Watching My Back

Jim Ellis
Editor, Legacy Magazine

I remember the first time I felt that sting of pain in my lower back. I was running to first base in 7th grade. It was then I felt that odd twinge resulting in me sitting out that game and then probably a couple days of activity after that.

Since then I get the occasional bout of back troubles, most notably:

  • In early 2001 – my back went completely out, and my movement consisted of basically lying in bed, and then slithering like a snake to the bathroom as needed. At that time, my team leader was bummed he lost a great opportunity to bring the team to my place for our weekly team meeting. Also during this time, I had a teammate shop for me and bring over a number of grocery items. Nothing I would have purchased on my own, but who cares – it was sustenance and I had to survive.
  • In 2004 – again lower back in a state of weakness and pain. I recall a teammate Bob Lavenstein drove me to an amazing chiropractor Dr. Brian Garrett. The drive there by Bob was almost as painful as the lower back pain, as this dude was a crazy reckless sort. I recall being helped by Bob, arm over shoulder, as I made way into the elevator up to Garrett’s office.
  • In 2010 – my team had a fun event at a movie. I didn’t think I would make it since I was dealing with another one of those back situations. The team leader convinced me the men would take care of me. They carried me as needed and set me up in the most comfortable location in one of the handicapped spots in the theater.
  • In 2018 – my team at the time would meet at a rehabilitation facility in La Mesa, since an inpatient there was our 80-year-old member Howlett. Well, there was someone who needed more care at the moment than Mr. Howlett, who still could be helped into a van. The man needing more attention? Me, of course, since I could not sit in my car without excruciating pain. The team was willing to shift locations and meet on my driveway, where I could trade off standing, kneeling and squatting during our time together.

Now, I have not had back troubles since then, but the story does have one strong through-line, besides a man with a troublesome back. And that is “the men.”

In each step of my journey, the men were there to care for me as my needs arose. They would go out of their way; they would provide assistance; they would buy goods and groceries that were needed. They were willing to remain a team even if one of their own was hurting or down.

They were watching out for me.

In a phrase, they were watching my back.

In all areas of health – mental, emotional, spiritual at times, and indeed physical – my men can be there.

And for that very reason, I am a rich and very healthy man.

1 thought on “Watching My Back”

  1. Ellis,
    I appreciate your reveal. Thank you for the message of the connection and commitment the men had with, and to, each other. It’s a reminder of the deep value of being on a Men’s Team.

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