This Dad has worked 2 days without a lost time accident. The best previous record was 1,427 days.

Being a Dad can be physically punishing, because when dads play with their kids they often can’t help but turn into crazy little boys themselves. My Dad, I remember, spent many a Sunday afternoon moaning on the couch after pulling something while fooling around with my sister and me. Even professional athletes aren’t immune to this phenomenon – New York Yankees’ pitcher Joba Chamberlain has missed the entire season thus far after injuring his ankle while fooling around with his son. I used to laugh at other Dads who limped around with an ice pack and bottle of Advil after playing with their kids, but not anymore. I lost that right this weekend.

attacking the giant
Acting like a moron with the kids

As Heather mentioned yesterday, we watched our nephews and niece this weekend while my sister and her husband were out of town, and when I got out of the car at their house this dumbass was blissfully unaware of the sad fate that awaited him.

While Annie, Michaela, and Heather went upstairs to play in Michaela’s room, I took the Spencer, 7, and Danny, 5, into the backyard to play. We shot some hoops until I noticed an old fashioned red rubber ball in the corner.

“Whoa!” I exclaimed as I ran over and lifted it. “We used to play with a ball just like this in grade school!”

“What’d you play?” Spencer asked. “Kickball?”

“That and this game we made up where one guy threw the ball as high into the air as he possibly could, and if the other guy couldn’t catch it when it came down, you got a point.”

“Can we play?” Danny said.

“Oh, it is on, little man. It is on like Donkey Kong,” I said with perhaps too much gusto for speaking to a five-year-old.

For the next few minutes I hurled the ball skyward as hard as I could, and the boys oohed and aahed like they were watching an Olympic athlete.


“I bet no ball has ever been thrown that high before,” Spencer said matter-of-factly. “Not even once.”

“Oh, you think that’s high?” I said feeling like Mr. Cool. “Check this out!”

I spun around like I was preparing to throw a shot put and rocketed the red rubber ball toward the sky with an eardrum piercing grunt. As the boys cheered, Heather opened an upstairs window.

“You forget about your shoulder, Mike?”

“I’m fine, Heather,” I said with an embarrassed look at the boys.

“Really? Because last month you whined that you probably needed rotator cuff surgery.”

I laughed this off like Heather was crazy, then hurled the ball highest yet. Heather sighed and closed the window.

The next morning I woke up and felt like an elephant was sitting on my arm. I was mystified until I remembered throwing the ball into the air. Of course, despite feeling like an idiot, I could not let Heather know that I’d destroyed my shoulder any more than Ralphie could let his mother know how he broke his glasses in A Christmas Story. Unfortunately for me, Heather caught me choking down Advil with my pancakes.

“Let me guess,” she said. “Shoulder?”

“What? Of course not.”

“Then you wouldn’t mind throwing the ball in the air with the boys before we leave. Spencer! Danny! What do you say–”

I grabbed Heather’s arm, desperate. “If you have a soul, I beg of you. Do not finish that sentence.”

“That’s what I thought,” she said.

It is now two days later and my left shoulder is still barking as I write this. Hopefully by the time Annie is old enough to play ball I will be a little less of a moron or else I’m in trouble.

What is the deal with Dads acting like wild men when they play with kids? Seriously, what is wrong with us?