Flawless Victory 

Pulls, bruises, knots, scrapes, cuts, sprains and even a muscle tear later, I, a well-informed athlete, am still acting somewhat like a five-year-old boy about my body.

For instance, no one is certain whether or not I might have broken my nose as a kid and just kept going without reporting it (which would fit with my standard behavior). Traces of the hypothesized breakage suggest, however, that thatís likely what came to pass.

After all, most often you donít feel pain until you stop.

When I was a kid, I only stopped for sleep, really. Or a good book.

Or maybe a popsicle.

Still, Iíve gotten better. A little. The ďit feels like the world is conspiring against me shinsĒ shin splint in my right leg became so unbearable that I took a week off from tumbling. Iíve been taping bags of ice and frozen peas to said shin all week in hopes of recovering usage. Last week it was bothering me so badly that I didnít even want to jump. Tonight, due to the rest, things went alright. But no, I wouldnít take Advil. I have a thing about avoiding medication until I have to take something. I donít mind being sore and Iím working more preventatively. Especially since I donít have a game and am not at war so the ďsew it up and get through the next few hoursĒ mentality does not apply.

That mentality is how I ended up with a terrible quad pull that sat me for half a summer season and had me in a walking leg brace.

See? I have learned a little something.

Tumbling is hard on your body (if youíre going to learn it properly). In fact, anything gymnastic points out all of your bodyís weaknesses.

Your shoulders arenít flexible enough. You need to work on that.

You donít jump high enough. You need to work on that.

You need more core strength. You need toó

Yes, the list of what you need to work on comes on quick and long.

You will immediately find you are not nearly as strong as you thought.

This is good, however: Plenty of potential and places to go.

So tumbling is hard on my body. And in daily life I already turn up with enough random ďwhere did this come from?Ē scratches and bruises and what not already. I found a thin, crimson scratch yesterday that extends all the way up my calf! Really, now where did that come from? I checked the inside of the pants I wore yesterday for traces of scratch-blood: Nothing.

So there's the tumbling and the daily wear and I donít run enough now that I live in the smoggy city of tea-colored air (official name).

It adds upÖ

I have played sports and been hard on my body as long as Iíve been alive. I have a faint scar on my knee from sliding: Things of that sort. I wonder if, in the long run, Iím inflicting too much wear and tear, too much high-impact activity on myself. Will it haunt me when Iím 80? Or worse; sooner?

On the other hand, Iíve always been fit and good enough with nutrition, so I wonder if that will help me in the long run.

You canít know, really: Itís a combination of both (and genetics). The key is finding a balance between fitness and nutrition without overdoing the job to some extreme.

Unfortunately, I go a little hard at sports. Iím not a Defensive Lineman or a mountain climber, but itís not like I just show up and stretch in a safe, padded place and then leave, either. (Plus, one day I could be a Defensive Lineman or a mountain climber. You don't know.)

I have traces from living and always will. I will never be, or appear, perfect or flawless.

Thatís something you have to make peace with if youíre going to live in the natural world and test your might, even if itís only for a few hours a day.

You will get banged up on the way: It doesnít matter how good you are. Sometimes those scrapes are trophies, sometimes terrible failures that you have to live with.

Thatís what it means to play.

Itís not always pretty.

Especially on camera.

People in their element, however, are a different level of attractive.

How do you think Seal snagged Heidi Klum?

I think about the wear and tear off and on because there are a lot of regular, everyday actor-types who lack any of the sort of body damage that regular folks of all ages deal with: Not a thin trace of a scar, not a bruise, not a single dead vein, no sun damage. It's as if they dwell in some sort special house that wholly protects their doll-like selves, surface to display and tour the fine product of their safeguarding at some lunch or audition, and then return to their place in the secret museum. Perhaps this preservation stems from spending so much time away from the elements in theaters or the like. Thatís one way to do it.

Mine is another.

I mean lets face it, as The Grizz says, ďTheyíll be the first to go when the mushroom cloud comes up!Ē

(I think thatís a comment on their not being able to fend for themselves or something.)

Last night I was thinking on this subject, (and how I can become a better self-medic,) before I read Arctic Dreams & Nightmares. Talk about stress on the body in the name of life and adventure: Wow.

Also, I am enamored of this photo.

Did you know that National Geographic is a non-profit organization?

Did you know that they put their entire magazine online each month?

Did you know that one of those guys lost a chunk of his nose to frostbite, but it later healed fine?

True story.

PS: One time I broke my pinky playing nerf basketball in my parentís bedroom.

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