I was in high school when my parents were attending their 20 year high school reunion. They were both proud of their boys. They were excited for us to meet their class mates. As my mother was getting ready to make an introduction, she noticed the sun was shining is such a way that both my brother and I’s ears were looking especially noticeable in their deformity. My moms first words were, “My boys were not born with these ears.”
Two years into my marriage, my wife and I announced to her dad that we were expecting our first child. My father in law’s forehead wrinkled with concern. He sternly looked across the table and said, “Can I ask you a very personal question?” I nodded. He asked with great care and intensity, “What is wrong with your ears?” He was very concerned that his grandchild would be born with this malformation. He was trying to prepare himself for the moment he would look at this newborn addition to the family. When I told him these ears were “made not born.” He was clearly relieved. But I must confess, I spent my childhood dreaming of the day when I would finally earn the badge of honor. All of my heroes in the sport had them. I knew when my ears surfaced as two door knobs on the side of my head I would be one step closer to my goal of being a champion.
“What is wrong with your ears?” I have answered this question many times over the years. My ears through the years have been a topic of conversation. It was my ears that landed me a NIKE commercial that was played during the World Series with the song “You Are So Beautiful” playing in the back ground. And that is how I see them. They are beautiful reminder that I am a wrestler.
What is cauliflower ear? Technically, it is a condition that occurs when the external
portion of the ear suffers a hard-tough hit.
This blow to the ear causes a blood clot and/or other collection of
fluid under the perichondrium to develop. This separates the cartilage from the
overlying perichondrium that supplies its nutrients, causing it to die and
resulting in the formation of fibrous tissue in the overlying skin. As a
result, the outer ear becomes permanently puffed-up and deformed, some say resembling a
Historically, cauliflower ear has been connected to the hard
work and training of wrestlers. BUT it is
interesting to note: there were many things written about cauliflower ears back
in the 1860’s. Psychiatrists advanced strange theories linking it to
abnormalities of the brain in the insane.
And yes, I may be CRAZY, but I see the cauliflower ear as a
trophy. It is a reminder of the hard
work, time, blood, sweat, tears, pain, dedication, commitment, discipline,
effort, dedication, etc. It reminds me that I am a wrestler.
It is a badge of honor and
I wear mine proudly.