When Spencer was younger he wasn’t much of a sports guy. He’s played soccer since kindergarten, but was never very aggressive. In first and second grade he went out for wrestling, but you could tell it wasn’t really his thing. He got some medals only because every single kid gets a medal, but he never won a match. In fact in second grade, shortly before we pulled him out of wrestling because we could no longer take the whining and crying, he was ticked off that his opponent was a couple inches taller than him. He begged us to not make him wrestle the kid, but we told him he had to. So he stood on the mat and didn’t move a muscle. He let the kid pick him up, drop him right on his back, and pin him. The match was over in 3.5 seconds.
So when he begged me to let him play football this year I was a littler leery. He has been getting a lot better at soccer and has even played on the club team for the last two years. But when it came to football I just kept picturing that wrestling match that was over before it started.
But he wore me down so I signed him up.
And we were pleasantly surprised. He really is an athlete. And a good athlete. He LOVED football. Every week he improved more and more. And it even helped him be more aggressive on the soccer field. I couldn’t believe the kid who used to cry on the wrestling mat was tackling kids almost twice his size.
Then on September 27th, right at the end of the game, Spencer went in for a tackle and landed on his hand wrong. He was laying on the ground unwilling to get up. His coach ran out to help him. The trainer ran out to see what was wrong. Spencer was sobbing and on the verge of hyperventilating. Coach said, “Spencer you need to calm down and tell the trainer what’s wrong or he won’t let you up.” I was starting to get nervous. I couldn’t tell what was wrong and he was laying on the ground for quite a while.
Finally he got up and the trainer walked him over to the bench where I was waiting for him. Spencer was still sobbing and could barely get a word out. Finally he told the trainer that his wrist hurt. The trainer looked at it and moved it around a little. It wasn’t swelling up and it wasn’t bruising. Plus Spencer could move it. So the trainer said he thought it was bruised or maybe sprained. He gave Spencer an ice pack and we were on our way home.
Over the next two weeks Spencer went to a couple soccer practices and several football practices. He also played in two football games. He said his wrist was a little tender, but we wrapped it up in athletic tape and he was back on the field.
After practice on October 6th the football coach called me. He said he could see Spencer wincing during practice and when he pressed on his wrist Spencer said it hurt. He thought we should have it checked out since it had been a week and a half. I agreed and called to make an appointment with our doctor.
On October 9th Lee took Spencer in to the see the doctor. We really didn’t think it was broken, but they did x-rays to be sure. And…
It was broken.
I couldn’t believe it. I really did not think it was broken. Spencer hardly complained about it at all. Which is so rare for him. He went to soccer practice. He went to football practice. He played in two football games. I couldn’t believe he did all that with a broken wrist. He’s no longer that little boy who lets somebody knock him down. Now he’s a rough and tumble athlete.
With a broken wrist Spencer had to go see the orthopedic surgeon. I met Lee and Spencer at the office where I saw the x-rays for myself. I felt so bad. Here I’d been telling him to play hard and tough it out and he had a broken bone. I waited almost two weeks to take him to the doctor and he had a broken wrist. I felt like such a mommy failure. The nurse assured me this happens a lot with kid this age, but I still felt horrible.
Spencer, on the other hand, seemed excited. I guess sporting a cast is kind of a status symbol in the fourth grade. With a cast he can say “Look how tough I am. I broke my arm in football. Girls gather around so I can tell you the tale.”
The doctor was very nice. He joked with Spencer. He said, “The good news is you get to pick whatever color you want. The bad news is we only have pink left.” I think Spencer believe him at first, but finally figured out he was kidding. Spencer tried to figure out what the best color would be. It was a tough decision. He went back and forth between colors and finally settled on construction orange since orange is one of his school colors.
The day he got his cast on he had a big grin on his face. But that grin quickly faded. The next day we went to Wisconsin for his soccer tournament. But the officials wouldn’t let him play with a hard cast…even if we covered it in bubble wrap or foam. Spencer begged us to take him to the nearest hospital to get it cut off, but I refused. (Notice I said “I” and not “we” because I’m pretty sure Lee would have taken him if I hadn’t forbidden it.) However, the coach let Spencer be assistant coach and he was pretty happy with that. It was hilarious watching him stand on the sidelines with his hands on his hips taking his assistant coach job very seriously.
Then the next week it dawned on him that he wouldn’t get to participate in football practice or play in the final football game. But Spencer didn’t let that stop him. He still went to practice to do the running and cheer on his team. And at the game he got to be assistant coach for football too. The coach even gave him a coaches shirt. So it all worked out in the end.