That's Funny!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Chuck Knoblauch Syndrome

I remember watching figure skating in the Winter Olympics about 10 or 14 years ago. I couldn't tell you who got the gold that year or what any of the routines were like, but I do remember one routine in particular. One female French skater got out on the ice and started out her performance beautifully. She was so graceful...until she had her first nasty fall during a jump. That one fall skewed her concentration so much because she knew she had blown her chance at a medal, that she basically gave up. I think she fell at least 5 more times during the same performance. It was almost embarrassing to watch it. Although I didn't know what to call it at the time, I like to refer to this condition as Chuck Knoblauch Syndrome. Let me explain....

Some of you might remember when Chuck Knoblauch got traded to the Yankees after his run with the Twins. When he was playing 2nd base for the Yanks, he started fielding the ball and would overthrow it to first base. After a couple of bad throws, he started thinking about it too much and soon enough, he was incapable of performing the simple motion of throwing the ball from second base to first base. Nothing was wrong with his was purely psychological.

This same thing happened to me when I was pitching softball in high school. I could fastpitch with the best of them. For a petite girl, I could throw some heat! Problem was, I got so good at that underhand motion, that when I had to field the ball on the mound and throw it to first base to make the out, I had to remember how to throw that completely different motion overhand. Same thing happened to me as it did to Chuck...I "over-thought" it and ended up "over-throwing" on what was supposed to be the easiest out in baseball!

I remember playing in one game specifically, where the other team really messed with me. After the coach discovered my condition of not being able to throw to first base, he started coaching the batters to bunt the ball, leaving me to field the ball every time. It was almost a guarantee that the batter would get on base if that pitcher with the bad arm got to the ball! What a mean coach! (I think I fought back with my own ammunition and struck a couple of them out with my killer change-up before they could bunt on me). But, at least I didn't feel so bad when I found out even MLB guys getting paid millions of dollars had the same problem. To this day, I still have problems throwing overhand. "Yeah, I was an all-star pitcher, but I can't play catch with you or play in your softball league, because I still don't have confidence in my throwing abilities." Really embarrassing.

So why is this coming up now? Well, because I can now relate my condition to another sport of mine. I've been logging about 60-70 miles a week on rollerblades. Three times around the lakes about 6 days a week. Even though I've been rollerblading for years, this is definitely my biggest year yet. I'm addicted to rollerblading! The amazing part of it is...I have NEVER wiped-out going around the lake. I have had tons of "close calls", tons of times where I have almost run into someone, tons of times where I have hit a rock and tripped over my skates like an idiot until I have gained my balance again...but NEVER actually wiped-out...until yesterday...when I did it twice.

I guess it was only a matter of time. The more miles I racked up, I figured it was inevitable. Yesterday, I decided to be adventurous and try a different route. Mix it up a little. So, I took a path to a new lake and failed to see the chalked up sharp right turn arrows on the sidewalk and the "SLOW" signs. I took the turn a bit too fast and just couldn't keep my control and BOOM...I was sprawled on the path. I recovered quickly, got up and continued skating with nothing but a scrapped up shin and some pebbles embedded into the palm of my hand. Good thing it was early in the morning and not many people were out, because I'm sure it would have been funny to watch.

There was something about that wipe-out that was a total blow to my ego. I've actually bragged about my skills and clean rollerblading record to several people recently. I can't believe I fell like a loser! Sure enough, I was 20 minutes into my skate, when I had another crash. I skated up behind a girl running and right before I was going to pass her, I saw a huge amount of sand on the path. Sand is not good for rollerblades, so I put on the brake and came to a screeching halt. Don't crash, don't crash again! But I didn't stop fast enough and I completely crashed into this running girl from behind. Smooth, Ashley.

(And on a side note...I also walked into a table in the front lobby of my work building hours later and spilled my cup of tea all over the mahogany wood. My head was completely turned talking to someone behind me and I walked right into the huge table with a rather large audience. Maybe I just had a clutsy day)!

No accidents whatsoever on rollerblades...and then two on the same day! My first accident was so on the brain that I was paranoid I would do it again...and I actually did! Needless to say, I'm glad it is supposed to rain today, because I think I need to take the day off to gain back my rollerblading confidence. I can't afford to get any more scraps on my legs during skirt season!


Blogger Eric said...

Bummer, Ash. I guess that means I'm the only remaining rollerblader with a perfect record. Not that I roller-blade anymore, but I used to be so confident in my roller-blading abilities that I once roller-bladed around Lake Nokomis with Xavier on my shoulders. Top that!

June 15, 2006 10:00 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

That's OK, Ashley. On Tuesday I completely wiped out too. Now I look like a car accident victim with a huge bruise on my arm and a scabby knee. Only I wasn't rollerblading. I was. . .umm, walking. I fell off my shoe.

Good news is that I did not let it turn me into a head case, because I have not fallen since.

June 15, 2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger Mamadala said...

LOL, MM! I have a hard time falling off of my tennies and sandals. ;) One of the benefits of not having to dress for work.

And Ash, don't take too long of a break - get back on that horse. Or those wheels. Whatever.

June 15, 2006 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

Ah, yes, I remember that game--it was in a tournament in Duluth, wasn't it?

Just in case you have another mishap, put those knee pads, shin pads, chin pads, helmets, etc. on and you can keep wearing skirts. I'm also glad that after the stitches in your chin from a roller blading injury 14 years ago that you were able to get back to it. Maybe in another 14 years you'll have your confidence back.

June 16, 2006 1:27 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

MM, you are not alone. I have a friend (who is getting married in two weeks) who broke her ankle in February because she got up from the couch to change the channel on the tv. She didn't realize her foot was asleep, and when she stood up, she fell on it. Talk about the lamest story ever!

Thanks for the support everyone!

June 16, 2006 6:54 AM  
Blogger xiape said...

I don't know if you still skate, some four years later, but I've got some tips for you: falling is a part of skating, so get used to it & get good at it; second, as stupid as it may look, invest in some wrist guards & knee & elbow pads because nothing will save your legs for skirt season except good safety gear. Besides, getting rocks embedded in your palms really sucks; wrist guards will allow you to avoid that & keep you from breaking several small bones in your wrist, maybe allowing you to work on that throwing arm.

Thanks for the reminder on Chuck Knoblauch. I was actually looking for info on Chuck's yips & found your post near the top of the heap. It's a good story. :-)

July 20, 2010 4:44 AM  

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