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Getting closer to upright!

As many know, this fall has been a test for me. Shortly after Labor Day, as the emergency room doctor examined my swollen, damaged right foot, I got the word.

“You know you’re not leaving here today, right?”

Oh yeah, I suspected, but hoped otherwise. I left Belton Regional two weeks later “a foot short,” as one of the nurses cracked. And the challenge was on: to make this new predicament work without letting it fundamentally change who I am. That I couldn’t bear. The rest of it? Hey, life happens to everyone, and to be honest, it’s been Laurie who has paid the highest price by absorbing many of my household chores like doing the laundry, cleaning the litter boxes, and walking the dogs (at least the big one). Serving as my chauffeur has been a task she has balked a bit at, and I’ve had to learn her habit of good planning in order to combine trips and maximize efficiency. She’s not running me to the store five times a day, and she’s stuck to that edict.

The trips neither of us particularly mind are those to the repair shop, or as more commonly known, the prosthetic and orthotic clinic known as Hangers.

And last week’s visit brought profoundly good news. While my orthopedic surgeon was steadfast in avoiding predictions regarding the timing of my transition from a wheelchair to upright again, the technicians at Hangers are leaving little doubt that I’m just about there.

Measurements were the main task last week, followed by the process of making a mold of my remaining leg – which will need to handle the task of supporting the prosthetic below.

The process was explained fully, and I was prepared for my task next week, which will be to test the fit and send the part back for adjustments. They warned me to expect several, and to be a perfectionist because the alternative is to experience soreness and possible wounding out in the world.

Overall, the process should put me in the middle of the parallel bars that run the length of the office I have my appointments in. Those bars were something I saw on my first visit and shuddered, thinking how far I must be from that stage of recovery.

And now I’m getting close.

I had a friend message me the other day for an update – one that has seen me regularly on the sidelines of area high school football games and the end line of basketball courts before this year.

It hurt to say I may not get quite to the sidelines in the future. My ability to move quickly may be permanently gone and the last thing I want to be is a safety risk.

But it felt great to say I’m ever so much closer to being upright, and we’ll deal with whatever limitations I’ll have when we get there.

• • •

Last week, just a day or so after the NFL trading deadline, I got a text from an area official tipping me off to what might have been the most bizarre trade proposal I’ve ever heard.

It’s been an open secret that Raymore Mayor Kris Turnbow has had an interest in acquiring for Raymore a strip of land just north of 155th Street – land that currently sits in Kansas City and Jackson County.

The landowner is apparently in favor, and the cherry on top is that it would put the outer limits of Raymore within a half-mile of the proposed landfill. That gives Raymore veto power over the landfill, according to state law, and would put the fiasco to rest permanently (assuming no legal shenanigans).

So Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas comes up with a true hoot of an idea . . . he’d be happy to trade away that piece of land to Raymore for, get this, Loch Lloyd!

City and county officials out this way were leaning toward not giving the idea the benefit of a response, it was so ludicrous.

Because Loch Lloyd is self-governed as a “village,” it is no more vulnerable to takeover than any other property. An annexation vote would have to be approved by both sides, Kansas City and Loch Lloyd.

Imagine that. Citizens of Loch Lloyd voting themselves out of self-established government in order to pay the earnings tax and be dependent on city services provided by Kansas City. You don’t have to imagine too hard to know how that’ll play.

But Cass County North Commissioner Ryan Johnson, the Chiefs Victory Parade in Cass County during COVID guy, who is being primaried by County Clerk Jeff Fletcher in next year’s election, went to KMBC-TV with the story and it became metro news – lending a degree of temporary credibility to what should have been laughed away in a heartbeat.

• • •

So, Bobby Knight left us last week. It was sorely tempting to let the event pass without acknowledgment. His complicated legacy deserves no honor.

As a member of the generation that was most affected by his existence during his prime, however, I believe it is important to remind others of the harm he caused.

Many young coaches in the 1970s witnessed his success on the court and came to believe that his style was required in order to cultivate a winning program. It was enough to see this approach emulated on the college level, but unfortunately, it was most commonly utilized on the high school and even junior high/middle school levels. This was where the least experienced and most impressionable coaches could be found. And it was there that the most vulnerable young student athletes existed. I was absolutely one.

How much misery did Bobby Knight indirectly cause in gyms and on fields across the country? How many kids did Bobby Knight indirectly cause to turn from athletics in disgust? We’ll never know.

I do know I’ve read most major works produced about Knight from both detractors and supporters. Partly because I truly believe as a youngster I was affected by his behavior, even if on a second-hand basis. He did some positive things, and there are those that feel they owe him any successes they’ve had. But his influence at a certain point in our history did something that I don’t believe we will ever allow to happen again. It created, for that brief period, a culture of abuse in youth athletics.

And because of that, his complicated legacy deserves no honor.


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