Concussed (concussion’s ugly brother)

I enjoy reading……………….the Sport’s Page.  How’s that for an intro?

(This is not my tough guy resume, because I’m not bright enough or tough enough to develop one.  I am, however, concerned enough to appreciate those in the news lately suffering from concussions.)

Many years ago, I heard tall tales about the word, “concussion”.  Then, I began to experience them.  For many physicians, the word was only a mythological brain hemorrhage not to be questioned or trifled with by eleven year old simpletons such as me.   My only doctor, providing annual sport physicals didn’t believe concussions were anything more than one of your older brothers beating the Hell out of you.   He merely described it as though I would eventually read about it twenty years later while following the vicious sport of American football.  Football was always violent, and littered with collisions, but you staggered onto the playing field expecting and accepting what may happen on that field.

Growing up, I never really knew what the term concussed meant, or even cared, but I will begin and end these chapters beginning and ending with concussions. Still a bit queazy when one brings up the word, “concussed” in the Sunday morning news every Sunday morning, I think about the recent circumstances while following college football and the NFL.  Concussions seem to be spread around the gridiron much like butter on my white toast.  As a youngster, concussions spread around our home like winter cold sores.  They were ugly, but you couldn’t seem to get rid of them until April.

Withholding sarcasm, I take concussions very seriously.  I blame all of my concussions and lack of brain cells on my brothers, sisters, tree houses, boxing gloves, monkey bars, baseball and beer.  Strangely, and as far as I don’t know, I never suffered a concussion playing football.  I’ve just been reading about those ones.

Chapter One Concussion:  Transitioning from wiffleball to aluminum bat baseball, someone smashed a 33 ounce Easton bat smack dab and well into my forehead.  That was the one and only time I wound up in the hospital because of a concussion.  The person on deck evidently didn’t know where the “on deck circle” was.

Chapter Two Concussion:  Transitioning from a treehouse full of fun to a chicken coup full of horrors equipped with a slip knot roped tire swing, I experienced concussion number two.  Next to our chicken coup, there was a tree.  For some odd reason, an old derelict car tire sat on top of that coup, and a rope nestled close by.  The tree, thirteen feet away from the coup, persuaded the rope, tire, and my brothers to form a unity.  I became the test dummy.  The rope was suffering from its own concussions and wasn’t strong enough to hold me or that tire.  We all crashed, and my brothers all laughed.  Only the chicken coup was left standing.

Chapter Three Concussion:  Elementary Monkey Bars.  Show me a child who has not been concussed when showing off for the first girl he may kiss, and I’ll show you an apple.  They grow, fall off trees and end up on monkey bars.  Shortly after, they fall off the monkey bars, hit the pavement, and eventually talk about it in a monkey bar.

Chapter Four Concussion: Boxing Gloves.  Way overrated.  This was, by far, my worst concussion.  Making the mistake of entering our basement, my brother, Tom, and I laced on a rusty pair of boxing gloves after watching a Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Duran fight.  For me, the rest is concussion history.  Four years older, Tom was extremely nice for sitting in a chair, thus, according to him, providing me an advantage.  I did have a one punch advantage.  After nailing him once, he proceeded to pound me to a point where he threw in the towel because Gilligans’s Island was starting on our basement black and blue T.V..  After removing the gloves,  I stumbled upstairs, vomited, and with eyes wide dilated, couldn’t see anything on that day.  Sincerely, that scared the heck out of me.

Chapter Five Concussion:  (High School baseball practice on a High School practice football field)  Challenging one of my coaches to hit a ball over my head, my head ended up discovering the dirty goal post forty feet past center field, thrusting me into baseball and football infamy.  After this experience, for one evening, I was known as The Elephant Ben.    My good friend, a man I still know as Chuck, laughed at my disfigure, but would not allow me to drive home.  He provided the cab ride home, and he remains a good friend of mine.  I can still sense his compassion, and additionally, hear his laughter.  Later that Friday evening, our coach contacted my father quite sure my parents were seeking legal counseling.   Quite the contrary.  My parents just appreciated his concern, kept me awake upon concussion’s orders, and didn’t allow me go to the Friday night party I promised to attend with my future wife who still takes care of me.  My excuse for accepting her kindness:  Concussions.

This concussion stuff is terrific.  You mention a few concussions, and wham, everyone assumes you have brain damage.  Does anyone not love Rocky?  Other than receiving quality beatings, his redeeming qualities were concussions and after the 15th round, maintaining a good attitude.  By law, you are required to love this man.

Chapter Six: Conclusion

O.K., enough playful banter.  During our Seattle deluge yesterday, I called and or texted some of my old friends inquiring much like The Enquirer about their own concussions.  Flippantly, most of them replied by saying, “oh, yeah, I’ve had a few”.  I asked them to elaborate just because I thought concussions were serious matters of the brain.  Kind of the contrary.

(I’ll try to protect the innocent by using phony names because some of these concussion excuses are a little fuzzy)

Yawn:  “My asshole mormon brother, while giving me a piggy back ride, deliberately let go of my feet as soon as we commuted from grass to concrete.  Asshole.”  These are his words.  I don’t know why Yawn had to include the word, “Mormon” to enhance his story.

Nate: (our High School quarterback)  “I don’t remember calling plays in the huddle”.  That’s because he didn’t call any plays other than, “I’ll just give it to you on two……ready……break.”  We lost most of our games.

Chuck:  “I only remember one…….yours”.  (as a former college lineman, he’s probably had a thousand, but has since chosen to be a successful business man as opposed to suing his former coaches……..that’s just far too stressful)

Fed Ex Guy ringing our doorbell:  “Your dogs give me headaches, but I don’t consider them concussions”.  (Finally, an honest man)

The UPS guy says he gets a concussion every time he has to use one of those pens not containing any ink.  That’s referred to as confusion…….not concussion.

Beer:  “I’ve never experienced one, but I’ve created about a Billion”.  Actually, that was George W. Bush.  I recognized his laughter after his statement.  I couldn’t believe I could find him just dialing 411 and more.

Thanksgiving is a couple days away, and if your relatives give you a headache, just call it a headache, unless you have a really good lawyer.






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