As if being T-boned two weeks ago wasn’t enough, once again I got dumped playing polo. This time the ball had just been whacked out of my team’s possession and I was glancing around to see whether I should switch to defense or make a play for the ball. But good ol’ Chloe— ex-professional-polo-mare that she is— instantly decided we’d go for the ball. So as we were running in one direction, without a clue from her or cue from me, she slammed her left forefoot into the ground and jerked a 90-degree turn to the right. Instinctively I bent low in the saddle to stay on, but inertia propelled me off her back and head-first into the ground. I hadn’t a chance to tuck-and-roll (an old rugby maneuver that’s left me unscathed through a dozen polo falls in as many years.) What was scary was having to lie paralyzed for 30 seconds, unable to move anything but my right foot. “Well, if that’s working, your spinal cord must be intact,” I reassured myself, “but why can’t you move your torso?” Finally whatever had gripped me released, and I got to my knees, then my feet. My skull seemed fine inside its new safety helmet but the skid lid had apparently transferred the trauma onto my neck. Now pinched nerves there have kept my right arm tingling ever since the incident four hours ago. The good news? The old bodd still responds positively to beer and vicodin! So I’m now sitting at home in a recliner with an ice pack on my neck, feeling no pain and admiring what’s left of a spring-like San Diego day. My mind floats between two thoughts: (1) “How many more falls has your old bodd got left?” and (2) “What’ll you do with this first afternoon in the rest of your life?” Cheers! Art
Using Up My Nine Lives in Polo
Art Campbell’s Non-Blawg contains thought-sprinklings from an aging jock, recovering lawyer, and die-hard poet. Campbell was born in Brooklyn, raised in Appalachia, and scholarshipped to Harvard and Georgetown Universities. Prior to earning his second law degree he was a road-maintenance worker, janitor, boxer, rugby player, and professional musician. He then became a trial lawyer in Washington, D.C.– both for and against the government.
For over 40 years Campbell has been challenged to follow the path of Zen Buddhism through varied venues. Although a full-time law professor at California Western in San Diego, he’s seen his poetry win prizes and publication throughout the United States. Married to best-selling novelist Drusilla Campbell, with whom he’s raised two sons, he now trains two dogs and three horses, and occasionally runs roadraces in southern California.