Friday, November 27, 2015

Games Brothers Play

     Aside from baseball, football was the only other sport my brothers and I would routinely play together, just the three of us.  Basketball on our non-regulation hoop took the form of HORSE or involved the kids in my mom's day care, but we could play a reasonable facsimile of football through a game we invented and named "Interception."  The name was so chosen because that was the primary indicator of success.  For instance, if my brothers were on offense, one passing to the other, my goal was to stop them from scoring, and intercepting the pass (you are not allowed to run the ball) was the best way to do that.  When we invented the game, I could have never known it would become a Thanksgiving tradition-- one which I would enjoy more than I ever thought possible once I was no longer "benched" by the condition of my health.

Last year was my triumphant return to the field.  My brothers have always been close to each other and now, in adulthood, are close friends as well as brothers.  I would be lying if I said that was true of my relationship with either of them.  So getting a text from one of them is uncommon, but always welcome.  I still remember receiving one from the older of the two, Aarin, mentioning that this year when we got together for Thanksgiving, we could play Interception.  I wasn't able to play, even when I wasn't on oxygen, for the previous two years, unless I took on the not-nearly-as-fun role of All Time Quarterback.  In the cavalcade of amazing new things I could do mere weeks after my transplant, this was one that my brothers had the most personal stake in-- in fact, when we spoke prior to me going into surgery on the day on got the call, Aarin mentioned how much he was looking forward to me recovering quickly after the transplant so we could play.  My youngest brother Ean had just moved back to the state, so we went to his home for the festivities.  Even though I was barely three months post-transplant, we played and had an amazing time running routes, jumping, and juking. 

     This year was even better, because not only have I've had a full 15 months to get accustomed to my body's new abilities, I've shed many of my after care restrictions and limitations.  We hosted Thanksgiving at my home, eschewing our normal routine of spending every other one with my in-laws because my wife's sister had many more family members coming than usual.  Therefore, two years in a row, Interception was the method of burning off all the stuffing, turkey, and mashed potatoes.  The video below wasn't exactly the "highlight," but I ended up with a nice, circular piece of skin missing from my right pinky joint, so it may be the longest lasting memento.  I'd be completely okay with a scar to remind me of how grateful I am this year-- healthier and happier than I have ever been in 33 years.

"Not good" but so, so good.  :)

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