Picture this: You’re holding up the first place plaque with your soccer team. Deciding between where you’re going for college and loving your sport
Now… picture this: you’re stuck with crutches in order to move from place to place. You’re sitting in physical therapy for hours on end, sitting on the couch icing your ankle while watching your team play on live stream, going to the bathroom becomes a hassle and after all that, you can forget about getting up the stairs on your own. You’re missing months of training instead you’re sitting on the couch trying to catch another piece of popcorn in your mouth.
After not being able to play soccer, the only lifestyle I have ever known, for about 18 months,and not knowing if I would ever get to play again, I have not only grown to love the game even more but I have learned to never take anything for granted. Things can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye.
When an injury occurs, it becomes a lot more than just being injured. Something you feel defines you is taken away from you. The team practices you go to routinely become individual physical therapy sessions, and seeing how far you can run turns into how far you can walk after surgery.
I can tell you that when you get injured, you’ll probably cry a lot. You’ll start to ask, “Why me?” You’ll start to wonder where you went wrong, what you could have done differently, and you’ll become somewhat bitter (you can deny it, but its possible, even likely). You’ll feel left out when you can’t compete, you’ll feel lost without your normal routine, and you’ll experience both physical and mental pains.
Being positive is easy when things are going right, but what happens when things go wrong? I can tell you from first hand experience that being negative will get you absolutely no where. You can sit and wallow but that will not make you heal any faster.
I feel I know that every athlete would be better if they experienced an injury, or be placed in a position of adversity because it teaches us a lot more about ourselves than we could have ever imagined. We have to take a backseat and ask ourselves many questions that otherwise might not have come up.
You’re going to have to ask yourself, “How much am I willing to work to get back to where I used to be?” You’re going to have to do things that aren’t easy. You’re going to have to put in the tedious work that no one wants to do in order to receive results. You’re going to lose skill, endurance, and you’ll probably lose motivation too. This is where you’ll start to learn how much strength you actually have. Like I said, it’s easy to be strong when things are going well, but it’s hard to show strength when things aren’t going in your favor.
I know this sounds scary, but trust me getting injured is a life-changing experience… You’re going to learn to find an inner strength inside of you that you didn’t know existed. People talk about “reaching the next level” in sports physically, but you’ll find that you will reach another level mentally. You will find this strength on the days when you don’t feel like working ,the times you push through…not on the days when you are watching which hurt, but in those times when you push yourself to get back even when you don’t want to.
You’ll learn to handle things differently that you didn’t know you had to do prior to getting hurt. Competing and practicing allowed other parts of your life to lose some importance. Now, it’s time to work on those parts even more.
You’ll learn truly how to be a teammate. Since you can’t help your team in competitions, you’re going to have to help them in other ways. You’ll learn to support them as you watch from another point of view. You’ll learn to cheer for them on the sidelines instead of pushing when you’re right there next to them. You’ll learn to contribute to your team in other ways besides helping them win.
But above all else, you’ll learn that what you thought was a punishment wasn’t really a punishment at all. When you’re back out there doing what you love, with your team, practicing, and competing, you’ll find a newfound appreciation and gratitude that will push you to that next level physically and mentally. And guess what? You’ll have many new hobbies, a lot more patience, wisdom, and a whole lot of strength you didn’t have before.
Sincerely, Meggy xoxo