The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.
Let's talk football for a moment... the North American type.
When the day comes for you to hang up the pads (and it always does), the next day you sign up to play "touch football". Touch football tends to embrace all the same rules as tackle football, minus the teeth rattling hits... well, in theory. I've played touch football for decades and always come back to one game that will stand out among the countless games I've played. The game went something like this.
The first game of the season was perfect... partly cloudy and crisp, with just a little wind. My defensive play was solid, particularly for the first game; as I leaped for an under thrown ball and saw my first interception of the season, "something went wrong".
What happened next is a recount from memory, and what my teammates told me after the fact.
The receiver, with an eye on that under thrown ball I spoke of, charged back with the intent to, at the very least, prevent the interception. The collision between our two bodies was "dramatic" and I was knocked back towards the ground with my right arm extended. As I watching myself hit the ground, the receiver proceeded to fall on me.
With the sound of whistles and players surrounding me, I clutched my right shoulder trying to become as small as possible to deal with the pain. Over the next ten minutes as I wrestled to get off the field, three classic "dumb ass" characteristics of being a guy were observed.
Number One: As I lay on the ground fighting the pain and trying to understand my situation, someone came up and said, "That was a great defensive play man!" To this day, the comment and recognition is greatly appreciated.
Number Two: Somewhere in my mental haze I got it into my head that my shoulder was dislocated and there were at least two attempts where we tried to "pop" my shoulder back into place; just like in the movies. This of course was to no avail as my shoulder was very broken.
Number Three: When I was able to stand and slowly make my way off the field (dropping to one knee a number of times I might add), all I kept saying to myself was, "Whatever you do, don't cry".
X-rays revealed a rather bad break at the top of the humorous, and as I got used to the immobilizing sling I would wear for the next six weeks, I called my sister to ask if she could pick me up at the hospital. She said she would and I waited.
As we left the hospital, we laughed at the sight of the two of us... me with my newly minted broken shoulder, and her with a problematic knee that now had her using a cane. I realize now that this was the last time were really laughed.
Three days later my sister stood up at work and her femur snapped.
Her stage four lung cancer had led to secondary bone cancer, which was so aggressive, it had weakened the bone to a point the femur could not support her own weight. My sister endured two leg surgeries, never got out of bed, had one round of chemotherapy that almost killed her, and fought every day for seven months, until on a cold February night, the cancer finally took everything away from her and she passed away.
In those seven month my sister became my hero.
November is coming, and thanks to a pair of Australians, is affectionately becoming known as Movemeber; a month where men grow facial hair and formally support prostate cancer, as well as cancer awareness in general. My sister's situation is not unique... just ask around. You can always find someone who has a story about how this disease took everything away from someone.
Battling cancer is about awareness, early detection and support. So gentlemen, with that said, please support the battle to beat cancer in our lifetime. Take advantage of the various facial hair styles available to you.
And ladies... for the gentlemen in your life, remember they sometimes just can't help being "dumb asses", so please encourage them to get regular checkups. And while you are at it, could you also encourage them to grow a little facial hair and spread the word that cancer touches all of us.
We can beat it.