Monday, February 02, 2009

Sledding Is For Kids

As mentioned a few posts ago, Kentucky was hit with a severe winter storm. The storm surged through Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Arkansas, and Tennessee and resulted in many deaths, most from carbon monoxide poisoning or fire. This said, the county I am from, Muhlenberg, was devastated, and much of the county is still without power. Cell phone towers were down, too, and so there really was no way to communicate with anyone from back home.

Here in Louisville we got around 6 inches of snow and ice in varying layers. Layers stacked so perfect that we just had to go sledding. The first night of sledding was down a rather steep, mostly ice-hardened hill, containing several downed tree limbs, a few large tree trunks, and a monster dip in the middle of the hill that would propel the sledder off-ground a piece. This was awesome. The thrill of sledding as a 23 year old brought back memories of sledding as a teenager. In fact, I had so much fun I agreed to go sledding again the following night.

The second night was sledding down an intimidating hill in Louisville's Cherokee Park. My wife was feeling better on this particular night and so she decided to tag along for the sledding. While there I realized that I forgot to take my glasses off, so I took them back to the car before I started sledding. My wife walked with me and she said she was a bit hesitant to go down first, so I offered to head down and show her it was okay. BAD IDEA. I was on a round sled and so naturally I was rotating as I flew down the large hill. At the bottom everything happened really, really fast.

From what I can remember the ground disappeared beneath me, quite suddenly, and a wall appeared before me. I collided and doubled over and felt pain across my back like I've only known once before. At first, I honestly thought I wasn't going to be able to get up. I remember saying "no" and groaning, but I couldn't raise myself off my hands and knees. I wanted to throw up. My face was sweating. I couldn't see anything but black. Two strangers was yelling and asking me if I was okay. I said, honestly, "NO!" My wife was waiting atop the hill for my "It's okay," but I hollered "Don't come down." She walked down to where I was and helped me walk back up the hill. I came to realize that I had hit a ditch that had been created at the bottom of the hill we were on, and I must have collided with the opposite bank side.

Dynamically, I think I obeyed the laws of momentum, gravity, and conservation of energy pretty well. See, let m1 be the weight of me and v1 the velocity in which I was traveling downhill. Let m2 be the mass of the earth and v2 the velocity it was moving. Adding these terms, m1v1 + m2v2 = (m1+m2)v, where final velocity, v, equals sudden death. Furthermore, all kinetic energy from me traveling down the hill, .5m1v1^2, was instantaneously transferred from my body into potential energy that the ditch bank would hold, i.e. too much for my liking.

Regardless, and nevertheless, I am thankful my wife and I didn't go down the hill together, lest we both received painful injuries. I've basically been doped on Excedrin Back & Body since Thursday, resting on a heating pad, and using my massage chair. I'm strongly considering visiting a chiropractor or a professional masseuse. In short, sledding was very fun, but regrettably, I don't think I'll be going back for a while. Hope you all are warmer than I am.


Brandon Barr said...

Ha :)
I like the equation at the end. Hope the injury goes away and isn't too serious.

marky said...

HA! You mad man. You just can't control a sledge that has a round bottom. If you've ever seen the film Willow, you'll know what I mean. Funny stuff.

I was boarding in la Plagne a couple of years ago, and there was a guy who went down on ski's beside me on the black run. He ended up with his shin bone sticking through his leg, and had to be Air lifted off the mountain. The moral of the story is, snow is soft, but not that soft when you're hitting it at plenty miles an hour!

Keisha said...

eww...shin bones sticking out...I'm glad that didn't happen happen to Logan