Good To Be Back

It's good to be back. Yesterday was my first game back after missing the first month of basketball due to a torn MCL. The worst part is, I tore my Medial Collateral Ligament in our last soccer game, a game in which we lost 6-0, making our team 0-10 on the season. 

Bottom line, the collision that inflicted this injury was totally unnecessary. That unfortunate collision took place on a Saturday morning, awhile ago. That entire weekend, I couldn't walk. However, my parents insisted that it wasn't anything serious.

By the next Thursday, my parents finally accepted that the swelling and pain wasn't very healthy. So, sure enough, the doctor confirmed that it was bad: Torn MCL, and a tear of the bottom of the quadricep that surrounds the right knee.

Since I am so young, the MCL hadn't fully developed yet. Therefore, I thankfully did not need surgery. In fact, my heeling timetable was much shorter than I thought. But a lot harder than I expected.

I had to painfully watch our basketball team suffer the first loss of the season against Montclair, making us 1-1 on the year. Luckily, games were cancelled due to snow, so I only missed two games.

But of course, I also had to sit out of pickup basketball and football with my friends, along with gym and pretty much the 90% of my life that includes sports. Although, I shouldn't say "sit out", because I always found a way to participate without putting my knee in danger.

On the bright side, I could always watch sports! And yet, I almost couldn't, given that the Knicks are atrocious, the Giants are embarrassing, and I could barely watch Michigan football in their meaningless bowl game last night. Aside from a impressive performance by Shane Morris, TERRIBLE.

Anyway, after a long time, I was cleared to play. Without practicing at all, my first athletic event would be the semifinal of our Holiday Basketball Tournament at Farleigh Dickinson University.

I was so excited to dress up. Suddenly, I feeling of nervousness flushed over me. What if I don't play well? What if I don't play at all? The thought of my knee giving out again didn't occur to me until I was on the floor.

Hey, I was on the floor! But I was nervous. When I first came in, about 12 minutes into the game, I was terrified. But of course, the competitiveness took over. On my first defensive series, Chatam's quick point guard blew past me.

In the 2nd half, I played more. And better. I brought the ball up, staring right at their point guard. I dribbled through my legs, dribbled hard left, hesitated and continued to the basket. I was about to spin, but I felt awkward.

That moment, right there at the block, was the only second I doubted my knee. Instead of spinning, a turned my back to the basket at the block and made a sharp pass inside to our power forward who got the bucket and a foul.

And that was when it all clicked. I never considered my knee again, and I played pretty well for the first game back. No points, but a couple assists and nothing terribly wrong. I was surprised to be in the game with under 2 minutes left, being as close as it was at the time.

But, it obviously worked out, since we are playing for the tournament championship today. And after today's game, it's the SuperBowl: Maplewood vs. South Orange, next Saturday. If you read one of my previous blogs, you'll understand this game. 

I have a basketball tournament championship, and a fantasy football championship today. BIG DAY. Wish me luck! 

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The Fall

Fall got out to a great start in the sports world, and in my life. First of all, it's my favorite season. It's not too hot, not too cold, and bug-free (which is crucial). However, things were going TOO well. 

At some point, something had to go wrong. And believe me, it did.I like to call this period "The Fall of Fall", meaning the downfall of my sports in Autumn.

 First, it was the Giants. They started 0-6, and nothing was going well. Recently, they started to play well, but a bad loss to the Cowboys decreased their playoff chances.

Personally, I think it is ALL on Eli Manning. Before, people said he isn't playing well because they haven't established a running game. Andre Brown is rushing well, and the results aren't that much different. The passing game is still pretty darn awful.

The defense has finally stepped up, led by our new MLB Jon Beason, who is great. The defense has been holding up, running game is effective, it's just Eli Manning isn't throwing the ball well. That's why the Giants are 4-7. 

Next, it was Michigan football. Devin Gardner was supposedly a Heisman candidate, and Michigan was supposedly a top-25 team. NOT EVEN CLOSE. Gardner might be the worst QB in college football.

His decision-making is so awful. The offensive line is atrocious, along with the running game. I don't even know what else to say! I hope Shane Morris proves himself next year. 

Gardner fumbles at home against Akron

Gardner fumbles at home against Akron



And then the Knicks. Chandler goes down, and everything goes down with him. 3-12? Are you kidding me? I went to the Clips vs. Knicks game the night before Thanksgiving. I noticed something: Bargnani can't play defense.At all. 

Also, Woodson's rotations are so terrible. J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr. (Slight bias) and Iman Shumpert should play a lot more. Thank god I had an amazing Thanksgiving the next day! 

After all this, I sat back and said to myself: Well, I always got Michigan hoops. After a Championship NCAA March Madness run last year, ranked in the pre-season top-10... We are gonna be great. Then, of course, we lose to Iowa State, and CHARLOTTE. Really? C'mon, man.

Anyway, with all that going downhill, I just tried to forget it all and just play 8th grade hoops, and prepare for the regular season. Last year, I did not have a great season. I turned the ball over, and I didn't shoot well. 

I was determined to start the season off with a big performance, and start off on the right foot.Only, of course, in my last soccer game, I tore my MCL. So until Christmas (hopefully), I am out of basketball. 

Thanks to an awesome California trip for Thanksgivvukah, I was able to temporarily forget all this, and just hang with my family. I repeat, temporarily. The disappointments may have to continue.

Today, Ohio State plays Michigan in football. Michigan plays Duke on Tuesday in hoops. Giants play Washington on Sunday Night football, a game that has a lot on the line. For Hannukah, I want all W's.However, that request is definitely a stretch. 

Hopefully, all of these atrocities can turn it around. Maybe, the Jewish Festival of Lights will give the players spirit to destroy their opponents. Doubt it though, since the vast majority of athletes aren't Jews. But wait till I'm in the NFL, representing the Jewish community! Just kidding. 


Use Your Head!

Despite the Giants' horrific start, I am going to discuss something else that has to do with the NFL. This past Sunday, in Week 7 of the NFL, there were some scary injuries.

At least 8 players were hurt, and Brandon Meriweather was suspended. These injuries included several players that have some solid fantasy value, including Doug Martin, Arian Foster, Jermichael Finley, Sam Bradford, and Reggie Wayne.

Everybody on that list except for Foster and Finley is done for the year. There have been many other injuries in previous weeks, including Randall Cobb, Julio Jones, and David Wilson.

But frankly, I don't really miss Wilson, no offense. Peyton Hillis should be just fine for the G-men. Anyway, football is just turning into a bloodbath. And not just in the NFL....

My friends and I play football a lot in our local park. We are definitely very small, apart from a few people. We had been playing other groups of kids, and absolutely blowing them out. So then, we decided to take on a bigger challenge.

Our middle school is made up of two elementary schools: Tuscan and Jefferson. We are from Jefferson, and we wanted to take on the boys from Tuscan. For the record, they thought they would "wreck us" due to their evident size advantage.

However, we wanted the challenge. So, sure enough, two weeks ago we went to the park and set down the rules. We wore cleats, and our team colors. 5 on 5, no padding, tackle football.

Despite the fact that we are all friends, it turned out to be a sick,intensely competitive game. And we even got a crowd! Aside from that, something unplanned occurred.

In the 4th quarter, when we were up 93-91, one of our players decided to take on the two biggest kids on Tuscan's team. Meanwhile, he is merely 5 ft tall.

He caught the ball down the sideline, and sprinted ahead. The two big defenders closed in from both sides, and then it happened.

Our player made a sharp stop, just as the defenders went in for the tackle. I expected a huge hit, but I saw our player running to the end zone, to give us a two possession lead.

When I ran to celebrate, I realized what had happened. The two defenders, slammed into eachother when the sharp cut was made.

One of their players had blood streaming down his face. We rushed him to a nearby house, and he turned out to be OK. HOwever, it was terribly scary and horrific.

It turned out he suffered a mild concussion, and received 3 layers of stitches by a plastic surgeon. The other defender had a huge bump on his forehead.

An intense, wildly fun football game had turned into much more, just like that. thankfully, both of them are fine now. But, we never got to finish that game...

We probably never will too. I doubt we'll play tackle for awhile now. My point is from that unfortunate story, that football has turned into something else, not just a popular sport in America.

If I was bigger, I might consider playing football. My parents won't, after seeing all these horrible injuries.

Brandon Meriweather drills rookie Eddie Lacy with illegal hit

Brandon Meriweather drills 2nd-string RB James Starks with illegal hit, after injuring the 1st-string RB Eddie Lacy

Football is a great game, and I really love playing and watching it. But it is ridiculous. There has been WAY too many injured players this year, and it's not even half way through the season.

Head injuries is the worst. You gotta learn to use your head to think about the right way, not to slam it into someone else's head.

I previously mentioned Brandon Meriweather's suspension. He is one of the many players who frequently attempt to play defense with their head, as opposed to making legal, safe tackles.

On the bright side, my fantasy team was unaffected. I didn't have any players that were hurt. However, other teams in my league got screwed, and can't even compete anymore.

Football is awesome, but all these injuries are changing people's views on the game. The game is great, especially when it's played legally. Everybody loves a hard hit when it's legal.

The Walking Wounded

Well, it happened again. A sports injury. First my neck injury from baseball, and now the Severely Strained Quad in soccer. The baseball injury was much better because I could walk easily, it was just a bad bruise, and I could still play sports a few days later.

However, this soccer injury is a nightmare, not the injury itself, but what it entails. I had to use crutches from Sunday-Friday, which was really annoying. They rubbed against my side and gave me rashes. Also, I felt really slow and incapable.

And that week was just really boring. I couldn’t stand or participate in any activities after or during school. So all I could basically do was crutch around and sit, and be bored. No sports, no after school stuff. Boring with a capital B.

Anyway, you are probably thinking, “Well what happened?” I am getting there. I was playing in my soccer game, and I caught the ball, playing my normal position: goalie. I decided to punt it so as I struck the ball, I felt a huge searing pain, as if my thigh had torn in half. It was horrible pain, and I won’t forget it.

I knew immediately something was really wrong, so I yelled to my coach, to let him know, then fell to the ground. I tried to get up but it started to hurt like crazy, so I fell back down and started banging on the ground, writhing in pain.

Finally, the ambulance came and I went to the ER. By then, the pain had gone down, but I hadn’t moved it yet, so I was kind of scared to see how bad it was. In the X-ray room, I got a little hint. I was instructed to “skootch” over to the X-ray table from my bed, and I literally couldn’t move my leg without a bad searing pain.

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I was not happy. I got the crutches and medicine and we went home. The next week was rough as I already discussed, but it definitely got better. I have no crutches and I can walk fine.

But, I can’t run, like at all. I did have a catch with my friend Avery yesterday, and I could throw the ball a good distance with little to no pain. But, in game situations I might have to jerk it certain ways or make harder throws, and that will hurt, badly.

See, I don’t really know what to do now. I don’t want to re-injure my quad, because that would be horrible. I am kind of scared now to kick a soccer ball with full force, with this memory in my head.

There are certain things I can do, and certain things I can’t. I desperately want to feel no pain, and be able to go all out in all of my sports. Most people are expecting me back really soon, and I have high hopes. But, I am NOT optimistic. I feel like this needs more time to heal, and I need more time to mentally heal.

I need more time to get this out of my head, and play sports with full intensity, not holding back because of this injury. I want to get back this week, and most people think I will, but most people also don’t have the pain I do. I wish I could have some doctor give me an MRI or something that can look at my muscles in my quad and see the problem.

Because, I know for a fact that I won’t be back in sports for at least another week, unfortunately. There is a problem, and although I can do some things, I can’t run, which is applied in all sports. And any severe bending or jerking of my quad hurts.

I have tried to run a few times since then, to try to speed up the recovery. However, I am holding back when I run, afraid, and I feel awkward, lopsided when I run now. I can’t run fast at all, and when I try to push it I fall because it hurts.

It’s bad timing because my baseball team has two other kids who have injuries, one sprained wrist, and one fractured wrist.  Hopefully I will be able to get back on the diamond, soccer field, and hoops court soon!