Tuesday night – I’m at Brian’s Volleyball game and the place is packed. Our team is playing the cross town rivals, so everyone is here for the big showdown. First game is a tough one, but we pull it out and win by just 2 points. As the team switches sides of the court, the fans in the bleachers switch sides, too. I don’t know how this tradition started, but since everyone else is up and moving, I’m moving with them. Second game, they beat us – but it’s close, and very exciting. In high school varsity volleyball it’s the best of 5 games, so we’re tied now, and we know we’re in it for at least 2 more games. Everyone up, we switch sides again. Third game is a nail-biter, but they beat us again – now we’re the underdog. Stress sets in. Everyone up, we’re switching sides. I’m walking along the bleachers, I like to sit near the top so I can lean on the wall – I’m carrying a big jacket, rainy day today, my purse, and a gift bag for the coach who just had a baby. People are scooting by, finding their way through the crowd to the other side. My foot slips under the bench, on the way down I see stars, hear a crack, and I land splat on my butt. Fellow parents try to lift me up. “Are you okay?” Embarrassed, I say “yes, I’m fine – my foot is stuck, though.” I wedge it out, gather my things, and sit near where I landed. Game #4 starts. My foot begins to throb. I take my shoe off and notice a big lump under my sock. My two feet do not match anymore. I’m starting to plan how I can gracefully exit and not interrupt the game. Recognizing that it is impossible to leave unnoticed I decide to stick it out. Our team wins in overtime – 28-30. As I stand to descend the stairs I realize that my foot cannot take my weight – the pain is too much. So I instead scoot down the seats of the bleachers to the bottom bench. Another mom asks what the heck I’m doing, then gasps when she sees my lumpy sock. She offers to carry me to the car. No, no – it’s not that bad, I protest. I’ve got to wait until the end of game 5, then my son can drive me home. Thankfully game 5 goes to just 15 points. Whoever wins this game wins the whole thing. The other team puts up a fight, but we come out on top. Yay, Lions! The helpful mom flags down Brian for me. I toss my right shoe into his gym bag and he helps me hop out to his car. We head home and I call my husband on the way – be ready, you’ve got to drive me to the ER! Greg brings me out a slice of cold pizza – the soy cheese version I prepared before I left for the game – and I wolf it down in the front seat. It’s still raining. At the hospital we spot a wheelchair. Greg drops me off and I sit and wait while he parks. He comes back and wheels me in. There are a lot of other people waiting, this ER serves a big radius, and I guess at this time of night none of us has any choice but to go there. While we’re waiting one of our Volleyball players comes in – he cut his chin falling on the floor of the gym and needs stitches. Hey, we won, it’s a battle scar! The TV drones on in the waiting room – I notice it’s well into the 9:00 hour – they finally call me for an x-ray. I’m still in the wheelchair and the guy pushes me through the big door. It’s awkward, and painful, getting onto the metal table. The technician is kind, and efficient. He tells me he’s not supposed to say, but yep, it’s broken. Called a “dancer’s fracture” it’s the most common break for women. The 5th metatarsal is the bone that goes from the pinky toe to the ankle, and mine is definitely broken. Back to the waiting room, I give Greg the news. We still have to sit and wait to see a doctor, who will look at the x-ray and tell me the same thing. Eventually I get through that door again, and sit on a gurney in the hall because all of the rooms are full. I’m feeling tired, this is way past my bedtime, and achey. The nice doctor takes a peek, and a poke, looks at the x-ray and confirms it. Time for a splint, and a nurse or assistant, some sweet young girl, fixes me up, brings me crutches and sends me on my way with a phone number to call the orthopaedist in the morning. Back in the car I realize I don’t have my cell phone. Where is it? In a puddle in the parking lot where we found the wheelchair – it must has slipped off of my lap. So much for that battery. The timing is not good for this little mishap. I’ve got a lot of family stuff going on, on top of the usual. But then, when would be a good time? I take this as a life lesson – God telling me to slow down, quit running around so much. And now I have no choice – it’s my right foot, so I can’t even drive. I have a new appreciation for the handicapped bars in bathrooms. I notice when people are kind enough to open a door for me and I’m grateful. I also notice the people who go out of their way to avoid me, maybe they’re afraid that I’ll hit them with a crutch. I’m using muscles I don’t usually use and I’m sore. The crutches hit right at about the bra strap so I have red marks under my arms. And I have bruises on my knees and tailbone where I hit the floor. I’ve never broken a bone before, so this is a new experience. It’s a learning experience, that’s for sure. I’ll live – and I’ll be better for it.