Turns Out the Hip Bone IS Connected to the Knee Bone

Thursday, June 26th, 2008, 5:48 am

About ten years ago I did something to my left hip. Nothing too bad, but bad enough that it’s bothered me from time to time. Right before I left for the Series I was playing volleyball and tried to kick up a ball that was a bit to my left and, my stars, the pain. I knew I’d done something "really bad" but I was still able to walk and skip and sing and figured I’d be fine for seven weeks in Vegas.

For the most part that’s been true. But I’ve spent most of my time here sitting down, sitting for hours and hours on end, and my legs are starting to rebel at all the inactivity. I’ve also been sitting a lot in somewhat odd positions–it seems like everywhere I sit there’s a table leg or support in the way and I’ve spent hours with my legs in a position more apropos for a Hustler centerfold than a responsible poker journalist. Throw in the little blister I got on my pinky toe and I’m pretty much a mess from the hip down.

The other day I left the Amazon Room and was walking down the long hallway leading to the casino when I noticed something. With every other step my left knee was slightly hyperextending when I pushed off. It didn’t hurt, exactly, but I noticed it and was rather fascinated. "Hmm," I said, "that shouldn’t be". My right knee didn’t flex that when I walked, only my left. So I tried to change the way I walked so my left knee would stay at an acute rather than obtuse angle. Changing how you walk ain’t easy, especially if you’ve been doing it a particular way for close to 40 years.

From time to time I’ve forgotten to use my new stride–actually, i’ve only remembered once or twice. And I got a sharp reminder that the problems aren’t going away when I tried to walk out on the floor to let the reporters know we needed chip counts. I walked down Press Row and my left hamstring went "BOING!". Felt like someone had winched it tight, so now I had THREE issues with the ‘ol peg. I’ve actually been stretching every morning before I got to work–flexibility is essential to proper pokerblogging–but I got a haircut this afternoon and wanted to get to the Rio early, so I forgot. Haste apparently makes for pulled hammys. Making matters worse was that I had to walk right past Isabelle Mercier, and at a moment when I needed to march with a stride that was proud, noble, yet aloof, I hobbled by like a broken-down plow horse. Fortunately she didn’t look at me. Or, if she did, she looked past/around/through me. Sigh.

So this is how it’s gonna go, huh? I’m racing headlong toward my 40th birthday and the wheels, if they aren’t quite falling off, are starting to wobble. It’d probably help if I lost 30 or so of the pounds that are wearing me down. I’m sitting here looking out at the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E field and Dario Minieri and Patrick Bueno are getting massages right in front of me. I dunno, I find the idea of poker players getting massages at the table incredibly silly (though you rarely pass by a row of tables where SOMEONE isn’t getting a rubdown) and I guess I’m not all that into massages in general. It’s not that I don’t like being touched (that said, don’t touch me) but even when we were in Vietnam and folks in my group were getting massages at the hotel nearly every day it never occured to me to get one myself. I guess we can blame my general shyness along with my usual wish to not be a bother (not even to a masseuse who’s getting paid) along with a generous dash of self-loathing.

At any rate, my leg hurts. Maybe a good night’s sleep, a hot shower, and 30 minutes of limbering will make it all better. Or maybe I’ll just yank down my jeans, flop down on press row, and have one of the masseuses work her digital magic. Let’s see Isabelle ignore THAT.

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