I’ve watched a lot of boxing movies, and seen lots of scenes where the battered and bloody warrior retreats to his corner to receive hasty medical attention. No matter how bad of shape he’s in, the guy in his corner tends to him with one goal: keep him in the fight. Broken hand, busted nose, an eye so swollen it has to be cut (you know the Rocky scene, right?), no matter what’s wrong, he’s just got to go a few more rounds.
We were all lucky enough to have Dr. Kyle in our corner Saturday at the power lifting meet. He set up a station at the back and between lifts many of us made our way back there, pointing to this body part or that, grimacing at whatever we had just inflicted on ourselves. Dr. Kyle responded calmly to each of us, settling us onto the table and explaining in a reassuring way what he was doing to mend us.
I made several trips myself, as more places began to tweak throughout the day. No way was a little pain going to stop any of us from finishing what we’d come there to do. And that’s what I liked best about his response. No judgment, no criticism for pushing ourselves too hard, just help where we needed it, and encouragement for our next time up. “You’ve got to take a break after today,” he told me after about my third time to see him about my jacked-up upper back, the pain right over my spine that relented when he worked on me but returned with picking up weight. But he got it. Of course I’d take a break after the meet, but as an athlete himself, he knew that for today, we just wanted to get through.
And I liked him already, but then I approached, beer in hand after my final lift, telling him I didn’t even know where to have him start. Pointing at my cup of La Fin Du Monde, he answered, “That’s the best medicine, right there,” and I knew then who the real winner of the day was.