A few years ago, Joba Chamberlain got on a trampoline at a birthday party with his son. While he was bouncing up and down, he shattered his ankle. Aside from the fact that he apparently could have died from the injury, he missed the season because of it. He was, rightly, slammed by some people for being so selfish. As a professional athlete, he needed to not do things that are dangerous and foolish. He had a duty to his team to be in playing shape when the season started. Other people, mostly Yankees fans, countered that he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was being a good father by being on the trampoline with his son. It wasn’t his fault
Last season, Clay Buchholz apparently fell asleep with his daughter on his chest. By sleeping in that funny position, he wrenched his neck to the point that he missed a lot of time. I don’t recall anyone saying he shouldn’t have been holding his daughter as they slept, in order to prevent injury. Nor should they have. It would be hard to see sleeping as dangerous or foolish.
So, where does Jake Peavy’s latest injury come in? Peavy apparently was trying to be a good Dad, and take his son fishing. He tried to use a fishing knife to cut some wire ties on the pole, and ended up slicing his finger in the process. Again, I’m not sure how much I can complain about that. I suppose I could argue that he should have found a better way to cut the tie as opposed to a knife. But, knowing the type of ties he’s talking about, I’m not sure he would have had an easier time with a pair of scissors. And, I don’t expect him to wear kid gloves or make his wife cut his steak for him. Maybe I could complain that he went fishing instead of seeking medical treatment right away. With immediate attention, maybe he’d miss less time. But, I’ll assume that he made an educated adult decision when he decided a bandage would be enough. Hopefully he didn’t look down and think it was a serious injury, but decide to go fishing anyway.
But, it got me thinking.
How careful are athletes supposed to be?
I’m pretty sure the standard contracts prohibit the really stupid stuff. I don’t know that they can go skydiving without risking their contract. And, when Aaron Boone ruined his knee playing pick-up basketball, it was in violation of his contract.
But, obviously, hunting and fishing are allowed. Hiking is just fine. As is, apparently, jumping on a trampoline. I do agree that we need to let these people live actual normal lives.
Then I remember watching pitchers run over to cover first base. Almost every time the pitcher has to run down that little hill and sprint to the base, you hold your breath. Their bodies are so specifically tuned, that anything out of the ordinary like that could lead to a problem. Pulling a muscle they don’t use very often, for instance. So, with such specialization, maybe they need to follow a different set of rules.
I guess what bothers me the most is the timing. I remember in high school people who were in the chorus were real careful about trying not to catch a cold the week before a concert. Sure, they were regular kids all year. But, the week before they needed to sing, they’d sit by themselves so they would stay healthy. Maybe that’s that I’m looking for from these athletes. It wouldn’t have mattered for Joba. And Clay probably can take a nap with his daughter whenever he wants. But, maybe Peavy should have been more careful this close to the season. If he wants to slice his finger up in November, it has time to heal without affecting his season. In March?
Maybe he could use some scissors.