Short Story: I Wrestle Like a Girl.
So, I’m originally from the town of South Park. Not the one actually named South Park, but the city the cartoon phenomenon is based upon. Needless to say, there wasn’t much to do growing up there. It was cold and snowy and up until I turned 17 (re: Erin can drive now), I had no way to get around.
Now that the scene is set, let’s think back to middle school. I’m scrawny, still developing my later-charming sense of humor, and a bit of a *gasp* nerd. So what do I do out of total boredom and lack of “this-might-affect-me-negatively” syndrome? I sign up to take a 2-day wrestling workshop with the Conifer High School Lobos—that’s wolf in Spanish for those of you unilinguals. It wooed me with promises of exercise, a night out of the house, and a totally rad Lobos Wrestling T-shirt.
My dad had to drive me (see first paragraph for explanation), but luckily he took the whole idea in stride. We showed up at the gym, which reeked of Pine-Sol and past-their-prime sports drinks. I set down my purse in a row of equipment bags and took to the mats.
I should probably now mention that not only was I the only girl in the workshop, I was the only girl in the whole room. There was not a momma to be found, a sister to be spied, or another poor female soul fighting for her chance to wrassle (spelled wrong on purpose for your mental pronunciation enjoyment) her way to the top. As the workshop got underway, each of us newbies got partnered with a male high school mentor to start showing us some moves.
Perhaps at this point you are expecting this story to take a perilous turn.
No. It didn’t.
Actually, I performed quite well. I got the fireman’s carry reasonably under control. Wait. Scratch that. I got the fireman’s carry technique reasonably under control—I couldn’t even lift my mentor’s leg, much less casually throw him over my shoulder for an intimate stroll. And the rest of the evening went on as expected. I certainly wasn’t the star of the class, but I held my own, training bra and all. After completing the umpteenth lunge, I could feel some stiffness building in my legs, but overall I felt okay.
Cut to the next morning. Chapter title: NOT Okay.
Awakened by a whole lot of nothing thanks to my Rocky Mountain geographics, I slowly opened my eyes to find the sun shining into my bedroom windows. I wiped the morning from my eyes, stretched my arms, and sat up.
Then terror struck.
I could feel an intense heat coming from under my covers. It pulsed. It burned. It felt like something unearthly had laid eggs under the skin of my thighs. I pulled back the covers and there they were. The red, puffy stumps that once functioned as my legs.
He came rushing in and was brought to an abrupt halt as soon as he caught sight of my throbbing extremities.
Writers note: Whoa. That sounded wrong on so many levels. But I’m leaving it in. It helps the integrity of the story, I think.
Daddy Dearest whisked me out of bed and down the stairs to show my mother what had happened to their sweet little girl. She was instantly overcome with hysterical laughter. Oh, ha-ha, it’s all so funny until someone loses a limb. But the comedic shelf life quickly went stale after Dad—a man convinced that ice, Vaseline and Band-Aids can fix anything—tried to apply a cold pack, and the heat from my legs melted it faster than a Vegas Slurpee in August.
Time to go to the doctor.
We all got in the car and rushed to urgent care. I, unable to even wiggle my toes, was in Stage 5 (out of 5) panic mode. I bawled in a fashion only freak wrestling accidents could manufacture. I was silently wishing I had drafted up a will so that my sister wouldn’t get her hands on my collection of Disney Princess figurines.
The doctor came in and did an exam. He kept a pretty straight poker face, so I had no idea how bad the bad news was going to be. I told him everything. The fireman’s carry, the squats, the thrusting. Oh the thrusting! He wrote in his little chart and then excused himself, telling us he would return shortly.
My parents and I sat in that room waiting for an impossibly long 11.75 minutes. But who’s counting? The only sounds were the clock ticking on the wall and the occasional crunching of paper when I would shift my position on the exam table. My folks were looking at each other a tinge too unsurely for my young mind and I could tell the end was near. I focused on not fainting. One breath after another. In-out-in-out. One blink after another. Flittler-flutter-flitter-flutter. And then, the doctor returned.
He quietly closed the door. He placed his hands delicately on my shoulders. He had that sad look in his eyes that could only mean amputation.
The verdict? One, I had literally pulled almost every muscle in both my legs.Two, it would be 3–5 days before I could walk again. And three, that moment would mark the official and unofficial ends of my wrestling career.
The doctor left with little sympathy paid as my parents had a good snicker at my expense. And in the end, I didn’t even get the damn T-shirt.
Lobos. My. Ass.