Probably not a good sign

Lyttleton harbour. Photograph by John Gillespie.I got hit in the head the other day. Never having been concussed before, it’s hard to say whether I was, or in fact still am, but having headaches two days later probably isn’t a good sign.

Boys will be boys as they say—grown men as well. On holiday and playing a game of frisbee, a casual sport some friends are rather partial to, innocent fun soon degenerated into competition and intense struggle—a loser takes a dip in the ocean game of“Donkey.” For those not familiar, the object in Donkey is to make it as hard as possible for your opponents to catch the disc—whether by throwing it with force sufficient to break bones (normally noses in fact), or far enough away to struggle for a clean catch. Drops and poor throws earn a letter of the titular word, the first to spell the animal surely being one. Why a donkey? Said animal is hardly renowned for it’s intelligence or speed…

By the end of the game, played on a precipice with spectacular views of Christchurch’s Lyttleton Harbour, all of the players tied, or close enough because score keeping was taken less than seriously, it came to a single, final throw for redemption, hopefully dry clothes as well. A ‘Hail Mary’ thrown high into the air above, all five of us scrambling to be the catcher.

It looked good for me for a while, with extra incentive as a non-swimmer since ear trouble in childhood. Leaping up to catch the frisbee, admittedly not as high as I might imagine since in stature I am lacking, I came within an inch of clasping the disc, victory as well, glory thwarted only by a mid-air collision of spectacular proportions. Hit from behind, more blind-sided really, I was thrown empty handed to the ground then side-swiped, a brain-shaking, dazing blow to the side of my head by another player as I fell.

Lyttleton harbour again. Photograph by John Gillespie.Like I said already, I can’t be sure if what followed was concussion, but the fact that my head hurt in two places—where collided with and where brain hit skull—is probably a certain sign. There was little time to ponder the finer points of a sore head however as I headed towards the water…

Which got me thinking. A sportsman since the time I could hold a bat in my hand, I have twisted, strained, pulled and bruised just about every single part of me possible to injure, yet touch wood of changing room wall have yet to break a single bone or get knocked out. Sitting here nursing a residual headache, and substantially warmer than when in the water, I am reminded that lack of injuries are truly a blessing, and physical pain, while heroic in the enduring, is not lightly to be invited.

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