Handstands for the break…
I practiced all the time. All the time. All the time. Obsessed. Obsessed. Obsessed. Handstands forever. Handstands for the win. Practice makes perfect, right? Until I broke my collarbone. Then it wasn’t so fun. Handstands for the break.
I was 12. It was the Prospect house. The floors were hardwood and there was carpet in the living room. The giant dining room was in the middle of the house. It was kind of an odd room, now that I think about it. It was more of a family room in the middle of the house, but I think it was meant to be a formal dining room. We used it for listening to records on the cabinet record player. Simon and Garfunkel and the Carpenters. AC/DC too. My sister, Wendy, had Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. I will never understand that.
We also used that room for sleeping in the summer before the remodel. Right on the hardwood floor in front of a box fan. No air conditioning. So when it was hot, we slept in front of the fan on the floor in the dining room.
Gymnastics was my passion. Gymnastics was my life. I wanted to be great. I wanted to be amazing. I worked hard. I always did. That day I was doing handstands all day. I would put both hands down on the ground and kick up into a handstand and try to hold it. I kept trying and kept trying and kept trying.
I practiced for hours. It was getting late and it was about time for bed. My mom told me to stop and get ready for bed. She kept telling me I was going to get hurt. Another one of those little voices that I used to never listen to. The intuition one. You know the one. I ignored it. I was 12 for crying out loud. Since when does a 12 year old listen to the voice telling them something. Since when does a 12 year old listen to the signs their body is giving them. Since when.
I continued. It was getting close to bed time. I kept going. One more I told myself. Just one more and then go to bed. My hands were planted on the floor and I kicked one leg up and then the other. My left arm gave out. I landed right on my shoulder. Shit! That hurt! I got up and noticed my left arm was quite a bit longer than my right. I wasn’t sure what happened, but I knew it hurt. I went into the kitchen all the while saying, “Owie, owie, owie, owie.” My sister, Wendy, was there and so was mom. They thought I was laughing. Ummmm, okay.
Off to the emergency room we went. It was so painful getting the x-rays. I wanted to die. The doctor came back and said my clavicle was broken. Clavicle sounds kind of cool, but I prefer to use the term collarbone. It was broken all the way through. I probably should have had surgery, but I came home with some kind of brace. I was to wear it for six weeks. I was devastated. How could I practice gymnastics with a broken collarbone? The brace was annoying and uncomfortable. It pulled my shoulders back and supported them and I guess that was the job of the brace.
After we got home I got to sleep in mom and dad’s bed. I don’t think I slept much at all. It hurt so bad. They only they gave us was over the counter motrin or something like that. I remember mom stayed up with me pretty much the whole night.
I couldn’t wait for the six weeks to be up. I needed to practice. I kept thinking and wondering how weird it would feel once I got the brace off. I wondered if I would still be able to do handstands or anything else.
The day I got the brace off was the day gymnastics practice started. I was happy again.
My collarbone did not set right and the end of it closest to the middle of my neck, where the ends are supposed to touch the sternum, is about two inches further down than the other side and it is kind of hard to find the end of it. I also have a problem with pressing and pullups. Not that I am an expert at pullups anyway, but when I attempt them and start the pulling movement, I twist a little bit and I attribute that to my forearm problems. But that’s life and things happen that you can’t do anything about.
I still do handstands though. I still kick up into the handstands and do them against the wall. I don’t do handstands for hours and hours though. I learned that lesson. Handstands for the break!