Embarrassment, Pain, & Tender Mercies

Let me set the stage: It's Joe, my youngest son's, first basketball game as the starting point guard for his junior high team. He's just played a great game--seventeen points including 9 out of 10 free throws. As usual, I sat on the top row of the bleachers. I like having the wall as a backrest and it's a good view of the court.

The game ended, the team went into the locker room, and parents stood around talking--a few up in the bleachers, more on the floor at the bottom of the bleachers.

Across the gymnasium, I saw Joe come out of the locker room. I picked up my purse and phone and started down the stairs to meet him.

The bleachers are the pull-out kind and for some reason, the second to the top step wasn't fully extended. I hadn't noticed that when I went up, nor did I notice it when I started down. My foot landed on the shorter step, and since only a tiny bit of my heel had anything to gain traction on, my foot folded over the edge of the step.

What happened next was spectacular. As my foot folded, my body twisted. I'm not sure if I was trying to reach for something or if the momentum of my twisted foot just worked it's way through my entire body, but somehow I did a half-twist that threw me onto my back, on the steps of the bleachers. I reached for something to stop me, but came up empty-handed as I slid/bounced from the top of the bleachers to the bottom.

When I finally came to a rest, amid shrieks from all sides, my head was on the basketball floor while my body and legs were up the bleachers. Yes, they were still attached, but just barely.

In a panic, my husband and two sons came running over. "Karey, are you okay?" "Mom, mom, what happened? Are you all right?" Travis (husband) and Bruce (oldest son) took my hands and tried to pull me up, but have you ever tried to get up when the lower half of your body is at a much higher elevation than the upper half? It's nearly impossible. It goes against the laws of nature or physics or decency. Feel free to try it if you don't believe me.

The solution: Pull mom down the rest of the way to the floor and then help her up. And do this in front of most of the parents and now several of the boys on the team.

I used to think I wanted my superpower to be teleporting, but at that moment, I wanted the power of invisibility.

Somehow they managed to get me upright and sitting on the bottom row of the bleachers. Concerned faces were all around me asking about my condition. In truth, I was in excruciating pain, but I smiled and joked that only my pride was hurt. A few tried to ease my embarrassment with jokes. I reached over to pick up my purse that had landed on the bottom step, but unfortunately, I hadn't zipped it up and so the contents spilled all over the bottom step of the bleachers and the floor.

In just a few short moments, I became the object of concern and pity and probably humor, although everyone did a remarkable job of not laughing hysterically. Thankfully, everyone was kind and the boys even had a string of text messages asking about what had happened to Joe's mom and about my well-being.

Let me interrupt this moment of mortification with a question. Why couldn't someone have captured this on their phone? I promise you, it would have gone viral. It was a fall worthy of repeated viewing and sharing all over social media. It would have been shared on Buzzfeed and Huffington Post. It could have made someone rich.

Anyway, it's been two days now and yes, I can laugh about it, but I feel like I lost a cage fight. I've had a little time to think and have recognized two tender mercies. When I think of a tender mercy, I usually think of a small good thing that happens in the midst of a big bad thing, but these two things seem pretty big to me.

Tender Mercy 1: No one was standing on the bleachers in front of me. At the most, I could have killed someone. At the least, I would have maimed someone pretty badly.

Tender Mercy 2: I almost wore a dress that day, but at the last minute, opted for jeans and a sweater. A dress twisted around my waist would have upped the humiliation factor ten-fold. Dodged the bullet there.

I have just one question for you. If anyone has an answer, please feel free to share it. Why do some people get to go through life with grace, composure, dignity, and beauty? They glide through life, never getting ruffled, always looking prim and put-together. I, on the other hand, get to barrel through life, lumbering, careening, tumbling and splatting.

Right now I'm moving slowly and carefully. Now if I can just make myself do the same when the aches and pains are gone.


Taylor Dean said...

Oh, I'm so sorry, Karey. Granted, the way you describe your fall is quite humorous, but those bleachers can be downright scary and that kind of fall is terrifying. I'm glad you're okay. And I hope those aches and pains subside quickly. Thank goodness you weren't seriously hurt. Take care!

mormon birth mom said...

I have tears running down my face grateful you're alive and with some relief that I'm not alone - I too bumble through life! And I'm glad there is no video - it's funnier in my head without the reality of seeing the pain! It would be way too difficult to watch. I'm glad you wore jeans too because that was my first thought!! Well besides hoping nothing was broken. Rest up my friend and thanks for sharing :-) Love,Dana

Mindy said...

Oh, dear! I did laugh through your story, but I felt your pain. I'm not one of the people who goes through life with grace, composure, dignity, and beauty. ;) I am SO GLAD you didn't wear a dress!

Sandie McQuivey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandie McQuivey said...

Oh Karey, I'm so sorry this happened to you. Please forgive me for laughing after I knew you were okay, it's just that I can relate so well to your experience having been there many times before. Maybe you remember as mission companions we both had the same talent for "slip and falls" of for having the most simple task turn into a fiasco. Do you remember the black eye you received on prep-day playing soccer? Alas, I've asked my self the same question many times and have concluded that someone has to provide entertainment for those going smoothly through life. That being said, it may as well be those of us who have the talents needed to trip over nothing, get back up, find the humor in it, and move forward with a smile and a special type of grace few have.

missy said...

Oh, I hope your aches and pains (and mortification) are short-lived. I'm glad you can laugh about it. I'd say the fact that no one video-taped it qualifies as Tender Mercy #3. I'm super impressed with Joe and his friends for allowing you to retain your dignity in their texts to one another. :) Probably the only ones who truly make it through life without the tumbling and splatting are those who aren't living life to the fullest. A quote comes to mind (and I've seen many versions of this...): "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, 'WOO-HOO! What a ride!'"

Carol N Wong said...

Wow! I don't think I will ever forget what happened to you! I am glad that Joe and his friends like the poster above "let you retain your dignity". What an experience! It must have been the most memorable part of the game. Walk slow and take care. Sending you very gentle hugs,