A View Askew

9 lives to give to the game

Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2006

Good news in the world of sports — my cat’s off the disabled list.

After sustaining a “high ankle sprain,” she was “out of commission” for a week or two, but as she “rehabbed” the injury she progressed from “doubtful to questionable to probable,” then from “probable” to being “back in the game.”

What does all this mean?

I have no idea. The best I can explain it is this is what happens when a non-sports person (When asked, “Are you ready for some football?” I answer with a resounding “no.”) dates a sports person (When asked, “Are you ready for some football/hockey/ baseball/soccer/basketball/ tennis/golf/skiing/curling for crying out loud? His answer is always “yes”).

A few weeks back, Widget — the cat — limped into the living room favoring her right front paw.

My reaction was: (in a high-pitched squeal that probably sent neighborhood dogs yelping away in misery) “Oh my poor little precious! What happened to your cute little paw?!?!”

Jeff — the boyfriend — responded in a much more clinical fashion: “Maybe she blew out a knee.”

After explaining that cats don’t have knees (he’s a sports person, not an animal person), his next theory was that she sprained an ankle (“there’s got to be a joint there somewhere”). As the injury persisted through the week, he revised his diagnosis to a “high ankle sprain” rather than “low ankle sprain,” because the high ones supposedly take longer to heal.

His treatment advice ranged from taping the injury (which I vetoed because she has roughly as much hair as Cousin It) to icing it (her front claws may have been removed in deference to my lease agreement, but her back ones still work just fine, thank you) to taking her to the vet because otherwise it could “affect her future performance.”

What performance would that be, I wanted to know. The one where she spends all day repositioning herself in sunbeams as they travel across the floor? The one where she decides she has to attack the pen I’m trying to

write with, despite the fact that the floor is littered with cat toys and even other identical pens I’ve tried to distract her with?

Perhaps it’s the performance where she’ll be sitting in the living room and suddenly decide that her presence

is urgently required upstairs, then race through the kitchen at such a high speed that she peels out on the linoleum and slams into the wall before flying up the stairs and thundering across the floor upstairs, knocking over anything she can work into her tour of destruction.

Since this is probably how she injured herself in the first place, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if that performance

were toned down in the future.

Throughout the course of her injury, the sports jargon Jeff counseled her with was extensive, even though I rarely had any idea what he was talking about.

It was presented in running (or horse racing, I’m not sure which) terms: “She’s off her stride, but at least she avoided a Barbaro or a Mary Decker Slaney.”

It was presented in folksy, “Keith Jackson-esque” football terms (and here I didn’t think folksy was allowed in football): “She’s got a hiccup in her getalong.”

And NASCAR: “Widget, you’ve got a bum wheel. You need to see the pit crew.”

And even karate. She’d sit back on her haunches and hold the hurt paw up off the ground, which prompted Jeff to

declare she was “Ralph Macchio-ing it” and direct crane kicks in her direction.

Had he mentioned Mr. Miyagi I would have gotten the “Karate Kid” reference. As it was, I yelled at him to stop trying to kick my cat.

As the limp decreased, Widget was treated with cheers of encouragement, like, “The impossible has happened!” and, “Here comes Willis!”

I had no clue on either. The first is purported to be something somebody named Vin Scully said about something Kirk Gibson did. The second, apparently, is a famous line Marv Albert uttered when an injured player returned to a

basketball game.

As an aside here, for any women who find themselves in my situation, it is apparently unfair to only refer to Marv as “that guy who bit that woman,” because it does not give just recognition to his many distinguished years of service as “the voice of the Knicks.” Or so I was told.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate Jeff’s insights to sports medicine. They came in handy when I crunched my knee a few years ago. Had it not been for him I wouldn’t have made sense of any medical babble about “torn ACLs” or “meniscuses” or “bone contusions.”

My knowledge of anatomy is limited to the parts of the body song. As far as I was concerned the leg bone was connected to the ankle bone, not the femur and patella connected to the tibia and fibula.

But now that Widget’s got “four on the floor” again, I hope this extra attention hasn’t gone to her head. As Jeff, the eternal Packers fan, put it: “She may have played through the pain, but she’s still no Brett Favre.”

Jenny Neyman is the city editor at the Peninsula Clarion.

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