans.)

Like this one:

How we Wings fans want to see Darren Helm, after his endless injuries.

How we Wings fans want to see Darren Helm, after his endless injuries.

Then again No. 1… I’m still a long way behind the misery of Darren Helm, the Wings forward who has spent more than a year now hampered by an undiagnosable bad back and, more recently, a pulled groin. Oh, and that was after he recovered from an injury in the play-offs before last and almost instantly had his forearm slashed by a skate, requiring microsurgery …

I’m frustrated because I can’t skate properly for dev league and summer league, a social comp. Helm has his entire NHL future riding on whether he can get back on the ice.

Or shit, you want to go all the way? Then go for this one:

Then again No. 2 … I could be poor bloody Casey Tutungi, who was a star for the Lorne Dolphins,  almost made it to the AFL, playing for the Cats’ underlings, and then was playing for South Barwon FC earlier this season, when he copped a knock to the neck and fell backward, unable to feel his legs or arms.

A quadriplegic. Yet two weeks ago, Casey stunned his old teammates by showing up for their second semi-final, in a motorized wheelchair.

South Barwon and Casey Tutungi, before the Grand Final.

South Barwon and Casey Tutungi, before the Grand Final. (Pic: Geelong Advertiser)

Even better, he co-coached the team to the flag on the weekend, beating Grovedale by 20 points. The entire Lorne football community, fresh from a Dolphins flag, cheering South Barwon, for their boy.

Everybody around Casey, whose nickname “Spirit’ was the one word on South Barwon’s run-through banner on Grand Final day, says his positive attitude has been breathtaking, but, shit: from AFL wannabe to quadriplegic in one move. I can’t fathom what that must be like.

And yet pictured, smiling broadly with his team and the premiership cup, in the same season.

Casey Tutungi, you rock.

And yeah, you know what? I can handle a sore toe for a few weeks.

(Casey Tutungi donations here.)

The remarkable Casey Tutungi, and his South Barwon teammates, party hard.

The remarkable Casey Tutungi, and his South Barwon teammates, party hard.

Comments

  1. Tough Shitlam says:

    Back in July, I had a fall that left me with most of the skin on my nose scraped off. For the whole two weeks of ugly bleeding and scabbing that followed, people would look at me, do a double take and then, if they knew me, ask “Roller derby injury?”

    No, actually, I’d just fallen over at the Harbourtown Hotel after a Melbourne Ice game. The most dramatic-looking injuries are often the ones without any dramatic stories.

    Thanks for the story about Casey. I haven’t come across it before and it’s the kind of story I love.

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