Tennis teams -- Pendejos

Beer over knees

Sometimes life forces hard choices; some choices are easy.

The MRI says my knees have been riddled with arthritis for more than 8 years. I’ve tried all kinds of tricks and spent all kinds of money to make them work better.

  • Pre-game with Advil and Tylenol together
  • Slather them with Ibuprofen creams
  • Cover them in CBD salves ($100 an ounce)
  • Heat before; Ice after
  • Buy every kind of knee brace known to man ($10-$100 each)
  • Inject them with bacteria to force “healing inflammation” ($700 each)
  • Inject them with my own blood platelets to improve blood flow ($1000 each)
  • Shave the meniscus ($5000)
  • Inject with cortisone to kill the swelling and cover up the pain ($200 each)

All of it has worked or (mostly not worked) to a degree. I just have to play less tennis. I can’t play singles anymore. In doubles I’m on a step count — in any one point it’s no more than 2 steps in one direction. There’s no turning back. Stopping and changing direction equals pain and swelling.

Don’t move my feet when I can just lean and slap. Makes for shitty shots, but comfy knees.

I play the score. Only “run” on game points or a set point. Like an alcoholic who’s half on the wagon, I’m down to no more than 2 matches a week.

Knees over toes

But of all the things I have tried in the last 8 years, what has “worked” is a set of free YouTube videos for “knees over toes“. It’s crazy-ass looking exercises, but they have versions that even a broken down, old, fat man can do.

It’s stretching and strengthening in ways that seem stupid at first. Walk backward uphill. Squat down like a baseball catcher and hold it for 30 seconds. Sit on the ground and lift your straight leg over and around a set of beer bottles…

Sure… she’s at a gym lifting her leg over a kettle-bell, but you can lift over a beer bottle in your living room just as well…

Unfortunately, it’s not a fucking cure. My knees are not bulletproof (as promised in the first video). But they no longer ache at night. They don’t click and clack as much in the morning. I can bend my knees and serve for 3 full sets without crying.

But like Alzheimers, it’s good days/bad days.

On a good day, I can cover one drop shot per set. On bad days, I can only hit shots sent directly to my racquet and not straight at me or more than one step away. Bad days, I don’t want to play, I just want to go home. I never know what kind of day it will be until we get halfway into the first set.

A few weeks ago, I had 3 bad days in a row.

I told the wife: “I’m thinking about doing the knee replacements. This starting to really suck.”

“You should lose 50 pounds first — then see how your knees feel.”

You know my knees are starting to feel better already — pass that chocolate cake over here.

The first thing all those diets say is get rid of the alcohol. But the booze often glosses over the pain (same thing Advil or opioids do…)

When I told this story to my friend Wolf, he asked, “would you give up beer for better knees?”

Why would I start by making my knees and my attitude worse?

For now, I’ll keep trying the knees over toes, but for me it will always be Beer over Knees.

And like Alzheimer’s, eventually the arthritis will win, and I’ll end up with replacements (no matter what I weigh). I know the exercises have a time-limit too, but in the meantime, I’ll play just a little tennis, and stay just a little buzzed. See how “happy” it makes me…

10 replies »

  1. Alcohol is poison. See what it’s done to your knees? But at least there’s knee replacement surgery. When the time comes, I hope it goes well. I understand it can be very painful, with a long recovery period.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t done half the stuff you have – except drink beer – and I can still move 2 and a half steps for the tennis ball. That is, except on the days I’m forced to play statue tennis. Which is every other day. I (we) am obviously just delaying the inevitable. Doc says my knee is ready for replacement when I am. Let’s not talk about going down stairs. Don’t know how you bike.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You don’t have to lord your 1/2 step better than me movement.. But that’s ok — 200 years ago, most people our age with these knees were either confined to a chair or dead. So I guess we should be grateful for orthopedic surgery.


  2. I had a knee replacement last year. Totally worth it, wish I hadn’t suffered with it for 3 years before I did it. It was probably a little easier for me because I have hypermobile joints but it is about time they did something besides injuring me.

    Liked by 1 person

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