On the Mend

So I thought I’d go all BADASS and play through an ongoing knee injury that had, days before, been jarred real nice like in a Saturday morning basketball game that turned into a four-day hangover. On the Wednesday after my knee’s resounding recovery had given me cause to exclaim- ere I departed for another round of basketball- “Let’s go crash my knee all over again!” (I think the voice of arrogant youthfulness comes through here)

I proceed to bike to the closest park and begin to casually shoot around. No more than ten minutes had passed when two knuckle-headed, jerk-faced  juveniles descend from the neighborhood shadows onto the court and start shooting around like they don’t even notice my friend and I already there shooting (kids these days!). So, in good, healthy form, we happily (no, begrudgingly) incorporate their two (small, worn out) basketballs into the mix and before long it came to the expected challenge, “You guys wanna play two-on-two?” The smaller of the kids (16 and 17 year olds are really just kids) seemed hopped up to play and so in the good spirit of sportsmanship and because sometimes old men gotta teach a lesson to these whippersnappers (the one kid was wearing Bugs Bunny SHORTS! Who does that?), we accepted the game against both my and my friend’s better judgment (he recently had had a traumatic episode where his back gave out and so rendered himself a bit tender of late).

It was less than two minutes into the match that I felt my knee wrench, painfully stressed, and from then on I was a hobbled joe. Yes, I could have taken leave of the game and responsibly rested my joint rather than satisfying my ego, but I chose, unwisely, to drag it out so I could prevent Josh and George from their satisfaction: beating up on us “old guys”.

Needless to say the win came with a palpable comeuppance in the form of a severely sensitive, constricted right knee. (*A doctors note: my right knee was orthoscopically treated at the age of seventeen for a torn ACL and healed relatively well after the second operation which was performed to address the failure of the first which came nearly seven months after originally tearing it while doing squats in my garage. My knee has been moderately stable ever since excluding some intermittent strains and bruises from regular playing.) Rightfully anxious about the potential prognosis, I went straight to ice packs, tending to it as it seemed to feel vaguely like my knee had when I originally tore my ACL now twenty years ago.

Almost a week has passed and it feels adequately stable, but there is definitely a weak lateral angle of the joint that I cannot “push through” due to severe pain. I am however optimistic that this not as severe as first surmised (objective analysis can be a tall order when you’re in a lot of pain). We’ll see what this rehabilitative process yields as a preamble to this new year. I’m not in the mood for letting it break my stride. Who knows, maybe this is when, in step with my progressing maturity, I will create a healthy walking routine, heretofore unthinkable to my internal twenty year old.  Nevertheless, it’s certainly not gonna spoil a sweet 2016.

March Forth!

Carminati By Nature or Re:Joyce: Park Assessment # 2


So any ambition squandered over the last (however many) months in inactive bloggering must presently be mustered up into a tiny (not for long!) uprising of focused outdoorsmanship. A campaign to sieze upon a culture of outsider athletes spawned from the dust and breath of the desert wind is underway. Soon enough, we will meet and assume the challenge as a nucleus of naturalists, environmentalists and high-minded civic folk, bent on a free-form athletique, akin to parcour. For details, updates and schedules on meet-ups turn to the “Meet-Ups & Downs“ page. Until then, let’s return to our park assessments.

I rejoin our survey of Tempe parks at my alma mater, Carminati Elementary and its adjacent public play space, Joyce Park. The landscape of Joyce- separated by a chain-link fence from the school yard- is merely an extension of the school grounds as considered for this assessment, and is noteworthy for its generous spread of trees, picnic benches, and central round, sand playground. For now, though, we will turn our attention to the dynamic features on the public school-side of the fence.
To begin, an enclosure of schoolyard fencing creates an insulated environment to play in. Where Mitchell’s free-flow invites walkers-through and (un)leashed canine traffic, Carminati’s child-proof iron curtain restricts aimless ambulation, resulting in a healthy container. This characteristic has extensive implications toward the feng sui of a park’s environment and the individual’s canvas acting either as a passageway or a sanctuary.

As for topography, there is none, save the burms leading up to the slightly elevated portable buildings next to the soccer field. I run up and over the railing on the top like a steeple hurdler. With the exception of this modest slope, the ground is a flatline.
We are surrounded by a short elementary-size soccer field, 50- meter-mini-dash-track, long-jump pit, 6-rim basketball court (ParkCourt!*), two backstops AND dual sand playgrounds with an abundance of exercise options. It’s a well-rounded robin. This multi-purposing is paramount to the mentality and immediacy of cross-TERRAINing, the vast importance of whole body awareness, ground to sky interaction (inner (at)traction?), the beautiful breadth of a curved space-time continuum where the planet Earth and a basketball are synonymous like a zen-koan, the awesomeness of nonlinear, fractal, connectivity, the intelligence of nonseparation and wholistic synergy, the..the..*pant*pant* Excuse me. Clear the runway. Please allow me some room to land. 🙂 I get a wee bit passionate ’bout these things.
The generous spread of recreation manifests a vigorous variety of basketballing, children (and adult!) jungle-gymnastics, and leisurely swinging. (Not to mention the rarely-seen paraglider hoisting the massive sails). For what I practice AND preach, so far as a “general workout“ or “WOD“ is concerned, this arrangement is the ideal schema for sport and fitness recreation. It offers a compressed exercise environment with enough openness to breathe and be elevated.
My WOD (Workout Of the Day, for those of you unfamiliar with cross-fit speak) is essentially this:

A)Shoot-around with basketball.
B)Alternate strength exercises with sprints.
A)Shoot-around with basketball.

ABA. The pattern is simple enough. There IS more to it, as will be illustrated as we progress, but it reduces to these two components, the free movement with ball and the focused speed and strength intervals. The intention is in weaving grace and balance of ball play with the rigors of vigorous circuit terraining. The primacy of this pattern cannot be overstated in my fitness philosophy.
And then we inventorize our other amenities and utilities. There is a three-way (dog-accessible) water fountain on the Joyce side. Carminati’s fountains are turned off after hours and the bathrooms are locked. Both sand playgrounds on the school side are covered by blue tarping, the one on Joyce side is not.

parque pROGUEram: Carminati by Nature

So this will conclude our portait, rather assessment, for this play space just north of the US-60, west of Rural Road. I’ll stake this proudly as my home turf, my neck, my court, my trees and MY home-field advantage. This was the park I looked out on from my childhood home on Hermosa. This brings things full circle, back to my youthful origins, playing full days of tackle football, chasing lizards, climbing trees (breaking arms :|), flying kites…whiling the days away, lazy as a cirrus cloud. Ah, time flies, doesn’t it? And life marches ever onward…

March Forth