01.18.07

Okay. So last night, Dennis Rodman. You know the guy, tattoo'd NBA basketball star and beloved media personality. Dennis Rodman saw my wife get hauled off on a stretcher and into an ambulance.

Let me explain.

First, it should be said that Melissa is okay. She's sleeping right now, under the influence of pain killers and muscle relaxers. Nothing is broken, and it turns out the ambulance was a necessary precaution, but ultimately unnecessary.

As many of you know, Melissa skates for the Dallas Derby Devils. She loves roller derby, and is quite good. For the past month, the Derby Devils have been involved in a new reality show, exclusive to HD television, called "From Geek to Freak with Dennis Rodman" (promo). Basic premise: This girl, a geek, is transformed into a freak. Hence, the name of the show. In one episode, the girl joins the Dallas Derby Devils, trains with them and plays in one of their bouts, which is this Saturday (flier). They had practice last night. The geek-girl got hurt during the scrimmage. The camera crew jumped in, getting every angle. They took reaction shots, well after the fact, to be edited in later. They even gave the Derby Devils scripted lines, such as "That's derby." Which the derby girls refused to deliver. Turns out the geek-girl was fine, nothing major, suck it up and move on. However, later in the practice, unintentionally, Melissa upstaged the geek-girl.

During Melissa's jam, that means she was the point-scorer, she was fouled from behind. While the details are a little sketchy, she went head first into the track. Thank god for helmets. Melissa felt a sharp pain in her neck. One of the girls was a licensed EMT, and didn't want her to move. An ambulance was called. I was called. And Melissa was taken to the emergency room. The whole time the cameras were rolling.

When I arrived at the hospital, Melissa was there in one of the rooms with a lovely neck brace, and staring at the ceiling. She got a CAT scan. The doctor determined nothing was broken or fractured. The official report:

NECK INJURY (CERVICAL STRAIN): You have a neck strain. This is an injury to the muscles and ligaments in the neck. There is no evidence of a fracture of the neck bones. Also, no injury to the spinal cord or nerve roots was detected.

Melissa was given a prescription, and was able to walk out of the emergency room. We were home at around midnight. Melissa's friend Aimee stayed at our house with Kennedy, so I could go to the hospital. Aimee can probably relate to the situation, since her husband is a pro skate boarder. I'm sure he's had a fair share of emergency room injuries.

While we were in the room, waiting for the CAT scan, I asked Melissa about the girl who fouled her. There's no ill will, no hard feelings. A friend of Melissa's, who she just loves, and still does. Melissa was very matter-of-fact. "These things happen." The girl felt bad, and Melissa felt bad that she felt bad. It was an accident. Mostly, Melissa was most disappointed she won't be able to skate on Saturday.

We then pondered what would be done with the ambulance footage in regards to the reality show. Certainly, it wouldn't be discarded? Melissa predicts, and I agree, that it'll probably be edited to imply the ambulance was called for the geek-girl and not Melissa. Figures.

A year ago, when Melissa first considered roller derby try-outs, she was wondering whether or not she should do it. My answer was, "You won't know until your first big injury, when you get hurt real bad. If at that moment you still want to skate, then you were meant to do it." Congratulations Melissa. There are a lot of girls who like the idea of roller derby, until they get hurt or they have to sacrifice their own time, energy, resources, or sanity to make it happen. Heck, that's the way it is with almost any meaningful endevour -- being a parent, a husband or wife, an artist, a writer, a skater, a protestor, a patriot. If it were easy, it wouldn't hurt. I'm proud of Melissa. In a week, geek-girl will be on to other extreme challenges and calculated drama to simulate human experience for entertainment value and Melissa will still be skating for the Dallas Derby Devils.

So there's the story. Dennis Rodman. Geeks. Freaks. Derby. CAT scan. And Melissa's doing fine.