The only American sport that I follow at all regularly is baseball. My wife is somewhat disdainful of my interest in baseball, and even more disdainful of how baseball players come out of games and miss games for the most minor of injuries (in her view.)
"Poor diddums. He has a sore pinkie. He can't throw the ball any more."
"Ridiculous! He earns $10 million a year and he can't run because he has a bruised leg?"
"What? He pulled a muscle so he takes 15 days off work? What is an "oblique" anyway?"
Apparently, modern day baseball players are not made in the same mould as Cal Ripken Jr. who played 2632 straight games without missing a single one. That's more than 16 seasons. He must have played through injuries on numerous occasions.
If you want to read about a Laser sailor who has been playing through an injury, check out the blog of top flight Australian sailor Ashley Brunning. Since June last year he has been battling a serious problem with his lower back, originally triggered by cycling but surely related to all that Lasering too.
But Ashley didn't give up. He missed some regattas last summer in Europe as he worked to rehab his injury. He was still "managing" his injury when he placed 7th in the Laser Worlds in Fremantle last December. In January he was receiving some scary sounding treatment for his back and then after getting back into training (gingerly at first) he placed 13th at the recent Laser Worlds in Germany.
Reading of how Ash has been "playing hurt" over the last year made me think that if I ever had that serious a back problem I would probably give up Laser sailing. But his perspective as a young guy with so much talent for the sport is probably different from mine.
Last Tuesday, after that epic Laser play session in 30 knots Bristol with my friend, my back was hurting a bit. To be expected, I thought, after not sailing for a month. While gardening at the weekend it hurt a bit more. Then while doing something totally crazy and dangerous (sitting at my desk using my computer) it started hurting a LOT more. I hope I haven't done in my back like Mr. Brunning did.
I'm too old to play hurt. I'm placing myself on the 15 day disabled list.