As Halloween approaches I am reminded of…scars. While nobody can rock a scar like Frankenstein, scars have found a place in my psyche. I stare down at my left arm above my hand. A newly minted scar in licorice red has formed. I acquired this in a recent disagreement with a step-up jump at The Canyons Bike Park in Park City, UT.
By five, I had started collecting scars. My earliest scar recollection is a misguided attempt to hurdle an abandoned rototiller in my friend’s backyard. I shorted my leap and sliced open my knee earning my first trip to the emergency room. I wore that scarred knee proudly for many years as a pseudo badge of courage—a powerful reminder of what scars can become.
Not all scars are gilded paths to treasured memories—some can be just the opposite. I have two hernia scars that are unmemorable following sedation. Some scars in others’ lives are painful reminders of tragedy, disease, survival and heartache felt physically and emotionally.
Most of my recent scars bring fond appreciation for the sport I love. As l admire the newest member of my scar collection, the shape catches my eye. The gentle arc it forms reminds me of a mountain bike trail. Fondly, my mountain bike scars have been won on trails far and near. My vaunted rototiller scar has been notably erased over time. Now both of my knees have been laid waste by so many mountain bike crashes that I literally have scars on top of scars.
One scar near my elbow, about two inches in diameter, is nicknamed “The Patch.” Much like an inner tube patch, “The Patch” formed just in time to seal up a hole in my dermis layer allowing me to keep the good stuff inside my body. Another scar on my lower right leg is called “California” since its shape reminds me of the golden state. I earned that scar by taking a tumble on “The Devil’s Jaw” rock formation on Hulls Gulch. I still remember wondering if a doctor’s visit was warranted– seventeen stiches later I had my answer.
Isn’t there a sticker that says “Scars Rule”? For me, scars rule some of my fondest memories of mountain biking. They are like way posts acquired, earned and experienced along the journey of endless biking adventures. Some people are proud of their careers, cars, houses or other worldly acquisitions—I am proud of my scars. And for me, that is why scars rule….