Gatorade Made Me So Dehydrated During Training Camp I Needed a Catheter

Gatorade catheter

Gatorade catheter

With football training camp in full swing, I’m reminded of the time I was so dehydrated during camp that I needed a catheter.

I was on the subway this morning and saw my horoscope was to open up my life, so here we are. Just about everyone I know probably knows this story already but the internet don’t, so here we are.

After my sophomore year at Notre Dame high school, I was pissed. I was promised certain things on the football team and the baseball team and those promises went unfulfilled. On the football team, it was ‘Hey Neal, in this playoff game, you’re going to alternate series with the starter’. I played 1 series. Completely disrupting the chemistry of an offense in a playoff game seemed sane.

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The football coach would put me in here and there during the regular season to mixed results: Sack fumble on one drive, 57-yard touchdown pass on another. Leading up to the playoff game, I was told I’d alternate series with the starter and I ran with the first team during two weeks of practice prior. Then the game came, I got in, handed off twice and threw a pass to the TE who dropped it. Turns out the RB was WIDE OPEN down the seam. Grounds for not letting me back in the game? Sure, why not.

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I didn’t take a lot of snaps that season. But, I still got a varsity letter. I couldn’t care less about varsity letters now… no one should… but at the time it was nice to get recognition. Typical of my generation I guess.

On the baseball team, however, I played more than I did on the football team. I pitched, I played outfield, I hit. Even though my brain has tried to block out the memory, I’m fairly positive I started a goddamn playoff game. Why these coaches thought a ripe sophomore with minimal playing time would be PRIME TIME in the postseason is beyond me. Anyway, I didn’t get a varsity letter. That sucked. Again, in the grand scheme of things, such a dumb thing to get pissed about. In the late Spring / early Summer of 1996, it stung worse than when Will Ferrell gets burned in Step Brothers.

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So, after talking with my dad (who was the team doctor for the Hun School of Princeton), we decided I would transfer to Hun and repeat my sophomore year. I was young for my grade and wouldn’t turn 16 until November, so it made sense. We even got a fellow Notre Dame teammate, an offensive lineman, to transfer as well. My dad said he talked with the coach and I’d be the starter… of the varsity team… and theeeeennnn…

Training camp comes around and it turns out NOPE. I’m not the starter. Instead, in my head, I think I’m battling to be the starter with a fucking 19-year-old post-graduate. And the guy’s a legit man. He looks like he could be a coach with a mortgage and a family of four. He’s got a permanent five o’clock shadow and probably went to his gig as an underwear model after practice. What the actual fuck. I’m 15, this dude’s four years older and is so far out of puberty, he forgot what it feels like to hide his boner. I am not happy.

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The camp at Hun is also sleepover. Two-a-days during the day — one in the morning, one in the afternoon — then film session and team-bonding activity at night (one team bonding event was an interactive screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show and I was THOROUGHLY confused about my team and my sexuality).

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My roommate at camp was my fellow NDHS teammate. He’d lost a considerable amount of weight since our soph year at NDHS. I believe he blamed it on his ex-gf, which I (a virgin who’d never kissed) didn’t understand at the time but completely get now. Despite the weight loss, he hadn’t lost much strength. But, training camp will drain you to the point where you don’t even want to eat because you’re so tired. And so I didn’t eat but I did drink. A lot. Of Gatorade.

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Camp kicked the shit out of us. Way harder than what we’d experienced at NDHS. My teammate and I would come back to our room and chug jug after jug of Gatorade. I’d drink so much Gatorade that I’d fill up on it and not eat. I also wouldn’t drink water. Or not enough water. Because I didn’t know that water was WAY WAY more important than Gatorade. I was the target consumer of Brawndo in Idiocracy.

How bad did it get? Well, during a fumble recovery drill, in which all we do is fall on the ball and cover it up, I fell on the ball and took FOREVER getting back up. To the point where the coaches started berating me in front of the whole team. I’m a lazy fuck. But this wasn’t laziness. This was something else. My body was shutting down. I did what I always do, I went back to the room and chugged Gatorade.

In the wee hours of the morning, I got up and went to the bathroom. While standing in front of the urinal, in nothing but my boxers, I began to pee and then passed out. I sort of remember falling backward and hitting my head against the tile wall and then hitting the ground. Next thing I knew, I woke up on the bathroom tile floor with my dick out.

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It’s been 22 years since that happened but I’m fairly certain I called my mom, who called my dad, and after my dad asked me some questions, he convinced my coach to take me to the hospital. They hooked me up to an IV or five to get the essential fluids Gatorade had promised me but never delivered on.

Even with a copious amount of helpful, life-giving liquid entering my body, I couldn’t urinate. Put a gun to my dome, threaten to decorate the room with my brains, I couldn’t excrete… secrete?… that golden stream. No shower. Not even a light drizzle.

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I’ll be honest. I didn’t really care that I couldn’t go number 1. If I couldn’t be a number 1 on the football or baseball teams, why should I be able to go number 1. Super healthy all around. But, as the medical personnel explained, if I can’t piss on my own, it means my kidneys (?) have shut down and THAT means… something. I dunno. A transplant? Who cares. I was just happy I was no longer withering away like a salt-covered slug on the football field.

So, if I can’t piss on my own, the medical staff will make me pee. I thought, ‘Interesting. They’ll probably just stick my hand in a bowl of water while I sleep’ but I was dead wrong. They said the word catheter. My father, a doctor, winced. My mother, the wife of a doctor, grimaced. I’d never heard the word before. I’d been a student at a Catholic high school… maybe this was some sort of religious ceremony to extract the urine?

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A nurse approached me and said she’d be administering the catheter. She asked if I knew what one was. I shook my head. She went on to explain. “I’m going to slide this rubber tube down the urethra of your penis and urine should come out.” Like most people I have a fear of the unknown. I’d never had anything shoved into my pee-hole. Never had the urge to. Fear ran rampant through my body.

The nurse was… not an attractive lady. She wasn’t anywhere near my age. I’m not an ageist but I wasn’t into MILFs. MILFs weren’t really a thing back then. When you’re 15 in 1996, you’re into Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Anna Nicole Smith, Alicia Silverstone, Tiffani Amber Thiessen, Kathy Ireland, Tyra Banks, Jenna Jameson and Alanis Morissette.

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This nurse didn’t look like any of the aforementioned women. Yet, right before she plunged this way-too-wide rubber tube down my shriveled dong, she said reassuringly, “Don’t worry if you get aroused, it happens all the time”.

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WHAT?!? A) Lady, ain’t no way in hell you’re giving me a boner. You could look like a hybrid of the planet’s hottest women and offer free BJs for life and I wouldn’t get hard in that moment. B) WHO IS GETTING ERECT?

Spoiler alert: I didn’t get aroused. Not even a centimeter. I did experience pain the likes of which I’ve only felt one other time and that’s when I had to get tested for an STD (long story) and the doctor shoved a sharp Q-tip in my shlong. I don’t wish a catheter on my worst enemies. I pray night and day for that to happen.

On the bright side, the catheter worked. I gushed. The nurse tried soothing me by repeatedly and softly cooing “Good boy”. Like she was bummed I didn’t get boned up and was trying to make good on her word.

My coach and a couple guys from the football team visited me in the hospital. I’d been scratching my balls before I shook all their hands. You want me to get well? Ha. Enjoy my taint dust.

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My teammate would transfer back to NDHS and urged me to join him. The guy that I kinda sorta split time with the previous year was now a senior and there was word that I’d be the starter if I returned. Riiiiight.

Meanwhile, at Hun, I bounced back just in time to play in a preseason game. On one play, I dropped back to pass, let go of the ball, and got hit late. The entire weight of my body fell onto my bent wrist and it broke. As I lay writing on the ground, the trainer came out and yelled “Stop being such a pussy!”

I think I missed the rest of August, all of September, and maybe half of October. Came back to play JV and severely sucked. Saw very limited game action on varsity (on defense and special teams). Ended up transferring back to NDHS as a junior for the second semester. There was a new baseball coach that Spring and the following Spring. Football coach started me, got hit late again in the preseason and sprained my MCL.

The lesson here is: Gatorade might be a thirst quencher but it’s also a dehydration accelerator. Preseason sucks. Catheters aren’t arousing. I’m a weak weak man.




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