Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Forty-two Years And Counting ...

--> Forty-two years ago tonight my life changed in a heartbeat. An instant in time has affected many people in one way or another. Unaware of what was about to happen, my head football coach, Milt Osterberg, called me into the game to replace an injured teammate. It was about halfway through the second quarter and Owatonna was driving again.
Owatonna had two excellent running backs, and they were chewing up yardage all night long. We were undersized and inexperienced compared to the entire Owatonna team. When I was called into the game, little did I know as I ran out on the field those would be the last steps I would ever run. That is why they call them accidents!

Some of you have read my book entitled "I Still Believe In Tomorrow" and know all the details of what happened those last three minutes of my first life. I have always told people I felt I had two lives. I lived to be sixteen in my first life, and tonight I start the forty-third year of my second life.

It is incomprehensible for me to believe it has been forty-two years already. I cannot tell you where the time has gone. I am sure many of my older readers often feel the same way. Where have our lives gone?

I once heard an analogy about life being like a roll of toilet paper. I will paraphrase, but it went something like this, "Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes." 

I do not know how you feel about it, but I believe that analogy is spot on. I remember in my first life how time could not move fast enough. When I was a first grader, I wanted to be in junior high. When I was in junior high, I could not wait to be in high school so I could play the varsity sports, football, basketball and track and field. Then, I played baseball all summer long. Those last two summers before I got hurt were idyllic for a young, athletic, wanna be growing up in a small town in southwestern Minnesota. Worthington had everything I wanted or needed.

Sure, the Vietnam War was raging in Southeast Asia, but that had nothing to do with me because I was not going to war when I graduated. I was going to go play basketball on a college scholarship. My mother had three brothers who did four tours of duty in Vietnam. She wrote letters to them and sent them religiously. When they wrote back and told her where they were, she would put a pin on our Vietnam map hanging on the kitchen wall to show us where one of them was at any given time.

We know better now more times than not they were lying to her about where they really were and the kind of danger they were in. But the kind of men they are, they did not want Mom to worry.

As per my regular writing style I have wandered off course again from the point of this post. I believe tonight it may be intentional.

I am writing this about the time I would have left home to go get my ankles taped in preparation of the game. I was so nervous; I left early and was the second person to arrive at our locker room. Ben Horak was one of our co-captains and he was already at the locker room when I got there. I do not know who was more nervous, Ben or me.

As everyone started to arrive, along with coaches, managers and other players tension in the locker room was starting to build, as was the noise. I remember lying down on that cool, concrete floor using my helmet as a pillow and trying to relax. I could not relax as this feeling that had been with me all day was getting more intense. I later learned it was my intuition. 

That is a whole other story! I go into greater detail in my book about intuition and how males are taught not to listen to it. We are taught to suck it up, it is just nerves and you will get over it.

Once we hit the field for warm-ups, the feeling went away a little bit; but it was still there and I was not going to listen to it. I remember everything from that night; and those feelings always come back every year on September third. My anniversary is always a melancholy day, and this year was no different. Writing about it always helps, and this has helped me immensely put up this post. Thanks for reading. 

For those of you that do not know, I am not actually writing this. I have a Mac Mini with voice recognition software called Dragon Dictate. I have actually been speaking this entire post. That explains why I have made it so long! I hope you enjoyed my rambling.

As always, I look forward to your comments.




thedrumwallet said...

Happy second birthday brother!I love you!

Doug said...

I was at the game Mike. Remember it like it was yesterday; also the trips to Sioux Falls.

Lois Fraser said...

Glad you posted it, Mike. I can't believe it has been that long. We sure don't look that old!

Diane D said...

Mike, I also remember that night 42 years ago. I really enjoy reading your posts.

Earl HIpp said...

I love your "rambling!"

Mom said...

Another year — and we were told your life expectancy was nine years! What did they know ... for whatever reason the smells of that humid summery fall night and the colors of everything surrouond me at this time of year especially ... Carry on son, and have a good year and a great time in Worthington for the class reunion next weekend! Love, MOM

Ruona said...

42 years.....yes that's hard to believe. What a horrible night. I think about your accident often. I too look back on that time as my former life. Interesting. Ruona

Todd Lowry said...

As I remember it, Mike, it must have happened just before Halftime. Wynn Kirkeby (with his drum kit) and I (with my electric bass), and possibly Mark Evensen, were on a flat bed truck that had driven onto the track for a WHS Band performance. When they took you off in an ambulance we had no clue as to the seriousness of your injury. I also recall that the entire band later visited you at the hospital in Sioux Falls.

Victoria said...

I always enjoy your ramblings, Mike! You are an inspiration!
With love,