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Soccer, Noses, and Doctor’s Advice

The World Cup began a couple days ago. Every four years life stops for a month as soccer dominates everything.

This means that the only thing I’m interested in writing about is soccer.

First, as a side note, I am comfortable referring to the sport as either soccer or football. The word ‘soccer’ originally came from England. The word ‘football’ comes from everywhere in the world. I am also comfortable with the word ‘calcio,’ which is what the Italians have called the game, both in its current form, and in previous forms going back about 500 years.

So…what am I going to write about soccer? I’m not going to write about the sport itself.

I am going to write about my nose.

I broke my nose in a soccer practice, one day when I was seventeen years old.

I was trying to out-jump my teammate Martin to head the ball as it came down out of the air. Being a practice, we had split up the team and Martin was playing against me.

Things happen in split seconds on the soccer field. Martin won the header. I snapped my head toward the ball a millisecond too late. My attempt to head the ball resulted in a collision between my nose and Martin’s head.

Blood was everywhere.

My chin, my shirt, the ground below me, was all blood red.

Our coach suspended practice, put me in his car, and drove me to the hospital. The Doctor poked around inside my nose with some tools, straightened it out to about 3/4 or 7/8 of its normal straightness, and then gave me a choice.

He said I needed a more thorough procedure to fully repair my nose. I could have it done right away, and be medically banned from playing for several weeks until it was 100% healed. Or I could live with the slightly crooked nose and be cleared to play again in a week.

I took the second choice. I didn’t want to miss games.

The Doctor made me promise that I would have the procedure done sometime in the next few years.

I never had it done.

Years later, my nose is still slightly crooked. It isn’t too bad. In some pictures you can hardly tell. Up close it is noticeable, though.

Whenever i notice it, looking in a mirror, it just reminds me that I once chose to keep the crooked nose, because I didn’t want to miss soccer games.

Now it is a lifelong reminder, and maybe, just maybe a bit of a badge of honor.
-Peter Wick
June 14, 2014

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