Until They Stop Recruiting, I Won’t Stop Playing

It is not secret to those close to me that I love sports.

I have been hooked on sports for as long as I can remember. I have been playing organized sports since I was 4, maybe 3. Here I am 24 years later refusing to give them up.

In professional athlete years, I am technically in my athletic prime. I’ll be damned if I don’t want to believe it. Naturally, I am much like the average 28 year old. I am 28 going on 48. Gone are the days where sleeping awkwardly results in no pain. I sneeze wrong and I pull a muscle. I now suffer from your everyday back pain that people always talk about.

It doesn’t matter though. Nothing gets my adrenaline going quite like sports. Therefore at 28, I am still very much active playing multiple times per week.

Much to the dismay of my wife and my parents, I still do it. It’s an addiction that I just can’t let go of despite how incredibly stupid it is for someone my age to continue because of the risk for injury.

I have more injuries in the last 8 years, than the previous 20.

Separated Shoulder

I didn’t break a bone in my body until I was 20 when I separated my AC joint in my shoulder. That was the last time I played tackle football. I had a bad feeling leaving. I pulled a dick move and left my now wife back at school. We had made plans to watch a movie and I broke those plans because I hadn’t been able to play tackle for a few months. I had a real bad feeling in my gut while driving back home 40 minutes to Destrehan to play.

Sure enough, first play of the game I catch a pass over the middle and cut up field. Someone tackled me from behind and I landed no harder than a had before and CRUNCH. I knew immediately something happened in my shoulder. It was even worse when I felt a knot and realized I couldn’t lift it up very much.

That took me about 4-6 weeks to get the mobility back. However, the strength didn’t come back until I started working out years later. I could throw, but damn it hurt if I tried to throw more than 20-30 yards.

Fastball to the Dome

I played in an adult fast pitch baseball league in the summer of 2015. We were playing in the last game of the season down by a large margin in the playoff. There were two outs and I went up to bat. I was talking shit in the dugout about calling my shot when I got to the plate.

However, I didn’t actually call my shot. One of the stupid unwritten rules of baseball is don’t do it. The baseball gods decided to take matters into their own hands and allowed a fastball to come high and tight. It drifted right into my cheek.

I thought I had a concussion and lost hearing due to the obnoxious ringing I heard as soon as it smashed my face. I just turned around and heard the umpire call if I was ok or needed a runner? I just remember responding, “yeah I am obviously done you idiot.” Luckily no bones broken nor a concussion. But it hurt to eat for about a week and a half. Every time I opened my mouth wide, there was an annoying click.

Never playing fast pitch again.

Torn PCL

I was playing pick up basketball at a local school gym that we get from time to time. I went to drive to the goal and the guy guarding me stuck his knee out (unintentionally) and mine collided with his head on. I thought I was just dead legged. After testing it, I realized it was something more but no biggie. I went home and RICE’d it for the next few days and borrowed a brace.

I never felt a pop or anything so I didn’t worry about how tight it was. I took a week break and tested it out. That was a mistake.

I went into pick up the next week thinking I will just sit in the corner and not try to do too much on it. I did that all night until game point of the last game. My competitiveness got the best of me. I got a ball in the corner and began dribbling to the top to reset and POP. There was an audible pop and I instantly something was messed up.

I didn’t get it looked at right away because it wasn’t locking up and I figured it was a PCL after some self diagnosis. I had gone out for a friend’s birthday and someone fell on it getting out of a car and I felt another pop and crunch. I got it looked at and my PCL was completely torn.

I couldn’t run for 9 months which was absolutely miserable as someone who likes to run and play sports.

Pulled Oblique

I had just started playing basketball again once I recovered from the PCL fully. I had been ok in the league as far as my body goes. Definitely not comfortable playing, but was getting there.

On a bye week, we went to the same gym I tore my PCL and played some pickup. Well, early on I drove inside and I shit you not in the same freaking spot on the court, I pull an oblique and felt a huge pop in my rib or back. I honestly couldn’t tell what the hell it was. That sidelined me for about a month.

Once again, went back and took me forever to get comfortable twisting and turning again.

Headbutt

A few months ago, I was playing basketball in a league game. Once again, my luck of late game injuries continues. I was guarding a guy with less than 30 seconds to go and down by 10. He went to dribble past me, but I held my ground in front of him. He lifted his head and drilled me right above my left eye.

Blood began gushing from it immediately as I ran to the bathroom leaving a trail of blood behind. Got that stitched up and sat out for a week.

Pulled Calf

Although fairly minor, still hindered my ability to run. Two weeks ago, I was playing flag football and scrambled to get yards and I did because I am a G. After picking up the first down, someone came flying in knocking me down and I somehow tweaked the calf. Very minor, but nonetheless still goes on the injury report.

Why Do I Keep Doing This To Myself?

Because until they stop recruiting, I won’t stop playing because that obviously means my professional dreams go out the window.

I just truly enjoy playing sports. It’s not something I am ready to give up. I don’t know that I ever will. I love playing in basketball leagues.

We are just entered our fifth season with most of the same core. After winning only 6 games in 3 years, we finished last season 6-5 and made the final four which was pretty awesome. This season we started with blowout win scoring 51 points.

Sports are a good stress reliever and it is fun to consistently improve. Plus we got a pretty dope group of guys.

I love organizing our pick up flag football games on Sundays. We have the same 8-10 guys each week with others showing up to give us a solid 5v5 or 6v6. Our games are competitive, fun and there is usually some solid banter involved.

It’s laid back and it’s basically beer league flag football. We play for about 2 hours each week. First to 12 touchdowns wins. We take a halftime at first team to score 6 TDs where we drink a beer or two then finish. After the game is over, a few of us hang out and have a few more.

It doesn’t get better than that for a bunch of grown ass men who still cling on the glory of sports.

Of course realistically speaking, you never know who is watching. I mean, I am 28 and can run a sub 6.0 40 yard dash. I can barely get both feet off the ground sometimes when I jump. I have a dad bod. But when you catch game winning touchdowns on 4th down in a tie game on a Hail Mary, all it takes is Mel Kiper to drive through Destrehan and see that happen.

Next thing you know, he’s on ESPN doing my free agent profile…

“Todd Todd Todd Todd Todd Todd Todd! I gotta tell ya. Michael Hotard may not look much on paper but the guy can play. He’s a hell of a Quarterback who can also play receiver in situations. Throw him the ball and he will get it. He manages to win a lot of football games thank to smart play and situational football. On top of that, the guy is a multi sport athlete. He just recently had a great game in the D-/F league in Men’s Basketball going 5-10 from the floor for 12 points, 2 steals, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. The guy just gets it done. He is a good guy who comes from a good family. He loves his mother. Loves his wife and child. Look past the abysmal combine numbers and watch the film. He gets it done. The only concern here is a source (goes by Andrew) close to Hotard tells me ‘he’s got the durability of a funko doll.’ Not exactly sure what that means, but I can assure you Todd that he is a safe pick.”

That’s all it takes and game over. I become a mega star.

 

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