On this day four years ago my life took a turn. I was a professional basketball player with big dreams and hopes for the future. During that time I was in Italy for try outs and I was about to sign a contract and play there. I was 18 years old and I couldn’t wait for the future. I couldn’t wait for my success as a professional athlete. Maybe I was spending a lot of time daydreaming about my future and not paying enough attention to the present, so I kind of tripped and lost it all.
On September,24 2007 during a basketball workout I dislocated my shoulder for the fifth time! It was one of the most painful injuries I’ve ever had. I remember lying on the gym floor, the pain was stabbing me-but I am not right sure which pain was stronger-the physical pain of the injury or the pain I felt deep in my soul,because I kind of forbode the consequences!Alwyn Cosgrove says that psychology trumps physiology every time-so maybe the suffering in my mind outweighted the suffering of my body!
To make the long story short-at the beginning I was sure that someday I will be back on the court. I did not let any doubt conquer my mind,but this injury wasn’t like the once before that. It took me about six months to start raising my hand up. I remember sitting in my room trying to dress up, and I just couldn’t do it. It was killing me that I had to ask for help even for the most simple daily tasks. People rarely think about the gifts they have- you take your body’s functions for granted, but when you are troubled to do it, you realize that health is the biggest gift you could have…
…so I did not succeed in getting back on the court! I was devastated. There were times I thought it was done with my life. I felt helpless! I loved basketball so much and even though I was capable of doing other things I just did not want to accept it. I was like a stubborn child wanting a candy…the difference was that I was a lost 18 year old girl, dying to play basketball.
I do not know how my family endured my unwillingness to live, but I bet I was pain in the ass. Everything I did was cry all day long. Fortunately even though I wanted to give up on life, I managed to find some strength and I started reading tons of stories about people that overcame illness and injuries and later on got back to what they loved. That really motivated me. It was like my daily dose of inspiration. One day I woke up and I decided that I want to be like them! I may not be able to achieve such great things but at least I could try. I may not be able to change million lives but at least I had a hold of my own life. I felt like it was my obligation to put myself back together and keep living not just existing.
That is how I found myself at the swimming pool. At the beginning it was so hard. I was used to being a star on the basketball court, and now I was somewhere, where everybody was so good. They were all- all star swimmers and I was like a grandmother in the sea- fighting to stay on top of the water. No one likes the feeling you get when you are standing there and everyone is watching you, waiting, because you can’t seem to grasp what they can so easily…the feeling you get when what you are doing goes against everything you’ve ever done, so much so that you can’t for the life of you figure out how to adapt to it, how to change, how to just let it wash over you, as you go with it!
I had really tough times in the swimming pool.”It burned me that I had to walk, while others ran”!At the beginning I really hated it. After every practice I was walking on the street,crying…feeling sorry about myself. I couldn’t figure it out how to fill the emptiness that the lack of basketball left in my heart. I did not see any perspective in the future but I kept on pushing myself out of my comfort zone. And thus, I managed to push through the pain…and it finally became fun. It helped me take my mind off the past and concentrate on something else.
Now I was part of the swimming community. I wasn’t even close to being as good as the other swimmers were but they really helped me. All of them were really dedicated to help me improve my swimming. Some of my teammates stayed with me after practice and helped me learn the right swimming technique. It was a lot of fun and in the same time I felt fullfilled. This was the time in my life, when I understood the true meaning of “everything happens for a reason”.
Looking back on the past,even if I could turn back the time and change something…I would live my life in the same way-I’d do the same mistakes and overcome the same hardships-because everything that happened to me, changed my view of life to a 180 degrees. Now I know that when life takes something away from you, it is because in the future you will receive something better.
I don’t swim anymore-maybe swimming and all the people I met there, were meant to teach me some lessons. It was just a temporary teacher in my life. Now I do what I love. I am far from reaching my goals-but at least I am on the way! I learned that it’s not always about trying or forcing…sometimes it’s about allowing! That’s what I did! I allowed myself to overcome the past and enjoy the present!… And you…keep in mind that “great lessons are not always obvious!”(JC Deen)