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This Is Why We Don’t Say “Break A Leg” Before Sporting Events

, , , , | Friendly | November 22, 2021

My husband is in a recreation soccer league with other adults, ranging in ages from twenty to forty. Obviously, it’s a competitive league, but not even close to pro, as the term “recreation” would suggest. One day, I decide to go watch his game.

About fifteen minutes into the game, I watch [Teammate] get tackled pretty brutally by a member of the opposing team. However, it quickly becomes evident that this is not JUST a brutal tackle. [Teammate #1] goes down HARD and yells in agony. A crowd immediately gathers, and the next few moments are a blur of his teammates trying to clear out the crowd and running back and forth between [Teammate] and the sideline, carrying various things over to him.

After a while, my husband comes over.

Husband: “That was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. He was tackled so hard in the calf that his tibia was sticking out of his leg!”

Thankfully, [Teammate] had incredible help, as there was a nurse and a paramedic on the team, and I saw the two of them bent over [Teammate] until the ambulance arrived, and it drove right onto the field.

Here’s the worst part, though. The referee was struggling to keep up with the play, so he did not call a foul, because he did not see it. Yes, even though there was a guy on the field with his leg split open and a bone sticking out. I heard the guy may have had a hearing with the league, but no one is sure anything came out of it, because, again, the ref technically did not see the incident.

If this wasn’t all bad enough… the guy did not apologize! He stood around the group of players surrounding [Teammate] and kept making awkward comments, like, “Yeah, we were just kind of going for the ball at the same time, and his leg kind of hit mine here.” He was not apologetic whatsoever.

[Teammate] was in the hospital for almost a week, after obviously having surgery and being closely monitored for signs of infection. I hope he’ll be well enough to play next season!

Have You Tried A Punching Bag, Instead?

, , , , , , , | Learning | November 19, 2021

I took Tae Kwon Do for several years until I left for college, and at the time of this story, I was either a belt away from my black belt or had just gotten my first Dan. I was studying Olympic-style Tae Kwon Do, which is more sport than defensive art. Its sparring rules are designed to encourage interesting fights to watch more than to teach practical defense. Because of this, a number of things that are practical in a real fight, like grappling and punching, are either illegal or unable to score points when sparring.

Recently, we had a new person taking classes: an old friend of the person who ran the dojo who already had a black belt and training in a few different martial arts. He was always trying to get people to agree to bend the sparring rules to allow things he was taught but aren’t legal in our sparring, like grappling or punching to the head. By itself, this wouldn’t be too big a problem, except he wasn’t very good at taking no for an answer and would try to use these techniques even when his sparring partner didn’t agree to change the rules. He only did it with advanced belts and did it infrequently enough that, while annoying, it never quite reached the level of his being properly punished. Being friends with the owner likely helped him, as well.

On the day of this story, more for fun than anything else, we were doing two-on-one sparring matches, with two lower belts against one higher belt. I was going up against our master’s friend and had been paired up with a young girl who had only been sparring for a little while and still had the hesitancy that is often seen in new sparrers. While in a real fight, two on one is a massive advantage given the rules and limits of sparring, and with my partner’s lack of experience or aggression, I didn’t think she would be able to contribute much to the match. That meant the fight would mostly come down to me versus my opponent, who was far more experienced, which meant we would almost certainly lose the match.

I was worried that my new partner would be intermediated if our foe started using illegal moves she wasn’t ready to deal with, so before the match started, I politely reminded him that we wanted to stick to legal moves only without any of the stuff he liked to add.

My opponent seemed to take this as a challenge; the very moment the fight started, he dive-tackled me and grappled me to the floor. Not only was this illegal, but it was also rather foolish, as it put him on the ground and tied up with me while my partner was still free. Rather than trying to break his grapple, I instead did my best to tangle his legs and arms up with me so he couldn’t get up and told my partner to start kicking him while was defenseless. He had just turned an almost guaranteed win if he had just followed the rules into a rather inglorious defeat at the hands (feet?) of someone barely experienced enough to be allowed to spar at all.

Luckily for him, my partner seemed to realize how unfair the situation was, and as I said, she wasn’t remotely aggressive, so her “kicks” were barely more than taps, more demonstrating the damage she could do than really trying to inflict harm. Despite this, I could see our opponent growing increasingly infuriated with every strike.

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I wasn’t able to keep my opponent tangled on the floor forever. Eventually, he managed to untangle himself and get up, at which point he went at my partner full force. He was clearly angry and not holding back nearly as much as an experienced black belt should against a newbie sparrer. I was honestly worried he would hurt my partner, so I rushed to get up and knock him away from her with a push kick so I could get between the two of them. Luckily, time ran out seconds after I’d knocked him away and the match ended before anyone was hurt.

My partner wasn’t badly hurt; he had landed a few very solid blows on her padding that winded her, but they didn’t cause any lasting harm. She was, however, terrified and upset at having been chased down and so viciously focused on, and I still wonder if he would have harmed her if it wasn’t for my intervention and time running out. As far as I was concerned, he had gone too far this time.

Despite being nothing more than a high school student, I went against my instincts and spoke to my master about his friend and my concerns after class was over that night. He agreed with me that his friend had pushed too far this time and told me he planned to have a “talk” with his friend. I don’t know what that talk entailed, but I noticed that the friend stopped coming to class not long after that.

He Blows Other Instructors Out Of The Water

, , , , , | Working | October 8, 2021

I’m going white-water rafting for the first time. The instructor, who’s a baby-faced twenty, decides that we’ll do the easiest river. We go and put on our life jackets and get on the raft and paddle out.

Everything’s fine until, all of a sudden, the raft jerks forward really fast and hits a bump. I go flying out and smash into a rock, elbow first. The instructor begins to laugh maniacally and paddles out to grab me and put me back into the raft, along with others that have flown out, too.

Instructor: *Laughing* “You should’ve seen your faces! I wish I could’ve gotten it for my Instagram.” *Giggles*

Me: “It’s not funny. My arm really hurts!”

This seemed to mollify him, and the rest of the trip was quiet. I went home and wrote him a bad review. Really, do people think others getting hurt is so funny? Luckily, my arm wasn’t broken, but it had a big cut and was sore for days.

Gotta Keep The Club Running Somehow

, , , , , | Working | October 8, 2021

I set up a “running club” at lunch. Really, it’s just a load of us who go for a run together at lunchtime. It starts with just two but grows and grows. I end up sending out a group email for best times of the week, photos, maps, out of work events — you name it.

Out of nowhere, I get called into a manager’s office.

Manager: “I understand you are running a club?”

Me: “Yes, we all run at lunch. It’s very popular.”

Manager: “I’ve had some complaints.”

Me: “Complaints? What could anyone complain about?”

Manager: “Well, let me see.” *Reads off his screen* “Err, exclusionary, using company time, and, err… fatphobic?”

Me: “I don’t know where this is coming from. Everyone is welcome and we have all abilities and body types.”

Manager: “I’m not endorsing these comments. I am just relaying them and talking to you about them to see if there is an issue that needs to be resolved.”

Me: “This is probably someone who just hates to see others better themselves. We aren’t excluding anyone. And it’s all on our lunch, so there’s no impact to work.”

Manager: “Okay, okay. Keep doing it, but if I see more complaints, I have to investigate them.”

Me: “Okay, sure.”

Annoyed but not deterred, I keep the club going. Not even a month later, I get called back again.

Manager: “The complaints keep coming.”

Me: “But they’re not founded in reality!”

Manager: “Yes. I have spoken to a few of the members, and I agree with you. But as long as you are running a company club, you need to hear these complaints and act on them. I cannot stand by and ignore any complaint.”

Me: “So, we have to stop doing what we like, on our own time, because of one bitter individual?”

Manager: “That’s not what I said.”

Me: “I don’t understand.”

He explained that while it was a company club, run with company email, he had to enforce the complaints procedure. He pointed out that social media was fine as long as we didn’t associate with the company and didn’t exclude anyone

So, the club lives on, and there have been no more complaints. It became much more and many of us meet up outside of work — runners and non-runners alike.

The Only Safe Answer Is A Silly One

, , , , , | Working | August 19, 2021

I attended high school in California but had family in a very red/conservative area of the Deep South; think an area where 95% of the voting-eligible population would vote for Jesse Helms. To induce me to spend time with them, that branch of the family would fly me out every summer and use their connections to get me a job in the area. I was not yet eighteen and thus not able to vote, and my political stances differed so much from those of the locals that I simply didn’t talk politics with my coworkers. I got along great with them as long as we talked about sports and told jokes.

It’s the summer of 1992, and since there’s a presidential election coming up — the first one I’ll be able to vote in, as by Election Day I’ll be eighteen — there’s more talk about politics than usual this summer. My co-workers finally notice that I’m not participating much in the lunchtime conversations.

Coworker #1: “Hey, [My Name]! Who are you voting for this year?”

I stay silent.

Coworker #2: “I’m voting for the guy in there already. Who wouldn’t? Right, [My Name]?”

He punches me lightly in the shoulder, the usual friendly gesture among guys.

Me: “Ummm…”

Coworker #3: “Come on, [My Name]! You have to tell us!”

An idea flashes into my head. At the time, Mack Brown is the highly successful football coach at the University of North Carolina.

Me: “It’s a secret. But maybe someone could bribe me with a chocolate chip cookie.”

The cafeteria has excellent cookies. [Coworker #4] returns in about thirty seconds with a chocolate chip cookie.

Coworker #4: “Here you go, [My Name]. Now tell us!”

I down the cookie in about two bites and clear my throat.

Me: “Thanks, [Coworker #4]. I’m writing in Mack Brown.”

Knowing how sports-obsessed — college football in particular — I am, my coworkers just nod and laugh.

Coworker #5: “Somehow, [My Name], I expected that from you.”

I didn’t write in Mack Brown, for the record.