May 31, 2012

I Broke My Tuuk

No, not my “tooth”, although I have chipped and broken my teeth many times; part of being me I guess. Over the years I have broken a tooth or two while playing sports, cutting down trees, working construction, and even, on several occasions, while eating caramels. Last year, I broke a tooth a day before I left for Guyana (it required a crown) and then chipped a tooth in Guyana and then needed a root canal on another tooth right after I came home. 

Sometimes I would go to the dentist to have a broken tooth repaired. Other times I took the more industrious road and used an ordinary metal file to file off the rough edges. I have even used a “Dremel” tool to save a trip to the dentist.

Usually I when I broke a tooth the original stress on the tooth had been caused during some other event and the tooth took one too many blows and finally, part of the tooth broke off.

I’ve also broken a “tooth” on my comb back in the olden days when I used to carry a comb in my pocket; I mean really olden days…like back in the seventies!

I broke my Tuuk. A “Tuuk” is the plastic portion on my Bauer skates that holds the metal blade to the boot. I discovered the hairline fracture while I was wiping down the ice shavings off my skates. I found it a bit strange because the skates were only eleven months old and because I hadn’t played hockey in the past three months.  The only skating that I had been doing for the past six weeks was my daily hour cardio skating prior to teaching first graders how to skate.

When I took my skates in to be sharpened, Jim and Dave, who have been taking care of my skates over the past twenty years or so, both saw the hairline fracture. Upon further observation, we discovered that the crack actually went all the way through to the other side of the Tuuk. 

We think that the Tuuk had been damaged during another event that had fractured it and in time slowly caused the damage to appear on the surface. Probably when I used my skates to block a shot from an opposing player or redirect a teammates’ pass during a hockey game three months ago...I like to use my feet defensively as much as I use my hockey stick to stop opposing players from scoring on my team’s net. It was only now, after six weeks of teaching at “Learn to Skate” program, that the fracture came to the surface where it could be seen.

After giving me a hard time for breaking the Tuuk, they concluded that the Tuuk needed to be replaced and went about removing the old and installing a new Tuuk. Afterwards, they sharpened my blades and once again, I was ready to go. 

I was grateful that the broken Tuuk was discovered this way rather than during a game at which time potentially the steel blade could become broken while fastened to the already broken Tuuk. I was especially grateful because the next time that I was use my skates would be when I was helping coach at an upcoming hockey camp in two weeks.

Unfortunately, we can’t always see the damage below the surface until it shows up long after the original fracture or injury. This is true for many areas and situations of life including teeth, Tuuks, buildings, and relationships. We hear of houses collapsing, and after an investigation it is discovered that a structural flaw had been there for years.

Autopsies done on people who have died of a heart attack sometimes reveal that there had been blockage for years or even that there had been little heart attacks prior to “the big one” that did the real damage. A seemingly happy couple gets a divorce and we are shocked to discover that the relationship had many prior events that had fractured it and slowly caused the damage to appear on the surface. 

A better method to discovering the problem is by preventative inspections. That is why we have regular inspections of bridge and buildings and even our cars. That is why we should have annual physicals and visits to the dentist. No, they are not just hunting for new work; they really do hope to catch potential areas BEFORE damage is done.

So what can we do? Deal with the things that we CAN deal with; like relationships as soon as offenses, misunderstandings, and faults take place that could cause fractures in the relationship. Deal with them, today, not tomorrow before the faults turn to larger damage. Deal when them DIRECTLY!

Jesus said; “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15 NKJV)

And further damage is prevented from showing up in the future!

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