Sports: Healing Through Hitting

The last 10 months

I’m exhausted. My world’s turned upside down. I feel like I’ve been hit by a train.

For anyone who knows me, these are unusual statements. But this has been an unusual year for me and my family. The past 10 months have challenged me in a way I never expected with changes I never expected. The last 10 months have been completely dedicated to John, my husband of 39 years and his many health crises.

When I tell people everything he’s battled over the last year, it almost sounds like I made it up:

  • Aggressive bladder cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Heart Attack
  • Triple Bypass
  • Complications from Bypass
  • Additional Heart Surgery
  • Breathing problems from COPD
  • Code Blue
  • Transfer to Orlando
  • Move to Orlando
  • Physical Therapy
  • 8 Hospitals
  • 3 Rehabilitation Centers
  • 6 Pneumonia
  • 6 UTIs
  • 4 Sepsis
  • 5 Intubations
  • MRSA
  • Stage 4 Bedsore
  • Bedsore Surgery
  • And more…

I’ve tried to be as strong as I can be but all of this hit me harder than I imagined. I never thought I’d really smile again and enjoy life.

Do I go to Training Camp?

Then came Jets training camp. My son and his wife encouraged me to go and that they would take care of John. I reluctantly went to training camp and I am so glad that I did. For 2 weeks, I was able to remember how blessed I am, how happy I am and how hopeful I am. Sports rejuvenated me. The Jets rejuvenated me.

During this time, the wonderful people at NFL Films followed me around the camp as part of a special feature they are doing about my life in football.

Then I came home and John got worse.

This last intubation came and everyone left me and our family hopeless. But a wonderful doctor (who reminds me of my dad) helped to give John another shot. We thought it was the end and prepared for that.

But he’s one tough Marine and keeps fighting. He’s now in long-term care with a tracheostomy and voice box, feeding tube and constant fluid draining of his lungs. I’ve never seen anyone tougher than John and have been inspired by his desire to persevere. Certainly, if he can fight this hard in the fourth quarter, so can I.

The Game

Then came Monday night. Jets football. I couldn’t eat all day and was a bundle of nerves.

But all I wanted to see was Sam going back to pass, Jamal’s fire, Bilal’s heart, Quincy’s courage, and Coach Bowles crack a smile.

It got me realizing more than ever, how sports are more than a game, they are an escape from tough things, from day to day routines, and a chance to be uplifted or just get distracted and recharge yourself. It’s such a great release of emotions.

The Jets played an incredible game against the Detroit Lions with a huge victory. A punt return for a TD, pick-6, and 5 interceptions just was way beyond my dreams. And then there’s the promise of finally having a franchise Quarterback.

I went to the Hospital to see John with newfound energy and optimism.

It’s only one game, but its also more than that.

It’s only 1 game and every week is a new week, just like life and being with John. Each day is new and different, I never know what the day will bring, and I just treasure each moment. But it’s all worth it.

I love you sports!

I love you football!

I love you New York Jets!

Connie Nicholas Carberg grew up around the New York Jets with her father as the team’s internist for 26 years (Dr. Calvin Nicholas). In 1974, she joined the Jets as a secretary. In 1976, she was named the first female scout in NFL History. Her contributions led to a number of top drafts culminating with her discovery of a little known defensive end, Mark Gastineau. ConnieScouts shares her memories and blessings over the years.

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