Philadelphia sports fans are a funny breed. Sports Illustrated once called us the most abusive fans in America. In 1968, we threw snowballs at Santa Claus. We sneered at a kid who couldn’t find easter eggs at a stadium egg hunt. We booed Sarah Palin when she came to our beloved town to drop the puck at a Flyers game this fall.
There have been off-broadway shows produced about Philadelphia fans, and books written on the psychology of Philadelphia fan-dom. Google Philadelphia sports fans and you will find references to us as ‘avid,’ passionate,’ and perhaps most accurately, ‘the roughest, toughest, most vocal and unruly fans in sports.’
And as fanatical as the spectators can be, Philadelphia sports talk radio hosts can be just as brash, just as loud, just as abusive. There’s one in particular who drives me up the wall. Howard Eskin broadcasts for four hours a day, and talks about everything from the ‘pretty skirt’ that just walked by the studio door, to the racial dynamics of the Philadelphia Eagles (check out the controversies section on that wikipedia link if you want more specificity).
A Philadelphia sports fan myself (albeit one of the city’s quieter, more reserved ones), I have, on occasion, turned on sports radio. I’ve heard grown men cry after an Eagles loss, and I’ve listened to caller after caller rant and rave about the Flyers on a show dedicated to the Phillies. But I draw the line at Eskin. For some reason, Brent enjoys the ridiculousness of his show, but I shudder at his very mention. Several months ago, Brent took to calling him “He Who Shall Not Be Named” every time he references something he’s heard on the air.
This morning, I went to see a second sports med specialist about my hip. When Dr. Hamilton walked into the room, I breathed a sigh of relief. He was a bit of a round man, on the older side with little hair and likely less of a jump shot, but he looked me straight in the eye, shook my hand, and asked me what was wrong. When I told him what I’d done (just like the Winker last week, he didn’t know what an ironman was either, but he wasn’t afraid to ask!), he had me lie on the table and manipulated my leg in every possible direction. He asked me where it hurt, what it felt like, whether it was better or worse with different activities. He checked out the bone scan and the x-ray results, looked through my chart, and gave me a direct, thorough assessment of what he thought was wrong.
Basically, he said, the IT band connects to another tendon that runs between the hip and pelvis bone. That connective tissue runs over a bursa, and when you aggravate your IT band (I knew I had from the searing pain in the last miles of the ironman), sometimes that bursa becomes inflamed as the tendon tries to maintain its rhythm. The 112 miles of biking was likely the culprit initially; the marathon I ran directly after probably didn’t help matters.
So, I have an inflamed bursa. Bursitis.
What a relief!
On the way home, I was so excited with the diagnosis that I made up a little song about it. “The bursa to the -itis…”
Two to four weeks of PT (maybe a little bit longer to avoid having to get a cortisone injection) and I should be good as new.
The best part? He told me to maintain the level of activity I’m doing right now. “People as active as you don’t do so well – psychologically or physically – when I make them become couch potatoes,” he said. I can keep elliptical-ing and biking to my heart’s content, so long as it doesn’t hurt.
“By the way,” he said as I was leaving his office, “who was the original doctor you saw?”
When I mentioned the Winker, Hamilton let out a laugh. “Ah yes, the Howard Eskin of sports medicine professionals.”
Some people just get off on being humiliated, he said. They’ll call into that radio show time and again, knowing that Eskin is going to berate them. It gives them purpose, or something. That’s how the Winker is. He’s been antagonizing and abusing his patients for decades. But they just keep going back.
Not me, I told him. The Winker is now “He Who Shall Not Be Named #2” in my house.