You can generally tell by the other players reactions. You’re sitting on the pitch looking dazed and stupid and the first people to arrive will tell you, just by the looks on their faces, whether you’re off to casualty again.
“Do you want someone to come with you?”
“No, I’ll be fine….do I really need to go?”
“Yes. It’s small, but it’s quite deep and it’s bleeding like a bugger”. (We really need to consider playing in something other than white).
I have a book in the car anyway, which is good because you know you’re in for a long wait. Casualty staff regard sports injuries as tantamount to self inflicted wounds, which I can understand, they work long hours and see some awful things so my little knock is less than urgent……I’ll sit there for several hours behind little Johnny’s be-panned head and the nervous looking man with the vacuum cleaner attachment up his bottom….for a few more stitches.
This time though I’m feeling particularly stupid. There’s no denying it, I really am a bit of an ass.
Tomorrow I have an appointment with a neurologist and a scanner for precisely the reason that I’m back in casualty, cumulative damage to the noggin. Over the years I have treated my head in much the same way that other people treat a favourite mallet or coal scuttle. I’ve tenderised it, to the extent where my fingers have been clumsy and numb at times, my left eye is a kaleidoscope and I wear a headache like a knitted cap.
The problem is that almost everything I enjoy doing, playing hockey, riding the motorbike, even just generally having a laugh with friends, involves some potential for further cranial abuse.
And I know (truly, I do) that I’m an ass for caring sufficiently to try to get something done about it –whilst at the same time putting myself in a position where I use my head to redirect hockey balls.
I just think it’s going to be embarrassing tomorrow when the consultant finds a neat line of stitches above my left ear.
I’ll lie of course, I’ll tell him I got a pot stuck on my head…