The price of playtime

A s anyone who resides in Durango, or has ever visited knows, there are a myriad of fabulous reasons to live here. Three hundred plus days of sunshine, breathtaking views, miles of trails and a small town charm where people still greet one another on the street, are just a few of them. But for many the highlight of life in D-town is the superflux of outdoor activities and organized sporting opportunities that we have to choose from. Accomplished kayakers, skiers, snow boarders, BMX racers, rock climbers, Olympic volleyball players, and world champion mountain bikers are all proud to call Durango home.

The downside to being a sporto in a town where the cost of living outweighs the average wage is of course what one does when they find themselves injured as a result of one of these athletic undertakings. If you are one of the lucky few who have endowments to

take care of expenses, all you need to worry about is whether or not you will be back in condition for the next race or tournament.

However, for those of us who are but weekend warriors or Saturday stalwarts, when that bone breaks or that muscle tears we often find ourselves asking, "Insurance, what's that?" Such was the case this past Spring when my favorite city league soccer player planted his leg "funny" and tore his anterior cruciate ligament. It was a life or death match, played for the fate of the free world, at Park Elementary School. Unfortunately, even with the stakes as high as they were, we could not call Kappa or Nike to foot the bill. So we asked around town in an attempt to try and find a surgeon who worked on a sliding scale or payment plan. Not surprisingly we found a great many friends and co-workers who had had anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and meniscus repairs and/or replacements (i.e. knee surgeries) as a result of their own out-of-doors zeal. And due to that small town charm that I spoke of earlier, proffers of crutches and knee braces came pouring in. Alas, no free offers from doctors but hey they too take a pay cut to live here.

We decided that if the pursuit of play was to continue for years to come we had to find a way to pay, so we opted to take up one of those 0% APR for 12 month offers that come in the mail each week.

Two weeks ago another local soccer player close to my heart snapped his fibia and tibia bones playing European football at Riverview Park. With two small boys at home to look after I am certain that he will not be having the easiest go of things in the weeks to come. But I have no doubt he will be playing again next spring and teaching his sons how to kick the ball around.

The ACL surgery for my player took place on a Monday at the same time that "buckets of snow" fell up at Durango Mountain Resort. My soccer player won't be making turns this season. But when I find myself tearing up the powder with a luminous grin spreading across my face, I will know that every penny was well spent so that he can be there with me next year. Maybe we can even charge his 2005-2006 ski pass on the same credit card as his new bionic knee. After all, what good is money if you can't spend it on toys to play with outdoors? ☯



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