(Thread) Every Sept. 13, there comes a time when I want to cry, want to shake somebody. On this day in 1985, I was excited about attending my first high school football game. Lynwood vs. Compton. I was only 13.
It was Friday 13th. My dad got off work & asked me to go with him.
We needed to finish registering players for our soccer team ahead of that Saturday's game. I was a speedy forward. We drove to the soccer league's offices in L.A. The league president forgot the keys, so all the coaches waited outside & chatted. I waited in the truck.
3/ Some coaches decided to have a conversation right by the truck near the passenger window, so I got out and went to sit near my dad. I sat on the back bumper of the truck. Minutes later, I heard a loud collision. I wondered why a car was coming at me in slow motion.
4/ It wasn't slow motion. It just seemed that way. Before I knew it my legs had been smashed between 2 parked cars, my dad's truck & the one that hit me. My dad jumped to his left, as did several coaches. The car that caused the accident hit a tree before it could hit them.
5/ As I attempted to get up, I fell right in my dad's arms. "I'll never play soccer again," I told my dad in Spanish. That literally was the first thing out of my mouth. "Yes, you will," my dad said.
"No. I don't have any legs anymore," I said.
"Yes, you do," my dad argued.
6/ I looked at the mangled mess to my right. You couldn't stick a pencil between cars where I had been sitting. As we argued, the drunken driver stumbled out of his car. He asked the coaches to let him flee. They grabbed & held him for police.
I kept telling my dad I had no legs.
7/ Finally, my dad relented and lifted my legs to show me my thighs. They were a mess. I had an eight-inch laceration on my left leg. It was as though somebody had chopped a ham in half. I could see the bone between the blood & silver particles of the bumpers.
8/ The left hamstring was a mess, torn off and pushed down toward the back of my knee. My right leg had three smaller lacerations, but the 2-inch one on the right side of the hamstring scared the hell out of me. I could feel it pulsating and losing blood. I was sure I would die.
9/ "Ten fe en dios," my dad whispered. "Have faith in God." Over and over, my dad said, "Have faith in God. Have faith in God."
To our left, a coach paced back & forth next to us. "Se va morir. Se va morir." He's going to die. He's going to die.
My dad asked him to walk away.
10/ The paramedics got there quickly. I remember this beautiful, petite paramedic who oozed serenity. "You're going to be OK, champ. You're going to be OK, champ," she kept saying in a very soothing, nurturing tone as she cut off my shorts to check wounds. A crowd surrounded us.
11/ I was 13 and shy. I kept covering my crotch area. She'd move my hands to check the major laceration. She realized I was embarrassed to have all those coaches staring at my suddenly almost naked body. She roared to the cops, "Get these people out of here."
12/ Then she went back to her soothing tone. "You're going to be OK, champ. Although 13, I had already started buying my own school clothes and shoes with money I earned that summer working at the Paramount Swap Meet. I had bought some black and red suede Pumas. They were fly.
13/ Once they ran all their tests, put a neck brace on me and covered my wounds, they lifted me into the stretcher. They were wheeling me into the ambulance when I screamed, "Stop!" I had been calm & never cried, so they were stunned. "What's wrong?" they asked. "My Pumas!
14/ Yes, I was worried about my Pumas. They had taken off my shoes and cut off all my clothes except for my underwear. But this poor kid wanted his shoes. "Don't leave my shoes," I said. Everybody laughed. They got my shoes and gave them to my dad. "You're going to be OK, champ!
15/ I'm the son of immigrants from Mexico, and my dad rarely spoke English around us. But he understood it. He was stunned when one of the cops told the ambulance to take me to Martin Luther King Hospital, the county hospital many of us in the hood referred to as Killer King.
16 "No!" my dad yelled. "Insurance! Kaiser Insurance."
They had assumed this Mexican American kid's dad had no insurance. My dad whipped out his insurance card. Then they said, "OK, Monterey Park Trauma center."
"Ten fe in Dios," my dad whispered as we rode to the trauma center.
17 We spent the night in surgery. We were still living just above the poverty line with * kids all in a 3-bedroom home. At that time, my older brother & I shared the garage as our "bedroom." My legs were a mess. The left had bigger lacerations, but right had more dangerous wounds
18/ I mention income level because of the assumptions made by the cops when picking a county hospital instead of a nearby trauma center. Also, they released me soon after the surgery. I wealthier family would have been kept in the hospital a few days at least for observation.
19/ By a miracle I had no broken bones, but my legs never over 300 stitches to close the wounds. They had to do multiple layers of stitches to close the left thigh's laceration. We were so poor we couldn't afford a wheelchair. Despite injuries on both legs I got crutches instead.
20/ Today is the 35th anniversary of the worst day of my life. It was the day I turned my life over to God. As my dad cradled me & urged me to have faith in God shortly after the accident, I had closed my eyes and said, "God, I'm ready to go. Just please to let me suffer."
21/ God has a plan for all of us. It wasn't my time to go. I have faith. I Believe. I despise drunken drivers. It's a selfish act by selfish people. I have loved ones who have committed this crime. I know good people do it. I beg you not be a selfish asshole. Don't drive drunk
22/ Drunken drivers kill. They leave mental & physical scars on their victims. Few things set me off in a rage quite like drunken drivers. I was lucky, but damn if I don't feel affects of that accident daily. I was lucky. I recovered. Thousands of victims don't. God bless you.

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More from @OrtizKicks

6 Aug 20
#MLB announced several schedule changes. STL @ DET & DET @ STL
The 4-game H&H series between the Cardinals and Tigers, originally scheduled for Aug. 3-6, will be rescheduled as two doubleheaders - Aug. 13 at Comerica Park & , Sept. 10 at Busch Stadium.
As a result of the first STL-DET doubleheader, the originally scheduled game between the Cardinals & White Sox on Aug. 13, originally set to be played at “Field of Dreams” in Dyersville, Iowa, will move to Aug. 14 at Guaranteed Rate.
FOX added Brewers at Cubs game for Aug. 13.
As a result of the STL-DET doubleheader Sept. 10, the originally scheduled 7:10 p.m. (ET) game between the Tigers and Brewers at Comerica Park on Wednesday, September 9th has been changed to a 1:10 p.m. (ET) start.
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