How easily we forget physical pain; and a damned good thing, else our childhood's would be remembered as a litany burning fevers, snapped bones and flesh stripped away, like a carrot on a grater.
Ladies and gentlemen, last Sunday I skinned my knee — and I'm damned if it doesn't still hurt!
Actually, I didn't just skin my knee, I also got kicked in the hand during the same incident. Happily, the application of some ice took care of the latter assault in mere minutes.
Yes now, very nearly a full week later, the knee — alas! — still causes pain.
Woe is knee! The patient, Day 3
No, I didn't get into another fight, but just had a collision during a match playing the Beautiful Game. As some of you may remember, Young Geoffrey has taken up soccer (football) in his Late Youth and last Sunday saw me driving for the opposing team's goal, only to be tripped up at the last moment — and booted in the head for good measure.
The blow to the head left me not-quite wobbly, but definitely with the desire to leave the field for a time. The blood dripping from my knee (which wasn't top of my mind at the moment) made it mandatory in any case.
Fortunately (as it were) one of my team-mates had been dropped by an errant ball kicked from close range into her neck, so there was an ice-pack handy. I cradled myself thusly as I limped around the field to get get some rubbing alcohol and a bandage from one of the organizers (Ottawa Footy Sevens, an organization I am happy to link to).
On my way back to the field, someone warming up pointed to the pack and asked what had happened. "I think it was a knee!" I said and he laughed, "All right!"
And it was, though when I later told Raven about it, she didn't laugh, but only shook her headed worriedly. Sports, to those who don't play, must seem a form of utter lunacy. But I digress; it's my knee that's on my mind.
Or more to the point, what must be the evolutionarily advantageous fact that memories of physical pain are among the most disposable, least permanent, memories that we have.
|Young Geoffrey huffs and puffs at Carleton U's Raven's Field, summer 2013. (Not Jade Inferno, but the team I played with during the summer.) Photo by the Phantom Photographer.|
This skinned knee is not a serious injury, and it's one I'll wager most of us have experienced many times when we were kids. But it means that I'm re-growing a couple of layers of skin over a not-insubstantial area of my body and I'm damned if it doesn't hurt. New flesh doesn't much like to stretch or bend. And my wound has even gone so far as get a little infected, which adds to the discomfort — especially with the repeated doses of rubbing alcohol to which I'm subjecting it.
If you're like me, you're reading this and immediately thinking of someone who's suffered serious burns and what that must be like. And if you are really like me, you surely can't imagine that.
Physical pain slips as surely from our imagination as it does from our memory.
And thank god for that; otherwise, we'd be crippled by fear of pain before we reached the age of 10.
Since I'm not (too) worried about getting hurt on the pitch, despite currently still suffering some significant discomfort, I have every intention of heading out to to do battle again this afternoon, even if I have to limp on to the field to do it. (Once the adrenaline starts to flow, the pain will be forgotten for the duration, the plaints of my regenerating dermis drowned out by the thrill of the game.
Post-script, completely self-serving
Young Geoffrey, super-star (of sorts)
And speaking of the Beautiful Game itself, last fall saw me experience a joy I never had before: being part of a winning team. I had meant to post about it at the time, but waited for a team picture to arrive in my email — which it never did. Apparently no one ever got it, which I think a damned shame.
Over the course of a brief, 11-game schedule, Jade Inferno FC, which started as a group of randomly-assigned players (most — ahem — in their 20s and early 30s; yes, I'm proud. Actually, I am fucking thrilled that I am able to more or less keep up) slowly became a team.
By season's end we ranked in the middle of the pack but smoked our opponents in the first round of the playoffs. And suddenly we found ourselves playing a semi-final match, against a team that had beaten us twice during the season.
That game started poorly; our opponents scored 2 points before I even had a chance to take the field. But by the end of the first half, we were tied; and, after falling behind again in the second half, we tied the game again and took the lead for good with but a couple of minutes to go.
We fell upon each othe like mad people, giddy with the surprising pleasure of having ... well, not yet won but of way over-achieving.
Ladies and gentlemen, it was an awesome feeling.
And one not much deminished by the fact that we were smoked in the championship game, which ended with a score of something like 6-1 little more than an hour later. Silver really did feel like a victory.
My current team is not made of the same stuff. We're now 0-7, I think, with only 3 goals to our name. But that's okay. Winning is more fun, but simply playing is fun enough.
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