Sunday, June 26, 2011


I want to say this up front:  I love frisbee.  Ultimate is one of the best sports I've played, with just as much focus on fun and spirit and sportsmanship as on athleticism and skill.  I wish only that it didn't pose such devastating threat to life and limb.

Plaid Pick-up, a great group of people who get together every Saturday morning in the summer to play some disc.  On the Saturday closest to the solstice, Plaid holds a game to 100.  They draw stones (white and black) to pick teams (light and dark), and people show up throughout the day to provide fresh substitutes until one team reaches 100.  It's a day-long affair, sprinkled with wit and grilling, beer and gatorade.  If you play ultimate and live in the cities, it's worth the trip to St. Paul.

I'll get back to this game, but first--jiu jitsu.  I've really been training a lot.  Four or five times a week, I'm on the mat sweating more than I probably should and loving it.  I've been placed on a submissions-from-guard ban for the next month to ensure that I use the time in my guard to work on my sweeps.  It's a good tool, and last week I worked my sweeps a lot.  Even against the purple belts, I'm not letting myself shoot for submissions even if I want to use them to set up sweeps.  I need to get more fluid with my sweeps on their own, so I'm making myself work on them.  A few of my teammates are getting promoted next Saturday, so we've picked up the training pace a little bit, and we've started incorporating flow rolling into class and post-class open mat.  I think the only reason Klint hadn't had us working it before was that not enough of us had the necessary base knowledge to get a tangible benefit from it.  I'm starting to get more comfortable in transition, finding more success in scrambles, and realizing how much of my game is based around letting my opponent get to his knees and spinning around him to pull him into back control.  It's been a fantastically educational month for my jiu jitsu.

Yesterday was the game to 100.  Early on, though, I went to Gina's class in Edina.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to make Klint's class in the afternoon because I had an old roommate's wedding that promised to be a memorable affair.  So at Gina's class, I worked with some of her girls and incorporated more flow-rolling after class, working only position rather than digging for submissions and trying to keep my opponent pinned.  It was fantastic, it was fun and tiring and one of the best hangover cures I an remember.  So I rolled for about an hour and a half.  After rolling, I figured I would use about an hour of the Game to 100 to get some more cardio work in.  And I hadn't played ultimate for almost 2 years--law school and (more importantly) jiu jitsu stemmed my attendance and refocused my attention.

The welcome to the field was warm despite the sixty-degree semi-drizzle.  I strapped on my cleats, pulled my plaid jersey on and claimed my spot on the line.  I played probably ten points.  I wasn't the force that I remember myself being on the field, but I wasn't embarrassing myself either.  I was running, throwing, defending--I was playing about as well as someone who hasn't played in two years is expected to play.  One play I'm defending Mike, the guy who organizes the game, and this teammate sends it long for him.  So I turn on the jets and work to make sure that I'm not scored on.  The disc gets to the end zone and Mike is a step or two behind me.  He's old and wily, though, and in ultimate (much like in jiu jitsu), age and experience can be just as big an asset as youth and athleticism.  So I know not to take chances with him and dive to get the defensive bid.  I get it, slapping the disc away.  Our momentum, though, intersected, and Mike tripped over me.

Tumbling into one another on the frisbee field is not uncommon.  I've been in several crashes myself and walked away unscathed.  (Ironically, my only serious injuries in frisbee came from (i) fooling around in warm-ups (sprained ankle) and (ii) pivoting surprisingly quickly for my back to keep pace (threw out my back for 2-3 weeks)).  So I'm down, and Mike basically surfs over me.  Unfortunately, he lands on my leg between my knee and ankle.  And the knee pops.

I take a few minutes on the field, just kneeling to see how it feels immediately afterwards.  It isn't that bad--a bit throbby, but this is the same knee that pops all the time in jiu jitsu so I might have dodged a bullet.  And it's the inside of the knee, the same place that always makes my training partners stop in their tracks and ask if I'm ok when it barks.  Mike's worried and asking about me, but I think I'm ok.  Besides, it wasn't an intentional crash, it was just one of those plays where the game results in a tangle of arms and legs.  We stand, and my leg feels a little wobbly, but not bad enough to worry.  Then I step, and know better.  I call injury and hobble off the field in search of an icepack and a fistful of ibuprofen.

So here I sit, valu-pak of ibuprofen (aka Vitamin I), and a limp that would make Verbal Kint pity me.  I'll go to class Tuesday, just to watch and not participate, and talk with Klint afterwards about what I can do.  Really, I will probably go mad if I have to stop all activity for more than a week, especially with studying and the inherent stress that causes.

So.  If anyone has suggestions about how to care for a soft knee, let me know.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry, you don't want to hear this, but...

    Wrap it up solidly (ideally in a brace that limits side-to-side movement, like one with hinges), don't walk on it any more than you have to, keep it elevated and iced, and...

    Get an MRI. If the results are good, you'll have done all you can. If they are bad, you'll know. Not getting an MRI won't make the ultimate answer any better- and if you need to take additional steps for full healing, you can at least take them now and not delay the inevitable.