Back in the Day Music – 3/24/17
Back in the Day Music
You have heard the old adage before, “This is the worst injury ever.” Although gross, it is probably not the worst injury ever. Sports injuries usually don’t bother me, though. But there are a few instances that I will never forget. Joe Theismann’s on Monday Night Football is the first one that comes to most people’s minds. I think that his was so noteworthy because it was the worst of its time and having instant replay running it over and over and over again only magnified it. Perhaps having Lawrence Taylor snapping your leg in half like it was a pencil does it for most. Theismann would never play again.
I will never forget the reaction of the bench players as poor Kevin Ware from Louisville laid on the sideline with his leg bones sticking out of his skin on a huge stage, the NCAA Regional Final on Easter Sunday. Ware would eventually transfer from Louisville and attend Georgia State University, helping them reach the NCAA tournament and upset three seeded Baylor. Ware now plays overseas.
Personally, as a parent, I want to think that I would be able to just roll with the punches of watching my child injured. I always told my mom that if I were lying on the football field hurt that she was not allowed to leave the stands. I even think I told her if I was dead out there to not embarrass me or herself. We didn’t have to worry about it, though. My only significant injuries were a separated shoulder from diving for a ball (how sissy) and being knocked unconscious. It wasn’t all that bad. We were not allowed to lay on the ground acting hurt. So, as soon as I had a clue of what was going on, I walked to the sideline and answered some standard questions from our “trainer”. This was the same guy that would mix the Gatorade that we would drink during our 90-degree summer practices with his arm. It looked similar to this, despite the fact that he stood at least 6’5″ and weighed 300 pounds. He wasn’t fat, just a large man. And let me tell you what, the combination of his arm sweat and hair made that Gatorade taste fantastic. Our football coach always said that he could have mixed it with his foot and the kids would have still drunk it.
28 years ago Wednesday, the most gruesome sports injury occurred, in my opinion. In what seemed to be a meaningless NHL game between the Buffalo Sabres and the St. Louis Blues. In goal for the Sabres that night stood Clint Malarchuk, a wily veteran. As the Blues attempted to throw the puck to the net, a crash took place in the crease. What happened next is the worst thing I have ever seen in a sporting event, as Malarchuk’s neck was cut by a skate in the crash. This skate not only cut his neck but it severed his carotid artery, spewing blood onto the ice. He must have had similar coaching as I did, as he was quoted as saying that the only thing he was worried about was getting off the ice so his mother wouldn’t watch him die. Assuming the worst, Malarchuk had the equipment manager call his mother to tell her he loved her. The manager also asked for a priest. The good thing for Malarchuk, though, was the athletic trainer. The trainer was an army medic in the Vietnam War and he reached inside Malarchuk’s 6-inch neck wound that would require around 300 stitches to repair and pinched off the vessel until doctors took over. What happened in the next two weeks is the truly amazing thing to me.
And that brings us to today’s back in the day music. In thinking about this story and the subsequent aftermath, a song came bursting into my brain. The year was 1989 and today’s song jumped all the way to number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been used by many sports franchises for multiple reasons, a political campaign by George W. Bush, and a theme song for the United States after the September 11th attacks.
While Tom Petty released our song today about a month after the terrible accident involving Malarchuk, I can only hope that Clint took our song to heart, as he was back on the ice within 10 days of the accident. And following the many other hardships and post-traumatic incidents that Malarchuk has had to deal with and still able to get back into the game of hockey, I can only conclude that his mantra is I Won’t Back Down.