The Cornhole Perspective

The Cornhole Perspective

 

cornhole

 

Over the last decade, Cornhole has become a widely popular yard game played by folks young and old alike.

 

The premise of Cornhole is tossing little bags filled with corn ( I presume) through a hole in a slightly slanted board placed some 20 feet away.

 

Despite Cornhole’s popularity, this Odd Sock had never played before—that is, till last week.

 

My Odd Sock with Cornhole bags.
My Odd Sock with Cornhole bags.

 

 

And little did I know this hokey game would help me gain a bit more insight to my multiple sclerosis.

 

 

 

Flashback to my childhood.  Games involving throwing an object were right up my alley!

Throwing a football, a snowball, skipping rocks on water, bowling, darts—those games came easy to me.

As a pumpkin-headed Little League pitcher, I didn’t have great speed, but I had decent accuracy (except for the game I beaned Terry Kah three times!  When he stepped into the batter’s box for his next at-bat, he was shaking so badly he could hardly hold the bat!).

Needless to say, I could always toss or throw something with confidence.  So when I was invited to play Cornhole—I was thrilled!

“I’m dead-on games like this” I said proudly.

 

I got out of my wheelchair…and standing with my cane, I took my position.

My first bag…knees slightly bent.  I stepped—tossed—followed thru…and proceeded to lose my balance and did a faceplant into the grass.

Next toss….same thing.  $&%#@!

After being helped up,  friends positioned my wheelchair in front of me to help with my balance.

 

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Third toss….better.  But I still stumbled like someone drinking a 12 pak of Coors.  %$@#&!

 

 

With my next 20 tosses, my bags barely reached the Cornhole board. 

I was spitting frustration, demoralized and broken.

How could I suck so badly at something I was once so good at?

Sensing ill feelings, I was asked if I was OK. 

“I’m fine” I responded (lying through my teeth).

 

Comparing myself to other socks.
Comparing myself to other socks.

 

Later, I confessed my anger to a family member.  She told me I shouldn’t compare myself to what I use to be.  And I also shouldn’t compare myself to others without MS.

She said the only comparison I could make is with others who have had progressive multiple sclerosis for 14 years.

 

I let that thought sink in.

 

Then, a dimly-lit 20 watt light bulb went on in my 110 watt head.

I realized I can’t (and if you have MS–you can’t) compare myself to others or to a personal past.  I really don’t even like to compare myself to others with progressive MS—because we’re all so different.

I guess I found it interesting that the silly yard game, Cornhole, gave me some new perspective of MS.

Have you had similar eye-openers?  Tell me about your experiences.

They say inspiration can come from the simplest of sources.  I just wonder what perspective I could gain from playing a game of Jarts (lawn darts)?  Who wants to join me?

sock

9 Replies to “The Cornhole Perspective”

  1. I admire your tenacity! I would have quit after the first fall! You’re so right, though, that we just can’t compare ourselves to others — we’re all so different.
    Peace,
    Muff

  2. Sometimes you can do your best to not compare yourself to your former self, or to others, but other people are somehow willing to jump in and do it for you. Three weeks ago, I participated in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C.
    Whereas you were a natural with the whole hand-eye-throwing thing, I was not (once, when Mom was up on the roof caulking a leak, she dropped her putty knife, and before she realized it was me walking by, hollered “Hey, throw that back up here.” I dutifully complied before the words “No, don’t” had left her lips, and I threw it straight through the large picture window I was standing in front of). So, I stuck to less coordination-requiring activities, like track and cross-country. I was as slow as molasses in January, but as I kept increasing the distance, people were impressed. When I told them how many hours it took me, they were even more impressed. “Why didn’t you just go home?”
    So, eventually I started running marathons. It was after about 5 years of RRMS that I started, and it led me to a “Ha-ha – I’ve beat this disease” mentality. I didn’t need drugs or MRI’s or neurologists or any of it! You can probably guess where this story is headed, but it took me hitting my head on the sidewalk and street a few times before I realized that I was wrong. After a few months of Tysabri, I got back on my feet, but I had to walk with a cane to keep my head off the ground. As the summer progressed and Oct. 31 approached, I was walking better and better, but I tried to come up with every excuse not to go to Washington. Eventually my Zoloft won out (Psychiatrists Rock!), and I decided that yes, I CAN go and I CAN do it, even if it’s not as good as I had done before.
    I had trained to walk the marathon, but that morning, I couldn’t resist the urge to run with everyone else, at least for the first hour. I was on a 5 mile per hour pace – just smoking for me. Then hour two passed, and I had gone another 3 miles, hours 3 and 4 passed, and I had gone another mile or so…
    I was still thinking to myself “At least you showed up and you’re doing this.” Just about then, a group of young women who had just completed the 10k run (also taking place on that day) walked past. One of them said to the others, in a voice just loud enough for me to hear clearly, “I would NEVER sign up for an event that I wasn’t trained for and was all out of shape for.”
    My first urge was to break into a run and go knock her down, but the thought of assault and battery charges, not to mention the fact that there was no energy to break into a run with, made me decide to focus and continue on my course.
    Well, Washington is a busy place, with that government stuff and all, so by the time I got to mile 17 & 1/2, they had opened the bridge in front of me back up to traffic, so I wasn’t allowed to cross. I had to take a bus around it, and that meant I didn’t complete the whole 26.2 miles, so no marathon medal. As we were driving the 16 hours home, I realized that I’ll have to go back next year and try it again.
    And if I see that girl again, maybe I’ll make some kind of cutting remark to her. Then again, maybe I won’t, because I AM still better than that.

  3. Since MS has nearly ruined my hand eye coordination I go into games with the attitude that I may suck at the sport but I will still have fun and that usually includes laughing at myself. This past weekend I went bowling and even using the “bumpers” on my lane I only bowled a 75. But I took great joy and there were high fives all around when I knowed down 9 pins with 1 ball. No skill, just luck…and a sense of humor.

Making it official.