Being a klutz I’ve stayed away from sports myself, but I know about sore muscles and injuries from my stint as a mom of teenage daughters—one who played varsity, fast pitch softball; the other who was into horse showing. (I dealt with sore muscles, scrapes, bruises and one, thankfully minor, concussion.)
I have no beef with the fact that sports participation carries risks. My concern is that we idolize those who “play hurt.” We expect our sports heroes to suck it up and keep going. Then we applaud them when they do. Just look at these recent articles:
- Lewis plays well after ankle-injury
- Aaron Rodgers admits he has been playing hurt
- Joe Thomas on playing hurt: 'You just suck it up'
- Marvin Lewis praises Bengals CB Adam Jones for playing hurt
- Grizzlies’ Mike Conley playing through pain again
It’s the applauding that gets to me. Why do we praise athletes for something that’s common to human existence?
Think about it for a minute. We’ve all payed hurt at one time or another. Bet you’ve worked through a cold or fever because a project HAD to get done. Maybe you’ve even gone back to work a little early after surgery or a medical procedure because you were needed. Heck, you’d probably get up off your deathbed if your kid was hungry!
There are other reasons for working while hurting, some of them heart-wrenching. I’ve known grieving parents who needed to get out of the house and be busy because it was the only way they could cope with their pain. I’ve known co-workers who have shown up despite sprained joints, COPD or cancer because they couldn’t afford to miss work.
The game of living leads to all kinds of injuries – some are physical and others affect the mind or soul. Some injuries heal quickly while others stay with us for a long time. All of us are players in this game, so maybe it’s time for us to applaud ourselves for our toughness and heroism.
Pat yourself on the back for all the times you’ve played hurt. Praise a co-worker who’s toughing something out. Yay you! Yay them! Yay us!