The worst thing about getting older is just how quickly it creeps up on you.
Slowly, slowly, slowly, then plow, you get injured by a Nintendo Wii.
That was the case for me last week.
My wife, Nichole, and I ventured to Minneapolis to visit family and the weekend was one incredibly embarrassing video game injury after another.
There were so many -itis and strain-related injuries that even the mere thought of how much laughter that must generate gives me a stomach cramp. Oops, add that one to the list of injuries.
First, the family tried Wii bowling.
My 5-year-old nephew, B.J., started hammering down pins left and right, so, of course, uncle had to keep pace. If you haven't played the Wii, it uses motion detection devices as controllers so the movements in the game mimic the movements in your arms or legs.
It is pretty simple on the surface, but the console makes sure that little mistakes are highlighted in the game. Too much spin causes the ball to roll past the pins and into the gutter. Same with too little speed. The biggest thing is you basically have to stand up and swing - with full backswings as well - to get the ball rolling correctly. Sure enough, my mother-in-law, Jane, was the first to smack the controller on the side of the chair. I can't believe we didn't damage something other than our respective prides.
But here we were, two 30-somethings, a 5-year-old and my 29-year-old and holding mother-in-law swinging our arms back and forth in the living room. It doesn't take too much thought to know who the eventual winner was in that group.
I think my average on Wii bowling was much like my average in regular bowling. A decent score on the first game, not as good on the second and breaking 100 seems like a moral victory in the third.
The biggest thing is you have to twist your wrist on each throw. So now the rotator cuff is a mess in my right arm. Wii-itis in my rotator cuff. I think its called Tommy John Surgery when major league pitchers have the operation. I am hoping Michael Linnell Surgery will catch on with the Wii crowd.
We then moved on to shuffle board. That's curling without ice for us northerners.
The motion is pretty much the same as bowling but much more precise and slow. Push straight out, not too hard or the disc will fly off the back of the board, with a little back swing. Thank goodness you can sit for this one or the hamstrings could have been on the injury list.
But the motion is so precise that the shoulder tenses up throughout the motion. Now it is the shoulder blade that is in trouble. Wii-strain in the deltoid. That puts me on the disabled list for 2-4 weeks. Now that I am reporting on it, can I take Workers' comp for that?
From there it was darts. The darts game is like the shuffle board, only overhand, not underhand. A small, sharp, quick jabbing motion with the arm cocked at a 45 degree angle should mangle the rest of the muscles and tendons I have left up there. Now its the trapezius that is in trouble. Wii-strain in the trap actually might be the name of a college rock band.
Finally, we move on to tennis. I am actually pretty good at tennis because there is little lateral movement like in actual tennis. Plus - and I have no idea how I figured it out or what I was exactly doing to get it done - I learned the super serve that was nearly unreturnable. The super serve led to a super inflamed elbow. You guessed it, Wii-tennis elbow-itis. I think adding itis to anything makes it a better injury.
We didn't even try the Wii Yoga. Could you imagine what all we would have strained, pulled, tweaked or torn doing that.
I ended up getting hurt more frequently from the Wii over the first two days than I did from sledding down a fairly steep hill the third and fourth day.
We probably went sledding to avoid any further injury.
(Michael Linnell is the Sports Editor for the Minot Daily News. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)