Monday, November 7, 2011

Tale of the Tape: What Do You Make?

Tale of the Tape: What Do You Make?
by Alyson Gramley

November 7, 2011

Can you believe it's time for basketball season already? I know I can't. Time really does fly when you're having fun...right?! I have attended my first Church of the Hardwood at Sartain of the season. Somehow the effect just isn't the same, but it'll have to do.

This weekend produced a less than desirable outcome for the Men of Troy on the foosball team [ I love calling it that]....but guess what? We're still here. Four more games left and the most important one is the next one. I am disappointed at the cries from fans. These guys work hard day in and day out. It's unfathomable to think every game is a victory and that every loss should result in a call for changes in the lineup or coaching staff.

I'm not here to instigate or prognosticate, just reporting the facts and my opinions thereon. I bleed Trojan colors, not because I HAVE to, but because I want to. Because I see those fellas and gals giving tons of hours and effort in the name of Troy University. And because I care. And I show that in ways most of you will never even think about.

If there aren't many people on the old wagon to start with, you can only imagine how lonely it is when people start jumping off just because we aren't a dead ringer to win a SIXTH conference championship. Five Conference Championships won or shared in the last five years and people are complaining? These boys need our support (just like the basketball team did last year) and if you don't give it, then who will??

Shifting gears a morning drive to school with my daughter (on a day when I actually got to drive her to school) sounded something like this and caused me reason to reflect:

Me: Ok, today is Monday and I'll take you and the boys (carpool) and pick y'all up from school today, tomorrow, and Thursday. Orthodontist on Wednesday - touch and go...looking ahead to Thursday through this weekend, I'll be in Texas. We're going to miss Homecoming with the game time change.
Her: Oh...that's a bummer about Homecoming.
Me: Then I'll be back Saturday and next week seems mild with maybe a home game or two. I'll be in Tennessee next weekend.
Her: Ok...
Me: Then, not sure when your school gets out for Thanksgiving break, but we'll be in Birmingham Tuesday.
Her: Then you'll be in Vay-gas...[rolls her eyes]
Me: Wow! Maryland, Texas, Tennessee, Vegas...all in one month...this really is the LIFE, isn't it?
Her: Suuuurrrrre it is...

She's well-adjusted, or as much as possible. Growing up-literally- in the Athletic Training Room has a profound effect on people. I think I've done a LOT of growing up here, as well.

Week in and week out, whether the weekends bring wins or losses, the individuals of the Athletic Training staff are the voice of reason in a somtimes unreasonable world. Although some see it as 'just a game', it is truly our calling. I was reminded of this when I saw a Facebook post from one of our alums. I don't usually repost things, but couldn't resist this time. (Thanks, Kara!)

"Oh, you're a Trainer??"
No, I'm an ATHLETIC TRAINER, not a trainer.
"Oh, that's cool. I wanted to do that. What do you make?"
I make an ankle sprain that some say should take four weeks to get your athlete back on the field, playable in a week.
I can make wearing a fanny pack and driving a golf cart with lights look cool.
I can devise a rehab program after your total knee replacement so you can run in that marathon you've always dreamed of.
I can tape an ankle before you can miss 2 minutes of play.
I can make saving your child's life easier by explaining that "getting your bell rung" isn't normal, it can be deadly.
I can help you and your child survive a heart attack.
I can look at an athlete's pee and tell them how much water to drink.
I can make an athlete bigger, faster, and better.
I can translate "doctorese" from "torn anterior talofibular ligament" into ankle sprain.
I went to college to EARN A DEGREE in more than just "water girl" but also injury prevention, evaluation, rehabilitation, administration, and overall problem listening (and solving).
I do it all because I love my athletes and my profession. Today I might ice your knee, tomorrow I might save your life.
I hope I make a difference, what do you make?

Choose to be a difference maker!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tale of the Tape: What is the Recipe for Success?

Tale of the Tape - What is the Recipe for Success?
by Alyson Gramley, ATC
November 2, 2011

It's time to play basketball!! YAY! Or, in my case, watch other people play basketball!! I've been getting a little football action in every once in a while, but have almost officially made the transition. I'll be making the trip to the Naval Academy and I am waaaaayyyy beyond excited about that! I'll have to dedicate a blog to that adventure upon our return.

Men's Basketball has been practicing for a month now already...time FLIES when you're having fun...and all those hours in the A1 seat of Sartain cause me to ponder. My original thought for this blog [that has been circulating for about a month now, thanks for reminding me, Constable Wayne Floyd] was something By-the-Numbers. Somewhere between random numbers and their significance in my world and those paint-by-number horses my parents used to buy me in hopes I would be a Renaissance artist. You can obviously see that didn't work out quite like we'd hoped...

Another avenue I contemplated was the "Recipe for Success" which brings to mind all the cupcakes and sweet treats I like bake in my spare time. I'll try to combine the two as I type and see where it takes us. After all, this is a JOURNEY. Right? goes with the random numbers and hopefully along the way, I'll reveal some insight to this crazy life:

11/2/1955 - the day a "simple man" was put on this green mass, 56 years ago! We've been trying to chase Chuck Ash (THE Head Athletic Trainer, father figure, mentor, pain in the derriere sometimes, but all-around Best Boss in the Whole Wide World) into the cold whirlpool all morning. It was a "trainer" tradition back in the 'ol days' when you made another trip around the sun that you came to work and somewhere along the day were tempted into the wet area for your annual dousing. We are afraid to do that now, partially because the whirlpools are in a raised area and partially because we think Chuck might break a hip...Happy Birthday, Boss, a.k.a.Chucky-Fresh, the Diesel, Master Healer and whatever else might slip out in the trenches! I want to be just like you when I grow up!

8/1/1994 - approximate day I met Chuck life has forever been changed! I'm sure many of you feel the same way. Dang! I get all teary just thinking about it...teary about how he's changed my life, not necessarily regarding the first day I was acquainted with him. Although, I bet he's made THAT sort of impression on some people as well.

8 - not only is this my favorite number, jersey number during my Most Athletic career at Walton Senior High School in DeFuniak Springs, FL, but it also represents the beginning of another season for me as an assistant here...8 seasons of Men's Basketball and various other mixtures of volleyball, high school outreach, and football round out the resume thus far. Eight could also represent the numbers of wins in last year's basketball season...we are definitely hoping to improve on that a bit this go 'round.

2 - number of weeks I spend a season sitting in seat A1 in Sartain watching basketball practice. That's 14 DAYS a year, which would mean in the last 7 years, I have spent roughly 98 days, 14 weeks, just a smidge over 3 months, of my entire life sitting in the gym...can't think of words to accurately explain this phenomenon...

220 - number of DOZENS of cupcakes it takes to get to Italy...

2640 - that's a lot of cupcakes! I started baking in February to raise the money for our mission adventure to Italy. {Italy is having a revival of sorts and we were the special music for a 2 week stint} That only represents cupcakes SOLD, not those eaten personally or given away to willing taste-testers...Baking is therapy at its best, for me. You see, I am a 'do-er' and like to see people smile. Now, don't get me wrong, making cupcakes in the wee hours of the morning and then frosting can get a little whacko at our house. At least it smells good, right, Meres?!

448 - number of current student-athletes on our rosters between 18 sports, including Football, Baseball, Softball, Soccer, Men's & Women's Basketball, Men's & Women's Tennis, Men's & Women's Golf, Volleyball, Rodeo and Cheerleading and all the Tracks (indoor, outdoor, cross country, field events). I think....

4 - number of full time Athletic Trainers, all of which are Troy Alumni and have been working here for a combination of about 60 years of uninterrupted, quality service. As different as we may all be as individuals, we make it work on the 2nd floor of the Stadium Tower! Don't ever doubt that oil and vinegar won't mix (at least for a few minutes under proper environmental conditions). At the very least they make a very good salad dressing pair. :)

4 - also the number of athletic trainers that have covered Men's Basketball under Coaches Don Maestri and David Felix: Chuck Ash; Jon Adams, PA-C, ATC; Bobby Templin; me

7 -part time Athletic Trainers on staff that fill all the gaps. I have tried to think of an appropriate analogy for them, but words are not sufficient. They do all the things we can't or don't want to do in the name of 'experience.' Hope that works out for them...I have a feeling it will.

748 - injuries sustained by football players last year, ranging from hangnail to torn ACL. Oh wait...we didn't have any ACL tears last year! NONE! Almost unheard of, to make it through fall and spring football seasons without the ACL tear amongst the boys. We think it's the shoes...a topic for another blog....

603 - injuries sustained by athletes in all other sports combined, not including football, last year...I won't elaborate on this too much because I don't want to get myself in trouble...plainly stated, over 1,351 times individual student-athletes needed the care of our staff in some form or fashion.

I think that may be enough for now. Mostly because I have to go spend some time imparting knowledge to some Athletic Trainers in Training. If any point can be made from all these random numbers, I'll make one...consistency and stability are key to success, but don't always do the job.

You have to have the basics, like flour and sugar and eggs. Strong go-to's that you always use, regardless of the flavor desired. Too much or too little of these and you'll have a batch for the garbage dispos-all! Throw in a little sweet and salty and a pinch of the unexpected and you COULD have a great treat. Bake it too long or not enough and your end product will be unpalatable.

My end thought is this...sometimes you can mix it all up, just like the recipe says, with the best ingredients and an expert baker, and it still comes out wrong. No matter how many times the cook has done it before...think about that!

See you on the sidelines at Navy!!!
and for good measure, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Chuckles!