Last week, I had to visit the doctor for an ailing foot. We weren’t able to decide the causality of the problem, but the working theory is that something got into my shoe during tennis and I proceeded to pound it into my foot over the next several hours.
Small digression. It’s good that most of my doctor visits are a result of my activities; otherwise I might begin to suspect I was getting old.
After carving out a piece of my foot, I asked the doctor when I might be able to go back on the courts. She suggested quite soon, since there was no expectation on any further damage. My only limitation would be my threshold for pain, since the area would be tender.
I put on some protective gauze, added an extra pair of socks and trundled out to the courts three days later. It hurt, for sure, but tolerable. Interestingly, it hurt worse when I was not running like a lunatic all around the court. My discomfort and limp were noticeably greater during those periods.
But I didn’t whine or make excuses. And, in fact, I ended up winning all three sets I played (thankfully, it was doubles, so I didn’t have to cover the entire court). But it did get me to thinking how many players do whine about their various ailments, me included on occasion.
Granted, many of the players out there are my age or older. And granted, we play hard tennis, not lobbing balls and lightweight returns. Still, we have a few players who don’t seem comfortable unless they have an ailment and spend the entire playing time just waiting to talk about it.
Sometimes, it’s almost humorous as the person favors their “injury”, expecting a sympathetic “what’s wrong?” from some, if not all, of the other players. We’re not a very sympathetic bunch.
At this stage of life, most of us have had our share of leg, foot, ankle, etc. injuries. Most are just stuff we play through, with an occasional gripe. Sometimes we’re just angry at our bodies. As a whole, though, we enjoy tennis too much to cry about this pain or that.
So when the chronic complainer or two is out there, there’s not a great outpouring of empathy. At some point, it gets annoying enough that the inevitable “Then why are you out here?” is blurted by someone tired of hearing the reason for the player’s uneven game. Playing through pain is almost a given at our age. While we don’t have a “there’s no crying in tennis” rule, we each of us have enough nagging issues we don’t appreciate the melodrama of the few who always seem to be looking for that “injury excuse”.
So, as I plan for tennis tomorrow, I’ll make sure I double wrap the foot again so I can make it through a few sets without whining.
My foot really hurts, though. I mean, it was cut into! That takes time to heal, y’know. Oh how I suffer! C’mon guys, you understand, right?