My last article placed a roadblock in the hero’s journey and I left the protagonist injured, a journalistic faux pas akin to unbuttoning someone’s trousers and then walking away. Apologies to the reader for my irresponsibility.
The kid has been diagnosed with a severe concussion and, four days later, is still having some trouble remembering dates – no it’s not 2008 – and distinguishing colors. Last night, after a few uneventful wheelchair journeys through crowded airports, we arrived back in the City of Angels with its ever-burgeoning traffic and unyielding pretension. This morning she had an appointment with her physio, who put her through a series of balance tests and determined she might be better off visiting a Betty Ford clinic. Sorry, levity is my defense mechanism for countering crushing depression.
Assuming she heals properly, it will be at least a week before she can start hitting again, and, frankly, I’m looking forward to getting her back on the court. The medical reports said everything was clean and she’d be 100% soon enough. Seeing a student laid out on a stretcher with a neck brace around her throat, however, can quell a coach and I confess to being a little anxious about all of this. We’re talking about the future of a pretty talented sixteen-year old who’s put a lot of time and dedication into a rather unforgiving sport. Universities and scholarships sit on the porch outside her front door, as though it were a hospital waiting room. When we start chasing the dragon again, I’ll be tempted to mess up the scores just to poke a little fun, but I’m counting on my empathetic nature to win that battle.
I guess not all journeys end with some intense climactic moment. Sometimes the hero just decides to hit the ice bath and get back in the gym for a while. But then, isn’t that what we want from our heroes – to know that they can fail, and heal, and get back up so they can cross the bridge into the sunset.