I live in a part of the country where the weather has been perfect for the last 2 days.
This has been wonderful considering it has been cold, windy, and rainy for the past 147 straight days. It may have been 148, but I have lost track.
For whatever reason, yesterday’s perfect San Diego type weather reminded me of a cold icy day 11 years ago (don’t ask me why the nicest day of 2008 causes me to remember a nasty day 11 years ago because I really don’t know, it just did).
On that particular day, I was running late for a 6:30 am junior high basketball practice.
I can assure you this wasn’t and isn’t like me.
People are either born with the running late gene, or the arriving early gene. Lucky for me, I have the arriving early one.
Except for that day.
This was a problem. Because you see (or read) as the coach , I was adamant about the players never being late to a practice. It seemed as if they were letting the whole team down by doing so.
And if one of them was even 2 seconds late, the entire team had to run. A lot. And by a lot, I mean until I got tired of watching them. And back then, my stamina level for watching people run was at a world class level.
Sadly, I had forgotten to put a rule in place on what would happen if I was late, or if I forgot to set my alarm, or on the worst of all days, both.
When I woke up, I realized that all of my preaching to the team about responsibility (and double-checking your alarm) was about to haunt me.
So I jumped in my clothes and raced out of our palatial 200 square foot apartment (newly married, poor, and yet we thought we had it made because for the first time in our lives we could afford to have a pizza delivered… once a week… if the finances were carefully monitored during the preceding 6 days).
I had about a 26 minute drive to get to school and I was on pace to make it in 9.
Until the flashing red lights came up from behind.
Just as I thought my situation had taken a turn for the worse, I caught a much needed break.
In my side mirror I noticed the policeman was my principal’s son (as my daughter would say… Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet).
He walked up to the car and I politely explained what had happened. I went through the whole story and at the end added that I really needed to get to school so the youngsters would not be unattended and locked out of the gym on this cold and miserable day.
I really poured it on, but yet I kept my ace in the hole for the very end of the story.
I had him eating out of the palm of my hand. The lad was no match for my superior intelligence and wit.
And then I laid it on him. “By the way, I work for your dad.” I could kiss that speeding ticket goodbye.
Or so I thought.
His response was, “That’s nice. I will be back with your ticket.”
I was late. The team was going to eat me alive. And I was a brand new owner of a speeding ticket for which I had no money to pay (see 200 square foot apartment… plus even worse I just knew there would be no pizza delivery that week).
The good news was I arrived at practice in one piece, barely.
You see, when I finally got there, I jumped out of the car so I could run into the gym.
Sadly, I didn’t notice the patch of ice until it was too late. And by too late, I mean I did 14 complete summersaults and then finished by sticking the landing (by sticking the landing I mean my behind, back, and head crashed into the pavement/ice).
I really had a dilemma now. I was late. I was a lot poorer. I was soon to be hungry. And now possibly hurt… badly.
This is the exact moment I knew that I was no longer a kid, but an adult.
I had fallen and it was 50/50 whether I could get up.
Unfortunately, no one saw me crash into the ground. I was on my own. Why is there never a cop around when you actually need one?
At that point (after I came to), I picked up my clipboard and whistle, what was left of my dignity, and made my way into the gym.
There l came face to face with 25 sets of little beady eyes staring right at me. I hadn’t felt this bad since… well, since I busted my behind 30 seconds earlier (or 12 minutes… who can keep track of time when you’ve blacked out).
What was I to do? I was late. And if you are late, you run.
So I ran. Actually limped would be a better description. I think the kids thought I was faking an injury. And I might have been. But it wasn’t a leg injury like they thought, it was a possible head injury.
If they had only been around to see me fall (and more importantly, help me up).
Moral of this story and possibly the keys to life: double-check your alarm, drive slowly, don’t try to outsmart the police, watch where you step, follow your own rules, and save your money for a rainy day (or pizza).
And most importantly (and I know I have said this before, but it bears repeating), you are officially old when you fall and you don’t care who sees you because having help to get up is the most important thing.