Muscles, Tendons, Joints and Money

Teddy Ball Game

Photo credit MIKECNY

For those of you that have sufficiently stalked me it will come as no surprise that I’m somewhat of a baseball nut.

Well, maybe nut isn’t the proper term, but I like baseball a lot -so much so that I take time out of my day for 4 months out of the year to coach a high school baseball team.  Even though I might look young enough to be one of players (often confusing umpires and opposing coaches) I’m in my 7th year of coaching and I recently experienced something I’ve never had to deal with.

Don’t worry I’m going to somehow connect this post about baseball with money, I’m going to have to with  title like muscles, tendons, joints and money – I wouldn’t want to upset anyone.

Throw, Throw, Then Throw Some More

So keep in mind that for the past six years I have been extremely hard on one of my extremities in particular – namely, my right arm.  Let me throw some numbers at you….

6 – The number of teams I’ve coached

16-20 – The number of players on a team

20-30 – The number of pitches I throw to each player during an average practice

50 – The number of feet each pitch is thrown (a normal pitching mound is 60 ft. 6 inches from home plate but I like to short that distance during batting practice to take the stress off of my arm)

So after some quick math….here are some more numbers….

300-400 – The number of pitches thrown each weekday during the season

24,000-32,000 – The number of pitches thrown during an entire season

144,000-192,000 – The number of pitches thrown during the past 6 seasons

Okay enough numbers.  All I wanted to to was prove the point that I’ve thrown a baseball (which only weighs 5 ounces by the way) a little bit more than the average person.  Okay real quick one more number…..192,000 pitches multiplied by 50 feet each means a total of 9,600,000 feet, or a little over 1,818 miles, or like driving from Boise, ID to Houston, Texas.  Okay I’m done now 🙂

Obviously all this throwing has put my shoulder through the ringer and like I said at the top I’m now experiencing something I’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing….injury.

After thousands and thousands of pitches my shoulder is starting to beg for mercy.  To be a little more specific the rotator cuff muscles and  tendons that run along the shoulder are being pinched  between the two bones that make up the ball and socket joint of the shoulder (humerus and acromion)  when my arm is lifted.  Not extremely painful but easily aggravated.  The problem is everyday movement sets in motion a vicious cycle.

The Cycle of Pain

As the muscles and tendons are pinched, or impinged, between my bones they become inflamed.  If they are aggravated or used too soon the inflammation flares back up and the cycle continues.  Have you ever tried going through a normal week without lifting your hands above your head?  I have.  It’s really hard.  In fact it’s pretty much impossible, so you can see how I’m now in this cycle of inflammation and attempted recovery.  Quite frustrating to say the least.

So let’s talk a little bit about money (nice smooth transition huh?)  There are cycles we fall into when it comes to how we manage our money, some are good (consistently saving, living with our means, etc.) and some are bad (not sticking to a budget, continuously racking up debt, etc).  Luckily, breaking free of  bad money cycles isn’t as hard as keeping your hands below our head for weeks on end.

Bad Money Cycles

With the amount of debt in American it’s easy to say that the most common bad money cycle is debt.  It’s so easy to fall into and so hard to climb out of it’s no wonder that the average family is plagued with a little over $15,000 in credit card debt.

We want instant gratification and it’s so easy to buy now and pay later that the thought of interest rates rarely crosses the mind.  On a credit card with a 15% interest rate, minimum payments won’t do you much good, and depending on the amount of debt you may never be able to fully pay it off with minimum payments.

Another bad money cycle is the lack of saving.  We work, we earn, we spend.  Savings is often an afterthought and usually after it’s too late.  The savings rate in America is hovering around 5%.  That means the guy or gal that makes 100k per year is only stashing away around 5,000 bucks each year.  Simple math will tell you that unless that money is earning some astronomical return each year there is no way it will be enough to last during retirement.  We have to create a cycle or habit to save more money, it’s as simple as that.  Regardless of where you put it (I would recommend something safe, predictable, accessible and tax advantaged like high cash value life insurance) create a cycle of saving as much money as you possibly can – your 65-year-old self will thank you for it later.

Good Money Cycles

I didn’t want to end on a bad note so I wanted to point out some of the good things going on out there.  Hopefully since the recent downturn you have become more frugal, whether it’s coupons, groupons or garage sales slashing the price on the things we need or want to buy can make a big difference.

Along with not overspending on the things you need make sure you budget till you’re blue in the face.  You should know where every last dime is going and be able track how you’re doing compared to past months and years.

As for me I’m working on getting back into a good cycle with my shoulder – I wrote this whole post within lifting my arms above my head once!

 

Tell me about the cycles that you’re in (good or bad) and how they’ve affected your financial life – or if you just want to talk baseball I’m okay with that too.

 
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Nick D.

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