Next to my spikes on a football field in Wheatfield, Ind., back when nothing mattered to me more than Friday nights, my two front teeth just lay there in the grass.
I didn't pick them up and don't think anybody ever did. Too much chaos ensued after I had run over to the sideline between plays to get my broken helmet fixed. A well-intentioned assistant coach tossed a replacement helmet when I wasn't looking and, bam, it hit me squarely in the mouth.
What happened next still makes me chuckle and my mom cringe. The head coach called timeout so I wouldn't miss a play, handed me two pieces of bubble gum to chew and, after I followed his instructions, we stuck the wad into the part of the mouthpiece my teeth used to go.
And I played on.
No, four out of five dentists surveyed wouldn't dare recommend such behavior and, all these years later, neither do I. It was extreme and reckless and thankfully something that couldn't happen today because of the increasing awareness of injury and fear of liability.