Tuesday, November 9, 2010 arrived with a clear early morning that promised to become a chilly, sunny, and typically autumn day. I zipped my coat, buckled my helmet strap, unlocked my bike, and headed off to work. A few minutes later, a garbage truck crossed a bike lane to make a right turn. I was in that bike lane. The tires of the truck crushed my left leg and caused other internal injuries. An amazing team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my leg to do so.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Confucius.

In July 2011, I set off to walk a thousand miles as an above-knee amputee in my new prosthesis. The journey has held more twists, turns, and detours than I ever imagined.

I reached Mile 1000 on March 30, 2013.

But of course, that wasn't the end.

I'll keep walking!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bionic Bowling

Mile Marker 870:

Under the neon lights of Lucky Strike Lanes, even gutter balls have glamour.

Our school staff holiday party happens here every year.  But I've been out of the bowling loop for a while.  Since December 2009, to be exact.  That year, I set the school's low score record.  In the first game, I bowled an 8; the second, a 25.

With 2 legs.

This year, I'm back.   And better yet, BIONIC.  Word on the street (started by me, of course) is that I'm going to break my own score barrier.  "With a prosthesis," I joke to my colleagues, "I'll be a better bowler."   And it's a pretty safe bet.   With scores that low, there's nowhere to go but up.

In case you're wondering, my fancy Genium knee does not have a "bowling mode."  Or at least I didn't have the forethought to ask Prosthetist Tim to program one!

Fueling up at Fergie's!
On the last day of school before winter break, the special ed team sets off for a pre-party lunch -- Chase, Corrine, Bethany, Jon and me.  As we walk several blocks from Chestnut to Sansom Street, we realize it's our first true MILE together.

Fergie's Pub is surprisingly crowded for lunch time -- or maybe it's just that we teachers don't get out much!  Either way, if the sweet potato fries are any indication, it's going to be a high-scoring afternoon.

An hour or so later, I fasten my Genium's first pair of bowling shoes.  (Note the kid-style velcro... I may have gotten a new leg, but my feet haven't grown any!)

Other teachers have already started bowling around us.  Among the fluorescent lights and music, Corrine and Bethany type our names into the electronic scorer.

Before I even pick up a bowling ball, I notice how slippery the floors are.  It's like the white soles of the bowling shoes are coated with Vaseline!

Chase hands me a 6-pound ball and spots me as I take my place the head of our lane.  "Don't go past this line," she points.  "It's even more slippery there."

I try imitate the other bowlers -- to get a running start and lunge as I release the ball.  But ask my pals at the rehab gym -- I am not much of a runner or a lunger...

No records yet, but at least
I'm not alone!
After watching me toss the ball into the gutter for several turns, Bethany asks curiously, "Are you looking at the arrows?"  I've deemed her the most professional bowler on our team. (Rumor has it, once she even bowled in a league.)

"Which arrows?" I reply.

She points them out.  And I realize they've been there all the time, about 10 feet from away from me, lined up in V-formation like a flock of birds heading south.

"Aim for the center one," she says.

I do.  And I hit ONE PIN!

Well, a taste of success is all this team needs.  Don't forget, we're teachers.

A frame or two later, Bethany suggests I squat instead of using my awkward, unstable lunge.  "That's supposed to HELP your momentum," she tells me.  But I agree with her.  It's not helping at all.  It's throwing me -- and my ball -- off balance.

Blinkin' lights and all!
Then Chase recommends I stand at the line, rather than attempting a running start.  I follow her lead.  After all, she's earned an honor of her own today -- winner of the school's ugly sweater contest!

In the next few frames, I earn a sprinkling of 3's and 6's.  And then behold, an 8 -- a Christmas miracle!

When 10 frames are over, I've hit my HIGH SCORE record.  A whopping 31.  And to add to the glory, I haven't even come in last!

Still, my colleagues can rest easy this holiday season.  Even as a bionic bowler, I'm not much of a threat.

But watch out everybody.  Practice makes perfect.

My Genium and I will see you next year!


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