I’m going back to March of 1998 for this week’s back in the Day sports column.
My boss, Greg Melton, and I took a trip out to Salina, Kan., to cover the State Fair Community College Lady Roadrunners in the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament
The Lady Roadrunners lost by 12 points to a team out of Virginia in the first round, a game I felt the Lady Roadrunners should have won.
We stayed overnight in motel in Salina and covered the Lady Roadrunners’ ‘game against Gulf Shores Community College out of Florida the next day. That game to say the least was close until tipoff. State Fair got beat pretty bad.
I felt bad for the Lady Roadrunners, but I felt even worse for myself because I was in a tremendous amount of pain.
I need to back track a little here. Before the game against Gulf Shores started, I was up near the top of the Convention Center grandstand talking to some State Fair fans. When we finished talking, I started back down the grandstand steps toward the floor. I got to the last two steps and my left foot slid back toward the crawl space between the steps and stuck. I didn’t know my foot was caught so I tried to go on down to the last step and I felt a sharp pain in my foot and then I heard an obvious cracking sound.
I went head first to the floor as my foot finally came loose from the step. I caught myself right before my face hit the floor.
I tried to get up, but I couldn’t.
Who was sitting right there on the front row next to the aisle where I fell? Former State Fair Community College Lady Roadrunner head coach Jack Easley, who was an assistant women’s coach at Oklahoma State at that time.
He looked at me and started laughing. I said, “Jack, it isn’t funny. I’m hurt.”
Easley helped me up, but I couldn’t put any weight on my left foot. I knew it was broke, but there were no athletic trainers on site.
I hopped on one foot over to the press table and covered the game while my foot was throbbing underneath the table.
When the game ended and I got my interview done with Coach (Dale) Kimberling, I hopped out to Greg’s truck and he helped me get up into the seat.
Salina was about a five or six-hour trip and that was excruciating.
By the time I got home that night, my foot had swelled so bad, I had to take a pair of scissors and cut my shoe off. That felt great when I got my shoe off.
I just put ice on it for a couple of days. I didn’t want to go to the doctor. I’m pretty stubborn.
I did have a doctor’s appointment two days later. Dr. Woolery noticed me limping as I walked into his examining room. He asked me what happened and I told him the story. He reached down and yanked my shoe off and then my sock. That felt real good!
He told me right away it was broke and showed me which bone was broken. I never did get it set, wrapped or casted.
Despite what happened, I still wouldn’t have missed that trip for anything. Well, maybe except for traveling across the Table Top State known as Kansas.