There’s a certain satisfaction you get from a hard night of training. Maybe you got tapped out a bunch of times, or maybe you ran through people. Either way, you did it. You took part in something that 90% of the population is unwilling or unable to do. Something like that deserves a little celebration. That’s why me and some of the gang are going out for a beer after training. You in?
If you answered anything other than “F**k no, I’m going home to shower.” you are wrong.
Don’t take my word for it. Just take a look at exhibit A, that little red circle you notice a few days after. Some sort of weird rash? Maybe a bruise from a collar choke?
No you idiot, it’s ringworm. Now you get to stop training for a month or two.
If I sound harsh, I’m only criticizing Me-From-The-Past.
Me-From-The-Past made a series of poor choices that ultimately lead to his team becoming “Team Circle”, because we all got ringworm. It sucked, it was my fault. So if you’ve herd, but don’t know much about ringworm, here’s your crash course.
You Get It When You Don’t Shower Soon Enough.
Sure, we all think we shower right after class. But if we’re being honest, we might be cutting it closer than we think. If you break a decent sweat during warmups, then drill, then do some rolls, then do open mat, then shoot the shit with your coach, that could be a couple hours. That’s not to include driving home, hugging the kids, grabbing something from the fridge.
It all adds up, and while your enjoying your evening, a little magic of it’s own is happening in your body, that you may not notice for several days.
By The Time You Notice, You’ve Probably Spread It.
Thanks to a wonderful thing called an incubation period, you will not see symptoms of ringworm for some time after you get it. And because ringworm is a fungus with endless variations and every human is different, there is no precise incubation period.
This means that symptoms can range from a few days to a few weeks after it’s caught. The range is enough that someone you infect may show symptoms before you do. You’ll inevitably use this fact to shift blame and cast doubt onto others, even though in your heart you know this whole thing is your fault.
Or is it?
It Comes In Thirty One Flavors
Ringworm isn’t really a worm and it’s not always a ring. It takes different forms for different people. The flying saucer invasion, the cow brand, the pimple from hell, the head hickey. Sometimes it spreads to multiple spots on your body, other times it’s a giant mass of concentrated evil. It can be on your face, or your foot. It just depends. It’s not even always a ring, sometimes it’s no bigger than a pimple.
You Need To Treat It, Like Right Now.
Maybe it’s ringworm. But maybe it’s just a ringlike rash that I feel compelled to scratch and got bigger from yesterday to today?
This was the reasoning of Me-From-The-Past, who waited four or five days until the fungus on my arm literally spelled out I AM RINGWORM.
Ringworm will get worse if untreated, which you deserve. But all the people around you do not, and you can easily infect others, even without touching them at all. That’s right, you could be unintentionally creating a biological scavenger hunt around your gym for others to join in on against their will. I’m sure no one touches that sink handle or sits on that bench, right?
You can go to any drug store and get ringworm cream for about ten bucks, if that price is high to you, don’t worry. You’ll be saving on the cost of training, because you won’t be doing it for a few weeks.
Do not pass GO, do not collect two hundred dollars. The new position you’re working is called “apply ringworm cream to every infected area.” That’s your training for the next month, minimum.
Can I just drill? No. You have ringworm. You literally shouldn’t touch anyone or anything at your gym. It’s not only spread through direct contact, remember? Can I just watch class? I wouldn’t. But hey, go ahead and call your instructor and say, “Hey Coach, I’m coming in with ringworm tonight, but don’t worry about it. I won’t touch anyone.”
He’ll probably take a deep breath and go, “Yeeeeah, that’s a hard ‘no’ on that one chief.”
He’s doing you a favor. The last thing you need is people eyeing you suspiciously, wondering if your infecting them. Because you probably are.
Tell Your Coach So They Can Have “The Talk” with everyone else.
If you DM your coach or professor and tell them to have a nice January, it will hopefully be a good prompter for them to sit the team down and review hygiene. Often, people need to see or hear about the real consequences of letting your hygiene slip, even for one night.
Telling the gang that Louie is at home because he looks like his face was impregnated by a xenomorph might scare them into running home, vigorously scrubbing their bodies down, and hugging a loved one.
It’s also an opportunity to go over the basics. Wear sandals off the mat, wash your hands, wash your gi, that kind of stuff.
So take it from Me-From-The-Past. Respect your teammates, respect yourself, shower after class, and stay clean out there.
Thanks for hanging in there through a gross article. Hey, we have a new contributor to the site, Jordan Fernandez. Here’s his first article about why boxing is the best support system for BJJ.