Taken right into the danger zone of sports

Published 7:13 pm Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Twenty-six isn’t old, but it’s a lot older than 18. That’s something that becomes more evident every day.

At 18, I was playing tackle football, without pads, with real football players and playing basketball from after school until after dark. But now I have to look to activities a little less physically demanding, such as hiking, jogging, or hooping it up without trying to be a post presence despite a frame more suited to a shooting guard.

So, imagine my surprise when a simple morning run Monday turned into a full-contact competition with the pavement—and the pavement won.

I don’t run very far or very fast, but I conclude these sessions by sprinting the last tenth of a mile or so. In the middle of that sprint, a neighbor’s dog—not even my dog—ran up behind me and took out a leg. I hit the road, hard, and rolled. Fortunately for the dog, it was out of the reach of my foot after I popped up off the ground.

So, if you see my limp or the bandage on my hand, you know what happened—though, if you ask me, I might have thought of a better story behind me feeling like I’ve been run over by a train. But the point is that jogging turned out to be more dangerous than one would think. Here are some other sports that would fall into that category:

1. Golf. Ever visited a golf course where alligators live in the water hazards? The cows that roam the fairways at Big M Country Club in Calera can be just as dangerous—to your shoes.

2. Tennis. We’re talking the kind of tennis played by the members of Thompson High School’s first tennis team: full-contact tennis. Basically, we aimed for opponents while playing at the net. A tennis ball is much softer than a baseball, but it still hurts.

3. Baseball. Did I mention that baseballs are hard? This sport doesn’t seem to fit the criteria because baseball is already regarded as a dangerous sport. But it’s not supposed to be dangerous to cover for a newspaper, as I found out it was after being hit by a foul ball during a Jemison-Maplesville game on March 7. I still have the bruise on my arm, which I was reminded of when that arm caught my fall after the dog tripped me. I’m glad to put March behind me.