What they don’t tell you about sports

Sports are good for you! They keep you healthy and active!

I have heard and adhered to that mantra my entire life. I don’t remember learning to swim. I started ice skating at five and skiing at eight. When I was 24, I started officiating sports and called football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball games, an avocation I practiced for 40 years. When I was 30, I got my first health club membership and I’ve had one ever since. I’ve lifted weights, utilized aerobics equipment, practiced yoga, and been a regular lap swimmer for 35 years. I’m a scuba diver.

I will admit here, I have always been rather smug about working out, mentally tut-tutting those who eschewed exercise. But it seems they have had the last laugh.

You see, I turned 65 last year, right about the time the pandemic hit. Then, my health club shut down, after which I physically fell apart. One day my legs started to hurt for no apparent reason, so I limped off to the doctor.

“See here?” he said, pointing at myriad splotches on my MRI. “Your hamstrings look like old, twisted celery.”

“See here?” The doctor said pointing at an MRI of my damaged hamstrings. But to me it looked like a Rorschach test.

While I did look, all I could see was something resembling a Rorschach test. Still, I took his word for it, which is how I happened to be face down on an examination table with my pants at my knees.

“Um…should I take off my underwear?” I knew where they needed to stick those big needles that were now filled with my very own platelets that had been spun from the blood they’d just sucked out of my arm.

“Well…I think we can work around it,” an assistant said. At which point he bunched up my underwear and gave me a wedgie.

“I’m so sorry,” the doctor said.

I wondered what he meant. Was he sorry I might be embarrassed that my mostly bare bottom was exposed to them or was he sorry to be gazing at a 65-year-old bum? “We’re all professionals here,” I muttered.

The platelets would have to be injected into the spot where my hamstrings were attached. I felt the cold needle tickle my butt. Then, I screamed. All thoughts of me as a tough girl vanished in an instant. The call for fentanyl did nothing. I yelped again as the assistant wiggled the needle about. Someone shoved a squishy football into my hand. I wanted to hit her in the head with it.

“Almost done,” the doctor chirped pleasantly.


“Okay! We’re finished”

I  relaxed despite the burning in my butt.

“Now…let’s do the other one.”

As I continued to scream, I was struck by a thought. If I was a captured a spy, I would have told them anything they wanted to know. State secrets? No problem. The names of my spy friends? Fine. Where to find my children? Probably.

When it was over, I was helped from the table. I felt like two softballs had been lodged in my bottom. I was deposited in a chair, where I squirmed so much the doctor called for more fentanyl.

“The pain will get worse before it gets better,” he said in a cheery tone. “It may take several weeks to feel better.”

I wished I had some James Bondish-type weapon on hand to stick him in the eye.

Again, I couldn’t tell what the doctor was looking at, but when he said I needed rotator cuff surgery again, I thought I might cry.

A short time later, I faced another MRI in a different office. The doctor pointed at the image of my shoulder. “See here?”

I did not, but I let it slide.

“Your rotator cuff is torn.”

“No, wait! I had rotator cuff surgery six years ago on that shoulder. Shouldn’t I have a life-time warranty?” I remembered the operation and the miserable, eight-months rehab and wanted to weep.

Next week, the surgeon will be plying his trade inside my shoulder. And let’s not forget my knees that are annually pumped full of a strange Jello-like substance so I can walk and my arthritic spine that boasts an old fracture and two bulging disks. Is it any wonder that my physical therapist recently discussed putting my name on a parking space at the rehab clinic?

The point, of course, is that most of my medical issues have been caused by sports. Falls on the ice. Twenty-plus years of crouching behind home plate as an umpire where errant foul balls made me feel like a piñata. Repetitive-motion injuries from lap swimming. Four decades of football officiating where players periodically ran me over on their way to the endzone.

Sports are good for me? Apparently, I’ve been misled. And yet, given a second chance, I would do it all again.

That said, I’ll now work on getting better acquainted with my couch.



Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb

12 thoughts on “What they don’t tell you about sports

  1. Michelle F. says:

    The ware and tear of a life well lived;). Sorry you are having to repair the human machine, but there is still something magical about being able to sing….”yes, I’ve paid the price….but look how much I’ve gained!” Hope the pain is minimal and or manageable. Sounds like you’ve got an expert Orthopedic team. Stay strong!


    • annemontgomeryauthor2013 says:

      I think I will soon be bionic, Sherm. I feel like the Scarecrow on the Wizard of Oz when the bad monkeys tore him apart and threw his pieces hither and yon. But, I do have a good bunch of folks trying to put me back together. Here’s to Superglue and chewing gum. 😉


      • Catherine Castle says:

        Whether you’ve exercised or not, the years catch up. I tried to be an exerciser but every time I attempted to run, jump or climb I broke or sprained something or ended up face planting. I finally gave up. Life was easier without those injuries. Hope you feel better soon.


      • annemontgomeryauthor2013 says:

        Thank you, Catherine. Don’t get me wrong. I really believe sports are great for a number of reasons. They just take their toll. 😉


  2. sharonledwith says:

    I feel your pain, especially in the knees. You’re such a jock, Ms. Anne! Wishing you a speedy recovering in all the right places. Cheers!


  3. vonniehughes says:

    Was a long distance runner for 25 plus years and a gym bunny for about 10 of those. Wouldn’t have it any other way, even with those platelets etc. injected into my knees a few times. It might ‘wreck’ your body, but sitting on a sofa with a bag of chips wrecks it even faster. At least it keeps you moving and malleable because you have that mantra in your head “keep trying.” Like you, rather be the way I am.


    • annemontgomeryauthor2013 says:

      Agreed, Vonnie. As I said, I wouldn’t change anything. Still, here’s hoping the medical profession will find ways to help us older types.


  4. John Curfman says:

    Annie, you are a stud! I am humbled to have had the opportunity to work with you during one of your final Varsity football games. May the softballs in your butt become baseballs and the baseballs become golf balls and the golf balls become…. well…. you know how it goes. Heal well and fast my friend.


    • annemontgomeryauthor2013 says:

      Thank you for your kind words, John. They are especially nice since I am sitting here in my sling feeling sorry for myself. Hope all is well. 😉


  5. Chrissie says:

    While I’m so sorry you are going through all that, your writing is fabulous. Not only did I laugh out loud at it, but I had to go back and read it to my husband. We totally relate (I say as I type this with arthritic fingers in which pain was exacerbated by pressure from the wrist guards I wore under my gloves while snowboarding last night).


    • annemontgomeryauthor2013 says:

      I’m so glad you understand, Chrissie. I’m typing this left handed, which is damn hard. I know we have earned our battle scars, so I am trying not to whine. Thank you for your kind words. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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