‘These little aches and pains.
I’ve got them always now,
Sunshine or rain.’
I remember Paul Kelly once saying at a concert that he has a large family, and they’re getting older. (PK himself is pushing 60, although you wouldn’t know it if you’ve ever seen him playing footy. He’s like a greyhound, always moving, kicking off both feet, running, running running.)
But when the Kelly family gets together now, he said, every member is allowed five minutes only to discuss their ailments. The years are taking tolls in all directions and so it has been agreed that five minutes is the maximum whinge/outlining of physical woes.
At the moment, this is resonating strongly for Nicko Place, hockey player. Only a few rounds into the summer season and my poor old body is groaning. I’ve had a sore wrist for weeks now – maybe a tiny chip on a bone; I don’t know – and my neck yelps if I look to the right, while my left upper hammie has been troubling me for a couple of months. Now my lower back is kicking in, to the point that I pulled out of dev league last night because my back was hurting, instead of warmed up and functioning, after Intermediate class.
I hate pulling out of a game, any game, and sure enough my red team went on to win 4-3 in a thriller, as I showered and drove home to an earlier night than usual.
This morning, the back is aching and the wrist is hurting and I’m feeling like the old man that I am.
Almost without exception, when you tell anybody you play hockey, their immediate response is: ‘That’s a wild game, isn’t it? You must get physically smashed.’
I always go into explanations about how at our level of ‘non-checking’ play, there may be collisions, rather than deliberate impact. No punches thrown – well, hardly any. But honestly, it’s not as physical as you’d think.
But lately, all those collisions seem to be catching up with me. Is it my advanced hockey age? Or am I just in the middle of a bad run? If I was to read back through all the blog posts about The Year of the Knee, I’d be reminded that as banged up as I feel today, I’m totally fine: I can skate and I can stick-handle and I can bend, even if my back isn’t thrilled about it. Or I could think of my days among the Nite Owls, where 70-year-olds still wheel and skate and shoot, if at a slightly gentler pace than when they were in their pomp half a century ago.
It’s all a matter of context and attitude, I guess. I plan to hit the gym today or tonight, to do the lower back strengthening exercises that I’ve been slack about since returning from France. Tonight, I have team training and then a game on Saturday. If I can wrangle it, I might even try to kick a footy at the Bang on Sunday.
The body moans and complains but it keeps going, which is all that matters, I suppose. Usually, I wouldn’t write a post about this because it’s such a constant and such a low-level irritant that it doesn’t seem blog worthy. The pains niggle and worry but don’t add up to more than that. And even then, I’m sure most players going around have something niggling away. A former teammate posted today on facebook about how a miniscus tear is bothering him and I wrote back saying, oh yeah, been carrying that one for more than a year … turns out he has too. I guess it’s standard that the hockey community is keeping stocks high in companies specialising in pain relief drugs. It’s just that, this morning, I have to keep standing up from my desk to move around.
I hope it’s a bad run of impact, and not the physical decline of Old Man Place. Time will tell.