Saturday, March 28, 2015

Our Journey with Mikey, 2015

            Eighteen years ago our Journey with Mikey, aka the Buddhaman, began. I try to write something positive every year around this date, although it is the anniversary of a tragic turn of events. Mikey’s place in our family is a constant reminder how fragile and how strong we are in body and mind.
Mike and PopPop
Mike turned seventeen in January. He is growing tall and handsome in the usual adolescent ways. Some days he is poised and gracious, but more days he is prone to the classic teenage boy behavior, a little clumsy, resistant to expectations like chores and personal hygiene and a lot insecure. Regardless of how irritating it can be, I thank God for all those adolescent normalcies. It’s a sign that things are working, maybe not as sharp as other 17 year old boys, but he has moments of greatness that really grab your attention, especially when you know his backstory.
This year Mike is captain of his Sled Hockey team, Virtua Wings of Steel. He is proud of wearing the big C on his Jersey and he looks forward to practices and games with more enthusiasm because of his position of team Captain. It’s a forum where he has the responsibility to be a role model for younger players, such as he had when he first began to play Sled Hockey 9 years ago. Sled Hockey has provided Mike and other kids an athletic and competitive venue where a kid with a disability that is unable to participate in able-bodied sport competitions can compete on a ‘level playing field’, such that even if a player can’t move his/her own sled, a pusher will move that player around the ice, actively participating in the game. It’s a thing of beauty to see the cheesey grin on the face of kid that swings his stick and moves the puck.
Pusher in Sled Hockey
            What’s next for Mikey and our journey with him? On the calendar, April has become our month to celebrate all things Sled Hockey. On April 24 the Wings of Steel Annual GolfTournament will be held at the Ramblewood Country Club. This fundraiser is our main event where the team raises the money needed to support everything from ice time to equipment and travel. Every player is equipped with everything needed to play Sled Hockey. The team and parents are on hand all day to help host this event. Feel free to check it out! Sometimes, a few veteran Flyers, like Don Saleski and Bob Kelly participate in the day's events supporting the Wings.

 In two weeks is the USA Hockey Disabled Festival in Buffalo. It is truly a celebration of athletes with disabilities celebrating their different abilities. Aside from the Wings of Steel, I think one of my favorite groups of teams to watch are the USA Warriors, teams of veterans who suffered life altering traumatic injuries in service to our country.

This is part of our journey with Mike, a reminder of how fragile and strong the body and mind is.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

An Ode to a Smashed Face.

An extended weekend in the mountains for creativity was the original project.

But got detoured very early when I smashed my face into an immovable object.

As I exited a local Dollar General for some weekend supplies I tripped.

It was an epic fall, not an icy slip,

One that replays in my brain like a ½ hour skit.

The actual fall was probably no more than 3 seconds

Yet the aftermath replays in my mind longer than the actual errand.

I walked to a sliding door and it opens.

I step through said sliding door, and then it happens.

The lip on the strip of the sliding door track

Grabs the toe of my shoe in attack.

I step and then stumble, crash on to my knees

Trying to regain balance with no sense of dignity.

In my descent I see what’s going to stop my fall,

An eight inch cement post, coming right at my maw.

Stars, I see stars and they’re not the ones in the sky.

My first response wasn’t why, why, why.

My immediate concern was where are my glasses, did I break my glasses?

I shout out to the masses and then came the asses.

The townies surround me expressing concern and alarm

“You can sue them, you know, they have caused you great harm.

Don’t try to get up, let us call you an ambulance.

You have a lawsuit right here, this isn’t their first instance.”

And still I don’t have my blasted glasses.

This weekend excursion was time set aside to read and to write

Without my glass eyes I’ll do neither without sight.

I know they mean well and really do care,

But my glasses, you asses, I need to know where.

A young teenage girl, says “I have them right here, they’re not even broken

But your nose, and your face looks not so good”, said she very plainspoken.

Her companion, her mother, she announced to me as she came very near,

“Really, my dear, let me help you, would you like to sit in my car, its right over here”.

Flashes of Annie Wilkes like a scene out of “Misery”

Raced through my brain as I tried to ignore her enquiry.

“Really, I’m fine, I appreciate your concern and attention

I’ll help myself up” I said with growing apprehension.

The store manager, an anxious young, man brings to me a chair

From which I hoist myself up with little flash or flair.

The anxious young man asks for my personal information,

Like an auto accident, he fears there’s potential litigation.

I hand him my license, it’s easier for him to copy it all down.

I begin to wonder why I even thought to visit this mountain town.

All I’m quite sure of now is I gotta get out of this place,

Gather my companion and I to depart in much haste.

Soon a shiner of a colorful spectrum has blossomed on my right eye

My nose and cheekbone indicate more bruising is nigh.

There are no loose teeth and with ice packs my dignity begins to return.

The journey of this weekend should commence with a lot less churn.

Phone calls were made to alert loved ones and friends the condition of my face.

All’s well that ends well, I’ve made time to write this in humor if not grace.
The Smashed Face.