Sometimes a concussion is just the thing a man needs
Concussions are much in the news as more and more professional athletes are facing up to the consequences of multiple concussions. Like the media’s coverage of politics, however, the reporting is one-sided in focusing only on the negative consequences.
There is, however, another side of story: The benefits of concussions. Multiple concussions changed my life for the better.
At the age of 20 I was a mess academically.
I was attending Wheaton College and majoring in ice hockey.
Who in their right mind would go to an expensive liberal arts college in Illinois to major in hockey? (To fill out our varsity roster we recruited a student from Miami who had never skated before.)
No one would, especially if the college didn’t have an ice hockey major.
Wheaton didn’t even off academic credit for hockey. But somehow I missed that.
There were a lot of things I missed.
Freshman year I enrolled in an “Introduction to Biology” course that was limited to pre-medical students. I overlooked that caveat.
If the professor told us on the first that we had to learn the Latin names for every part of a flower, I didn’t hear it. Because I wasn’t there.
I didn’t attend class during the first few weeks of the semester because it was getting in the way of my hockey major.
But I clearly remember the moment that I received my mid-term exam in biology. The only thing I knew was that I didn’t know any of the answers. And I was right. I failed the mid-term.
I got myself a tutor, but we were unable to do a mind-meld. I failed the final. I failed every lab exam for the semesters, including the labs I actually attended. I also failed to drop the class with no penalty when given the chance. Everything about that class is summed in my final grade: F.
My sophomore year wasn’t much better. In the spring I was taking a politics course, and when hockey season was over I assumed school was over. I quit going to class. I didn’t take the final, and imagine my surprise when I got my report card and my final grade was an F. Imagine my professor’s surprise when I confronted him in protest saying that the mid-term exam should have counted for something. I had forgotten I failed it.
At the age of 20 I was also a mess relationally.
The words “socially awkward” wouldn’t do justice to describe my interactions with college women. I consistently misread the social signals being given to me. I remember the moment I decided to ask Debbie Davis to go with me to the Hockey Banquet. It was the final exam for ice hockey and we were required to bring a date. Debbie was from Tennessee. She was pretty, nice, and had a Southern accent that melted me. Every time we spoke, actually, the only time we spoke, she smiled at me. That convinced me that she wanted to marry me. So when I finally got up the courage to ask her to accompany me to the final exam banquet, imagine how I felt when she looked at me in the eyes, and in the kindest way said, “No, thank you.”
Since she went on to marry Michael W. Smith, the contemporary Christian recording artist, she didn’t need a concussion.
I did. I just didn’t know it.
When I enrolled at Wheaton for my junior year, I was informed by my academic advisor that I could no longer continue at Wheaton in an “undeclared” status in relation to my major. It was then I discovered I had a problem. There was no hockey major.
Rev. Dale S. Kuehne, Ph.D. is the author of “Sex and the iWorld. Rethinking relationship beyond the age of Individualism.” He is the Richard L. Bready Chair of Ethics, Economics, and the Common Good and founding director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. He serves as pastor of Emmanuel Covenant Church in Nashua, NH and is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.
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