Pole pas de deux

Pole pas de deux

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Injuries are part of the territory if you dare venture off the living room couch. Some are harder than others and the sitting around and waiting for them to heal can be agonizing. Then there are the more severe injuries that you may never recover from and the limitations that they can place on the activities you love. I'm dealing with one of those types of injuries right now.

On August 10th of this year I was playing ice hockey and I had a sure breakaway if could win that race to the puck. I was there and then there was this huge pain in my right adductor. I limped off the ice after kneeling for a good five minutes. I haven't skated since. One of the most common injuries in ice hockey is the "groin pull".

Yes it is common but working on splits for pole dance had broken up the scar tissue from the previous times I had this injury. I haven't had to deal with that particular tear for three years now. I was supposed to dance the following day. I haven't ever canceled a pole dance lesson. I canceled. I could barely walk for three days. When I finally visited the doctor the bruising and bleeding along the muscle were obvious. It would be two weeks before I would even be allowed to start physical therapy. Saturday the 13th was ballet class. They say the first thing a ballet dancer thinks when they get up is, "Can I plié?" I couldn't. I could barely pull my right leg into first position.

Frustration, anger and another canceled class. The only thing that was good about the whole ordeal is that both hockey and dance people understood the injury. The stretches for my splits were going so well. My jade was getting better. My lines were getting longer. Who says a guy can't look good in a splay?

So I sat on YouTube and watched others dance, drank wine, changed the ice bag, limped into the gym, worked the abs and upper body.  I also read every webpage I could find on groin muscle injures. They figure mine was a 2+. Not severe enough for surgery and like MCL injuries docs just leave them alone and hope they heal.

You don't know how much an activity means to you until its taken away. I ended up second guessing myself wondering why I was playing so hard in a pickup game. The answer was simple and I knew it. You don't ask your body if it can make the move. After forty-one years of ice hockey you just do it. There is no thinking about it. You move. It was the muscle that said, "No way, I can't do it for you."

Just before the wine drinking and sitting around put five pounds on my ass I finally got to start physical therapy. In fact my weight had dropped while I was moping. I've been through the drill before. Ultrasound, massage, gentle stretching, and exercises followed by more ice. Last week I figured that I had enough. I had to try something so I packed my ballet stuff in the car and left for physical therapy. If I got the ok, I would try to dance.

I got lucky and I was cleared to dance with limits. I was warned to stay away from anything explosive which meant no jumping, or turning and no frappé. (No frappé... breaks my heart. I hate that move) Even with all the limits it felt so good to move. I almost made it through the entire class with no stress. Finally, after five or so minutes of combinations that used balancé and pas de bourrée I knew I was pushing too much and quit. Still I was happy to stand at the barre until reverence. Last Saturday I danced again with the same limits.

They say that this injury takes four to six weeks to heal maybe longer. I'm at week five, testing it and praying. Earlier this week I got brave and/or stupid and scheduled a pole dance lesson. I'm more worried about losing pole dance than ballet. There isn't much you can do without an adductor in pole dance. So many things depend on being able to pull your leg into the pole. Climbs, weak side inverts, layouts, turns all use that muscle.

I remember my first hockey game after I had my knee scoped. I was so afraid of contact. The first time I got dumped on my ass I was so worried that I wasn't going to be able to get up. I feel like that now. I don't want to dance. I need to dance.

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