Well, this is it. The aspiring Air Hockey World Champion's blog. Seriously. Air hockey.
Why air hockey? As Jason points out in the Air Hockey Blog intro, he kicked my ass at Pop-A-Shot on a regular basis and I got tired of it. I challenged him to a game of air hockey ... and let me tell you, our lives changed. Air Hockey is an incredible game of strategy, skill, power and geometry? Yes ... geometry. Knowing the angles helps win games. Hitting your angles ... that's a little harder.
At this point we're 23 days away from tournament time and I have a non-functioning arm. Apparently playing 200 games of air hockey in two months does a lot more damage to your arm than you would think. I first noticed some discomfort in my right arm as early as December. It progressively got worse through January to the point that I took some precautions with a "tennis elbow" strap that is supposed to help prevent these types of injuries. I iced it down a few times when the pain was significant and swelling occurred. The big blowout occurred the night of Jan. 21 — half price game day at Dave and Busters.
Half price air hockey is a great thing. I earned an entire Gold Card at Dave and Buster's from only playing Air Hockey. For those of you not in the know, a Gold Card is obtained when you waste an exuberant amount of money charging the fucking thing, but you get 10 percent off each game once the Gold status is obtained. Air hockey is an expensive game so any chance we have to save money playing we will eagerly take. Especially in this economy. I'm pretty sure D&B's will be able to send two of their employee's children through college on the amount of money we've spent on those damn tables.
We had a frenzy that day, Jan. 21. We played 10 games against each other at lunch, followed by 18 more games after work. This was after playing 19 games on Monday and 10 more on Tuesday. After the 28th game of the day, we called it quits and headed our own separate ways. I was already in pain and knew I'd be heading home for a good long icing as it was, but what happened next caught me a little by surprise. I sat in my car in the driver's seat and reached back to grab my bag from the back seat. Upon grabbing the bag there was a large nasty POP in my elbow and my arm instantly went numb. I knew at that point I was screwed and only hoped it wouldn't be something to derail the dream. I honestly thought for a few minutes that I may not ever again be able to play the game I had come to love.
I have compressed nerves in both my wrist an elbow on my right arm, which unfortunately is my air hockey arm. Just found out that surgery is scheduled for Feb. 26. They will make incisions in my wrist (pinky side) and under my elbow to release the tension and nerve compression within. I have damage to both the median and ulnar nerves. This type of injury is very similar to very severe case of carpal tunnel. Generally, the surgery is accompanied by two weeks of recovery time, which unless my math is wrong, gives me one day of clearance until it's go time. At this point, most people would decide to pull out of tournament. But I'm not most people, I'm a frickin' gamer ... this is just a bump in the road. Playing at 75 percent strength is still better than the 10-15 percent I have now.
There is less than a week left before they cut me, but the dream lives on...
Jason Cornell and Jeff Huisman blog about their quest to become World Air Hockey Champion in Las Vegas March 13-15.