Saturday, August 04, 2012

small pleasures

Almost all of life's greatest joys show up unexpectedly.

Who would believe my nemesis, television, would be a major element in what will undoubtedly be one of my favorite memories of this trip north.

My brother is convalescing.  Really convalescing.  Last April, he had a kidney removed.  But that is not what has him laid up.  He recovered very well from that operation.

But there was more to come.  At our age, doctors see to find things that need to be replaced or refurbished.  Or just buffed up.

In Darrel's case, it was his left knee.  It needed to be replaced.

Joint replacements are usually a simple operation with a steady recovery these days.  Not so for Darrel.  He has had a tough time recovering.

As a result, he is spending his days on the couch or in bed tethered to either an ice therapy machine or a mechanical knee exerciser.  Neither one is conducive for the two Cotton boys to be out and about in Bend.

Instead, we are doing something I am not certain we have ever done with one another.  Watching sports on television.  The Olympics.

During a Federer tennis match, we started discussing the effect of allowing professional athletes to compete in the Olympics.  And, as it always does, to an attempt to define the distinction between amateurs and professionals.  And whether athletes should compete solely as individuals without reference to nationality.

Of course, we added nothing to the debate that people have not been discussing since Baron de Coubertin convinced the Kaiser and the French president to kiss and make up.

But Darrel reminded me of an incident in our family involving the same issues.

He was a very good high school wrestler.  Good enough that Oregon State University gave him a wrestling scholarship.  But not before questions of whether he was a professional wrestler had been resolved.

In addition to being a wrestler, Darrel had raced motorcycles since he was 13.  (By the way, if you guessed there may be a connection between wrestling and motorcycle racing and his recent knee replacement, you are entitled to pick a prize off of the top shelf.)

In the beginning, he raced for trophies.  Our house was filled with our combined wares.  But he then went on to win cash prizes.  Not Kentucky Derby purses, mind you.  But he was paid for racing.  Thus the professional conundrum.

All came out well.  In the Aristotlean logic of college sports, the powers-that-were concluded he had accepted money, but that motorcycle racing was not a sport.

This was in pre-ESPN days.  Before the day of christening paint-drying events as sport.

If he had not been laid up and if we had not been watching the dreaded television, this is another of those tales that would have floated into the ether.

Now, it will float into the ether after making its way through my blog sieve.


norm said...

It is all about the best and if they are paid to do well then so be it. Not having a guy like Lbron James at the world's highest level because he is cashing in on being one of the best in his sport seems wrong. People need to make a living-what could be wrong with making a living at what you do best? It brings to mind what they did to Jim Thorp back in the day, wrong then and wrong today.  

min said...

Joy of being together even it's kind forced event

Face to Face,Looking at the eyes,Talking ......

Guss,I will never join the Wonderful world of Face book.haha

Must be hard on Darrel right now .

As a Parent,pay for 10years of tennis lesson for our son,
Object was getting into good college which he did.

So hard be a good parent these days!

Felipe Zapata said...

Long, long ago, my mother had both knees replaced. It was a very painful ordeal. But just a couple of years ago, a friend had the same procedure, and reported that it was a piece of cake. High technology has made great strides over the years. Sorry your brother is having problems, but, from what I know, it's rare.

John Calypso said...

Joint replacements are usually a simple operation with a steady recovery these days."  

Not my experience. While never having the operation myself, I have known many friends and acquaintances that have had knee surgeries with a lot of pain and discomfort for a long time afterwards. Enough so to prevent me from considering it - easier to say when I am not hobbling around I suppose . 

Steve Cotton said...

It is a complex issue.  And I will leave it at that.

Steve Cotton said...

This has been a very good visit to Bend.

Steve Cotton said...

My brother shares my lack of patience.  It is a personal attribute that does not mix well with major medical procedures.  

Steve Cotton said...

I know I am not ready to sign up for one.

Alan said...

Okay, Steve, I will take the bait.  You mentioned "Our house was filled with our combined wares" without, of course, telliing us of your exploits.  Let's hear them. 

Steve Cotton said...

Some other day.  This is Darrel's tale.

Alan said...


Steve Cotton said...

In the same way the president will not raise taxes for the middle class.

Laurie Matherne said...

How painful it must be to live in Bend with a bad knee. I am glad you can spend time with him. 

Steve Cotton said...

I am heading back up to Bend today for one last day before I head to Reno.