Why I Heart Athletic Trainers (Vol. 1-29)

February 25, 2011

Athletic Trainers are awesome. I thought I’d tell you why.


  1. The stress in their lives is remarkably similar to the stress in mine. Which makes them ideal people to empathize, sympathize and have drinks with.
  2. Health care is expensive, yet they carry around all kinds of stuff when you’re not feeling well that they will just give you for free.
  3. When you go into the training room, they have all kinds of fun stuff to play with. Like the hammer. I imagine their downtime is quite awesome. You can build tongue-depressor sculptures, or make cow udder balloon animals.
  4. They’re always there when you have to ask “Is my tie straight?” and will fix a collar when necessary.
  5. If your beverage is warm, they always have ice.
  6. When you need something bizarre and random, they just might have something that will work. Because they can make all kinds of things using tape, tongue depressors, those long Q-tip shafts, or whatever. They are modern day McGyvers. (Although, to be fair, the equipment managers are even better at this)
  7. Two words: Stim Machine.
  8. When you accidentally cut yourself shaving and get a drop of blood on your white dress shirt, they can get that right out.
  9. Part of their job is hydration. Which means, they bring you a cup of water when you’re on the radio.
  10. They dabble in video shooting occasionally.
  11. They always have tape and scissors.
  12. They hear things all day that would normally embarrass the average person to hear. So when you say something inappropriate, it rolls right off their back.
  13. When I have to Hurry Up And Wait, they’re standing there just as bored as me so I have someone to talk to.
  14. They can keep a secret.
  15. They look out for you and vice-verse because they know we don’t get communicated to enough.
  16. If you make “taking care of people” your profession, you pretty much have to be a decent human being, right?
  17. You can borrow a cooler from them.
  18. They can give you sophisticated ways to say crass things, such as where a person who lacks intelligence normally places their head.
  19. After losses, they’re the only one you can really talk to for about an hour or so.
  20. And they’ll always sit with you at meals.
  21. They obviously like sports.
  22. They usually have Gatorade.
  23. They even treat hangovers.
  24. Things you always wondered, but never bothered to check out, they can probably answer for you with no big deal required.
  25. They are great with menu suggestions. Especially when seeking healthy choices.
  26. They can get you in to see a doctor with no paperwork.
  27. When I said “They have ice” I mean they have that awesome shaved ice and not just the cubes.
  28. If you bring flavored syrups with you, you can make snow-cones. (Or if you steal sugar packets at breakfast, you can add them to Gatorade to make syrup for snow-cones).
  29. If you think you’ll look out of place in a sweatshirt and shorts, don’t worry, because odds are that’s what they’re wearing.


Now, don’t get me wrong. Athletic Trainers are far from perfect:  They’ll think you eat too much bacon, and their whole “call us athletic trainers” is both irritating and downright wrong (Grammatically, an “athletic trainer” is a trainer who’s got physical prowess. Most the trainers I know aren’t really all that athletic. I understand you don’t want people to know you take care of athletes, but I also work in college athletics so I know you don’t train horses. Make it an external distinction and quit jumping me when I use “trainer” internally!). They also go to bed way too early because they have to get up early, too, which limits the opportunities for social fun.

But they’re good people who help me out (ok, ok, I take advantage of) a lot.


February 21, 2011

It’s funny how your interest in a sports championship is not directly related to how good your team is.

Generally, the better your favorite team is, the more into the sport you are for a season. You’d think the playoffs/championship would work the same way. By that logic, First place team = it’s the most important thing ever and last place team = not interest as much.

If your team is one of the top two and playing in the championship, your interest is at an all-time high.

Super Bowl XLI (Bears) and XLIV (Saints)? Massive events I watched every second of, including about 11 hours combined of pre-game. I recorded every pitch of the 2000 World Series.

And your interest is high if your team is on the cusp of making the playoffs, but was the underdog all year long. You got into it, and now will watch the playoffs/championship dreaming of next year.

However, when your team is good, but loses the conference or league championship game or series… you really don’t give a crap who wins the championship.

Like how I didn’t watch a single pitch of the World Series in 1999 or 2007. And I turned on the Super Bowl this year about 10 minutes in, and was working on my laptop and barely paid attention.

Valentine’s Day

February 20, 2011

My Valentine’s Day was relatively normal for me. Which is to say, slightly amusing, relatively absurd, and pretty much downright sad.

My best friend in town is JD (no, not Jack Daniels). In November, we came to realize that we were both new at work, didn’t know anyone, felt left out and bored a lot. Our conversation of how we needed to become a tag-team that instigated social outings sounded very much like two Teddy Ruxpin dolls meeting each other for the first time (I could have sworn I posted this back when she and I had this conversation, but now I can’t find it).

Instead, the social events we planned on creating, we  pretty much settled into “grab a drink and complain about work” outings. Which we try to do once a week, but end up doing more like once every three weeks.

Having pushed back a couple intending outings already, we had a quick “does Monday work?” At about 5:30 p.m. Monday, it occurred to me that I had made a ‘date’ for Valentine’s Day without realizing it.

Naturally the place we went to at 6:15 was packed, so we sat at the bar. Complained about work, had a couple drinks and got our buzzes on while our food took forever to come out.

At one point, I picked up my phone and sent a text to a female friend of mine to see if our plans for Friday were still on. They were. I’m now the guy who’s out with a girl on Valentine’s Day and not only texting, but setting up a ‘date’ with a different girl.  JD and I then traded Valentine’s Day tales of sadness and eventually our food came out.

And the end of dinner, I thoroughly enjoyed the dirty look from the waitress when we split the dinner check.

How dare you judge me? You don’t know us, our relationship and our arrangements. Maybe I pay for everything BUT Valentine’s Day dinner? Maybe I provide her with everything she needs in life: rent, clothes, car, etc?  Maybe she’s in MY dog house because she hasn’t shown ME how much she cares. I like to be appreciated. I think flowers are pretty. Or maybe we’re co-workers. Whichever, bring my food in a timely manner before judging me.

Although, come to think of it, we DID do the “2 entrees and an appetizer” package thing.

Anyhow, we called it a night and I headed home where I played video games, watched Chuck and had two text conversations for an hour with girls who have boyfriends that aren’t me.

I’m pretty sure my driver’s license should just list my address as “Friend Zone”

That Sucks Insurance

February 18, 2011

Today is the kind of day insurance was really made for. My friend is going to be in town on business, and we have plans to get together tonight. However, part of the business thing involves a group skiing outing in the afternoon with an anticipated return time of 7 p.m.

I know damned well that’s not going to happen. It’ll be more like 9 p.m. But I haven’t seen my friend in three years and we live three time zones apart, so we really need to make this happen.

This is why you should be able to place money on things like “something will go wrong/comes up.”  I place a $50 wager on fate screwing over my plans. That way, if I miss out on seeing her, it sucks. But I get like $100 as a consolation for my emotional distress. It would have to be low-odds, of course.

But with my $50 insurance bet, I should also get to include “she injures herself skiing” at payout 200-to-1.

If she goes to the hospital, I would be devastated that (a) anything bad happened to her and (b) I missed out on hanging out with her tonight. The payout would be a small way of the universe trying to make it up to me. Like saying, “Oh, I’m sorry. That sucks. Here’s some money.”  And by “small,” I mean $10,000.

I have no problem “buying” her health and visit for $50. And $10,000 could buy her a lot of flowers.

Well, This Is Bizarre.

February 17, 2011

Somehow, today I managed to carry in my wallet exactly 102 dollars. This would not be weird at all. I’m sure millions of people have had exactly $102 in their wallets.  What made it bizarre was that I also had exactly TWO bills in my wallet:


And I’m not sure if this has ever happened before in the history of the universe.

I then had the old school Crooklyn Clan line “You gotta hundred dollar bill put your hands up” line in my head the rest of the day.

Just Photo Shoot Me.

February 16, 2011

From a “net result” standpoint, there has to be no bigger waste of time in all of human existence than photography shoots.

Let’s say I need a picture of a group of 42 people together. I have to schedule a time (bouncing back and forth between two parties and two middle men), scout the shot, plan for a location, set up the location, discuss what everyone is wearing, get everyone to show up and show up wearing the same thing, make sure the location/arrangement meets lighting needs of the photographer, help the photographer carry stuff from the car, sort people by height, get everyone arranged, make sure everyone’s got sunglasses off, make sure the spacing is even, watch as a photographer counts to three about 14 times, make sure one of the shots work, restore the location to its original condition, help the photographer carry his stuff back out to the car, get the images from the photographer, sort through them for the best shot. Combine multiple images into one shot to create an ideal mosaic (since someone blinked in each one). Take the blank shot of the empty location and apply that as the background (different lighting, sky looks bland when the shot is lit for people), slide the background over since someone obstructed my ideal background.

All told, that was about four hours worth of work. So I could capture one-thirtieth of a second.

I put 432,000 times that into getting the picture. To put that in perspective, if you were trying to seduce a woman into a one-hour interlude of intimacy, and it took the same ratio of effort to outcome, it would take you 144,000 three-hour dates (one per day for 395 years).

Then again, it’s still better than “running the 100-meter dash in the Olympics.” They probably train more than two hours a day for 600 days for that.

One Good Neighbor, One Bad Neighbor

February 13, 2011

There’s a young woman who lives in the apartment across from me. I’ve seen her a couple of times, usually at night. I know she has a very young child, because I’ve heard her and a crying child.

Over a week ago, I came home late at night from a road trip and she was sitting outside on the stairs with a friend, having a cigarette. She welcomed me home and told me that while I was gone, a plethora of ads (pizza places, mostly) had accumulated on my door. She had taken them down because it made it obvious that I was out of town. I thanked her and told her that was nice of her, because it was quite sweet.

I went inside thinking about what a nice neighbor she was. Then I had the thought that I don’t really know who she is, and can’t recognize her as my neighbor. I had no idea which of those two girls were my neighbor until she spoke. They could actually BOTH be my neighbors.

It also occurred to me that a while back, I had seen a pregnant woman about the same age in the parking lot. And I’ve seen my neighbor with her mom, carrying baby travel basket thing. So now that I think about it, one of those two was probably the pregnant girl, and now is no longer pregnant, and while she’s sweet enough to take leaflets off my door when I’m not home, I’m such a bad neighbor that I didn’t say “congratulations” because I completely lack the ability to identify whether any of the young women I’ve seen around the parking lot/porch area are the same people.

That makes me feel really bad about the next five weeks, when I’m going out of town for the next five weekends.