If you've seen a ghastly sports injury and had a 'glad it's not me' feeling, you're not alone.
Every witness feels the same about injuries.
With a world wide audience on youtube, fans see the event for the rest of their lives and come away feeling the same each time.
Historical injury events with generations of fans create an aura, a mystery, about them, and everyone still feels glad it's not them struggling. It's nothing to be proud of, but that doesn't change things.
Think of the worst sports injuries as a message to us baby boomers. Our game plan is based on maintaining our high level of activity.
We work out, stretch, and pay attention to diet. We encourage others to do the same. Others either agree, or they reject health awareness from their narrowing options.
The odd part is too many boomers don't see their options narrowing in spite of warnings and alerts. This is for them.
Related post: Training For The Sandwich Generation
If you've ever called yourself a runner, or joined the jogging craze of the 1970's, you're part of a rich history. While your race is far from over, one past running event stands out in contrast to all others.
Dorando Pietri ran the marathon for Italy in the 1908 London Olympics. A video clip shows the runner entering the stadium out of gas and walking, then falling, until track officials help him up and get him across the finish line where he collapses again. They carry him off on a stretcher.
He won the gold, but it didn't last.
In a show of good English sportsmanship, Dorando was disqualified but still got a loving cup from the Queen for his effort. The debate still rages. Did he run too hard, too fast, too early? Or did Dorando crash because he ran with a do-rag on his head. What isn't up for question is his show of exhaustion. He pushed it to the limit and beyond, making Alberto Salazar, the great Oregon marathoner, look chipper finishing his marathons.
Sherlock Holmes' author was in the stands that day: Conan Doyle was strangely moved by the Italian's bravery. "It is horrible, and yet fascinating, this struggle between a set purpose and an utterly exhausted frame," he wrote. Pietri's penultimate fall took place a few yards from his seat. "Amid stooping figures and grasping hands I caught a glimpse of the haggard, yellow face, the glazed, expressionless eyes, the long, black hair streaked across the brow. Surely he is done now."
Do you need to push yourself as hard as those guys?
Let's make this deduction together: a haggard, yellow face, with glazed, expressionless eyes is not the look we're after.
- In 1936 Joe Louis fought and lost to Germany's Max Schmeling in twelve rounds. Two years later they met again.
If it was a color video, I'm pretty sure Schmeling would have shown a haggard, yellow face, and glazed, expressionless eyes after the Brown Bomber dropped him.
In one round, the man fighting under the Nazi flag stumbled more than a dazed marathoner. Then he took his own penultimate fall. We can feel bad for the beating Joe Louis put on another human being, but who wouldn't slap a Nazi around given the chance?
You've heard the saying "Choose your battles wisely?" It's wise to let others fight the likes of Max and Joe. One was the model for the master race, as if climbing into a boxing ring isn't pressure enough.
The other is considered the best knockout artist by boxing historians like Iron Mike Tyson. The end of his fights were never the same with unconscious opponents twitching in new and strange ways.
We don't need to twitch any more than we already do, boomer, but speaking of twitches.
Chuck 'Concrete Charlie' Bednarik, the roughest, toughest football player in the 1950's NFL, made a legendary hit on Frank Gifford in a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.
How bad was it? Frank got hit so hard he skipped an entire season to recover. When he did come back eighteen months later, he lined up in a new position.
He was good when he left and good when he came back, making the Pro Bowl before and after the head injury. With the modern approach to concussions, it's amazing he came back at all.
Later in life he's shown the sort of behavior most wives would knock him out for, but it wouldn't equal the shot he took from Cement Truck Bednarik.
Frank, #16 in a dark jersey, caught a pass across the middle and sprinted for the far sideline to stop the clock. He'd gotten behind Bednarik, #60, but not far enough. It wasn't a clothesline, but looked like one, when Frank's feet shot up and his head snapped back.
Concrete Bag Bednarik landed on him for good measure. One of the tough guys on Frank's team thought he was dead.
Through these three sports examples we learn what real fatigue looks like with the runner. We learn what a headache looks like with the boxer and what aches and pains look like with the football player.
The next time you feel like no one knows how bad you feel, review the videos.
Are you as tired as Dorando Pietri? Is your headache worse than Max Schmeling's? Do you ache as much as Frank Gifford? If you do, see a doctor. If you don't, adjust your complaining accordingly.
Then rub some dirt on your ouchie and get on with the game of life. Your team still needs you.
David Gillaspie is an active researcher, skills he honed during twenty years with the Oregon Historical Society. His education wavered between English major/Fiction writer at the University of Oregon where he met Ken Kesey, to a BS in History from Portland State with news writing. Married, with two millennial sons, he connects sports and fitness to the realities of baby boomer life, with no mention ever of skydiving or base-jumping. David covers a wide variety of fascinating topics on his boomer-centric blog, Boomer PDX. Check it out -- you'll be glad you did.