Two Terribly Honest Mistakes

A few weeks ago I received treatment on my previously-chipped, discolored, front tooth. We had just finished our first practice, and I decided to squeeze in the appointment before our second session. I was on my way to the procedure, when Emily Menges texted our recently created “Thorns” group message asking if each person could identify who they were so that we all had one another’s numbers. The team responded, rattling off their respective nicknames: “Nortyspice” (aka Courtney Niemiec, goes by Nort, but Nortyspice when she’s feeling spunky),“Little Sarah” (aka Sarah Robbins, the smaller Sarah of the two), “Sprinkles McWoosie” (aka Mana Shim, on St. Patty’s day Paul derived each of us an Irish name and required us to address each other by that name at practice), and so forth.

In the midst of these texts, a number with a 503 area code responded “Wrong number.” Nadine Angerer, our German goalkeeper, had just informed us that she had gotten a new American number, thus most of us knew it was her messing with us. More people spewed off names; “Shat”, “Krugs”, “Kitty Kat”, “Taylor”, “McCall here” and then Nadine again responded. “stop texting me you got the wrong number.” In my head I was thinking, Silly Nadine, always a jokester. Shortly after, McCall Zerboni responded “you must have spell check Nadine because thats pretty good.”

Nadine messing around per usual with fellow goalkeeper Michelle Betos

At the point of reading that text, I had just rode the elevator up to 7th floor and was walking into my dentist office. A few moments later, my dentist called me from the waiting area. I put my phone away as he guided me to my torture chamber (I’d rather eat an expired hard boiled egg than go to the dentist). In order to fix the discoloration of my tooth, my dentist had to numb my upper gum. To distract myself from the needles, my mind drifted back to why I was here in the first place.

This tooth has warranted countless dentist visits ever since it happened back in the 5th grade. My friend, Isabelle, and I were relaxing in the hot tub when her sister came outside. Out of nowhere, Isabelle grabbed hold of my head and shoved it under the water, slamming my front tooth into the bottom of the tub. Confused and in pain, I emerged from the water with a sharp tingly sensation in my mouth. I ran my finger across my front tooth and felt a jagged edge followed by a piercing pain. I ran into her bathroom to see the damage. I distinctly remember looking in the mirror through my teary eyes at my cut-in-half tooth, and wondering what on Earth had possessed Isabelle to perform such a torturous act. I thought we were friends!? Isabelle entered the bathroom to apologize. Apparently, she was just playing around and wanted to hide me from her sister. An interesting, somewhat unintelligent strategy, but I could tell from her puppy eyes how bad she felt. At this moment, I realized that it was an honest mistake. We talked things over, and I agreed to forgive her so long as she traded her oreos for my carrots at lunch for the next week. I also asked her to kindly give me a heads up if she had any future inclinations to violently submerse my head under water.

By the time I brought myself back to the present, my dentist was applying the final touch to my tooth. I thanked him and headed out the door to make our second practice. On my way out of the office, I opened my phone up to 8 new texts.

People continued providing their names in the group text, but in the midst of these texts was another message from Nadine “seriously stop texting me wrong number.”

An avid jokester myself, I know that there comes a point when jokes just aren’t funny anymore. Nadine’s persistent texting made me start to wonder if this really wasn’t Nadine.

I looked back through the conversation to review the facts. “Nadine” had mentioned about 6 times that we had the wrong number. At this point, I realized this truly wasn’t Nadine.

So, this random number was getting texts every few minutes from our team. Texts ranging from “Nortyspice” to “Kitty Kat” to “Sprinkle’s McWoosie.” If I was reading these texts, I’d surely think that we were a bunch of prostitutes. I found this hilarious, and am a bit upset with myself for never thinking of adding a random number to group texts before. Or similarly, just texting a random number and seeing where the conversation goes.

Even with 6 “stop texting me” texts, “Kitty Kat” was still not convinced that this wasn’t Nadine messing with us. She sent a clarification text, “Send a pic proving you’re not on our team.”

And this is when things got real:

My personal favorite response was McCall’s simple, yet highly effective eggplant emoji. A subtle dagger. I would like to publicly apologize for my response. It wasn’t the most mature or nicest way to handle the situation. This person could be having a terribly bad day. Maybe she just ran over an innocent little bunny, or someone ate her very last stash of Girl Scout cookies, or worse, maybe she got pickle juice squirted in her eye. You never know.

Regardless of the reason, this seems to be a bit of an over reaction to me. There are a lot of things that are out of our control, but what we can control is how we react to the situations.

And threatening to get the police involved over a handful of texts doesn’t seem like the best solution to me. At the end of the day, getting upset is not going to make these situations any better. In fact, it almost always will make it worse. And this brings me back full circle to 5th grade. Things don’t always go as planned. Your number may accidentally get added to a group text full of “prostitutes”. Your friend may inexplicably slam your tooth into the bottom of a hot tub. But your character is shown in how you handle the situation.

Isabelle, wherever you are, I want you to know that I think of you often. Precisely every 6 months during my dental check-up. Mystery Number, thank you for reminding me the importance of controlling the controllable and staying positive. Life is too short too dwell on misfortunes, especially innocent misunderstandings. If you get this, I’d love to offer you some tickets to a game. I’ll even throw in a pint of Salt N Straw Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, as long as you promise to wash it down with a large glass full of life.

Please don’t call the cops on me.

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