Sports injuries are hard. Being physically unable to partake in the one thing that your life revolved around for over 10 years is hard. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have the right to be angry and upset over my injuries anymore but unfortunately they are not a thing of the past. One ACL and meniscus repair surgery led to another ACL and meniscus repair surgery which led to a third meniscus repair. There’s been a breach in my kinetic chain and unfortunately my body is still suffering the consequences. I am still planning when to repair the tear in my shoulder’s labrum. So while it would be ideal to “move on”, it’s unrealistic and unsafe. I have to be conscious of each movement I make and how I’m making it to avoid a clumsy slip-up that would land me another surgery and extensive physical therapy prescription. I am very appreciative of my body and all of its capabilities but I can’t help but wish some of my joints weren’t reinforced with titanium screws and anchors. Again, this all leaves me in a weird place mentally. To feel so affected still while there are people fighting much harder battles seems selfish. But I think I’m coming to learn that everyone has the right to hurt, regardless of the degree of their pain, whether it’s physical or emotional.
The decision to quit soccer was made for me and out of my control. This left me with a competitive void to fill and I have been seeking outlets to fill that void for years. The feeling of pushing your body’s limits to reach a level you didn’t think was possible all while making your teammates, coaches, and family proud is like none other.
Last week on this trip, we climbed Montserrat, a towering rocky peak located in Catalonia, Spain. This was not an easy climb especially since we started our journey in the sun’s prime hours. But I did it. And for the first time since I was forced to quit soccer, I felt some of those same exciting feelings. Physically, I thrive off of competition and challenge. There was a point along the hike where I was feeling incredibly fatigued and drained, questioning how much further we had to the top. Leila, the guide, announced that the boys’ choir would be performing at the Monastery located at the top of the mountain in 10 minutes and if we wanted to see it then we really had to pick up the pace. This was just what I needed, an external motivator to challenge my body and challenge my ability. I increased my stride, put my head down and used all that was left to see that choir. I made it in time and the reward was breathtaking. I pushed my body’s limits to reach a new level (literally) and I made it injury free. I found an activity that was legitimately taxing and that I felt I could compete equally amongst others. I intend to seek out other opportunities that I can still fully participate in safely in order to bring back those feelings because working to reach a physical goal again felt amazing.