* This was penned Saturday, October 12, 2013 *
Is it just me — or does it seem like the Green Bay Packers are plagued by injuries?
I jest. OF COURSE they are plagued by injuries, it isn’t even a question. Fans are calling for heads to roll every time a player is slow to get up. I don’t know which is more unpopular … the conditioning coaches or the hamstrings.
When Jordy Nelson had an offseason procedure done on his knee, I was thinking ‘maybe he can push through it a couple weeks earlier.’ Clay Matthews goes down for four weeks after having a pretty serious thumb surgery and I am thinking, ‘it’s just a thumb! Throw a cast on it!’
It isn’t very winsome of me, but I know that I am not the only fan who engages in this type of thinking. It’s in our nature.
However, I recently had an eye-opening experience. I was doing some ordinary lifting and strained my bicep muscle. I can’t even hold a half empty Cherry Coke bottle comfortably. I am the poor man’s Randall Cobb right now. Except when he injured his biceps, he threw a wrap on it and called it a day. I really started thinking about the other side of things. We know what it is like to hear that our favorite player might be sidelined for a certain amount of time. But what of those players? We care more about our fantasy football team, our division record and our playoff chances than we do about the health of real people.
Maybe that’s the problem. We don’t think of them as real people. But, the fact of the matter is this: football is a ridiculously violent sport. Grown men are running full speed at each other like battering rams and unless everything I ever learned in science class is a sham … inertia is a real thing. Bones are bound to break and muscles are going to tear. It’s the nature of the beast. Players don’t have super powers, but they often come darn close. They play with broken fingers, torn ligaments, broken ribs, wrecked ankles and muscle tears. They tear an Achilles and are back in six months. It’s crazy what these players will sacrifice of their bodies for our entertainment.
Really, this has no other purpose but to provoke thought. I care about wins and losses just as much as the next crazy fan – but I can’t honestly say that I care more than those men that train and lift and rehab and push through the pain week in and week out. I can’t say that I care more than those men who have a surgical repair and put an immediate timetable on their return. They are dedicated and their bodies pay the price.
I know next time the injury report comes back with a new name on it – I will be thinking more about the player and less about the stats.
* UPDATE on Sunday, October 13, 2013 *
When I threw these thoughts together last night, I could never have foreseen the injury report to read James Jones and Randall Cobb today. This just got a whole lot tougher to swallow.