Couple of topics in this week’s column, then I’m off to go get a new knee. Decades of umpiring and Big Macs has rendered my existing left knee “the knee of an 80 year old” so I’m trading it in for new hardware. Hoping to get some Bluetooth installed and maybe be able to get it our own YouTube channel to make millions. Or maybe just make sure it doesn’t cost me an arm and the other leg.
Hitting our deductible won’t be a problem this year given my knee surgery and my son’s injury last week which I wrote about. He was hit in the face with a thrown baseball while scoring the winning run in a summer league. Brett has had injuries before. He’s broken his wrist and had a concussion. But there’s something particularly heartbreaking about telling a kid he can’t eat except through a straw for six weeks. The last six weeks of his 16th summer. On the plus side, he won’t be having those cheeseburger problems that his old man had at his age. At least not until school starts up again. The second he gets those bands off of his teeth, I anticipate the sales at the burger joints in North Kansas City will go through the roof and Smoothie King sales will take a strong hit.
The thing about this injury though is that even though he had to have jaw surgery, his fearlessness is inspiring. He’s already begging me to get back out on the baseball diamond. He’ll help me coach the rest of the season with a heavy piece of plastic protecting his jaw. But he’s going to be pulling to take the mound or step into the box. It’s just the way he is. He’d have been out there the next day if not for the hydrocodone (which he took for a total of two days.)
We need more fearlessness. We need more bravery. This past week, someone at a Starbucks asked five police officers to leave (through a request to the store manager) because they made that patron feel unsafe.
There’s a whole lot to deconstruct here. But I think the way it should have and would have played out if we had anything to do with it would’ve involved a handshake and buying someone a cup of coffee. But that’s not how we do it anymore. We send a tweet. We start a video. We ask a third party to intervene. We feel unsafe. We hold a press conference.
The world has lost its bravery, it seems. Oh, we talk a good game. But when it comes down to it, action is limited and requires a livestream and a Facebook account.
The world needs to work more like teenage sports. Where you’ve got to back up your bluster. Where you’ve got to stand in and take one for the team. Where, occasionally, your jaw gets broken. Getting hurt is the only way you can learn to heal.
We all want to feel safe, but that’s not the world we live in. What we need to feel is secure. And that can only be learned through handshakes and getting back in the box.
(If you have an extra knee to help our man Chris Kamler with his replacement send it to him. Or just follow him on Twitter, where he is known as @TheFakeNed)