I was sitting in my freshman geometry class, talking to some friends about injuries. We were talking about how none of us have ever gotten injured in our entire life. I had been playing sports since I was in the sixth grade, and nothing ever happened. In my life I had never broken a bone. I had never even sprained an ankle. I had never worn any kind of brace, taped an ankle, or talked to a trainer about any muscle issue or pain issue. When kids would lay on the court, I always thought they were fine or looking for a little attention.
My thought was that they needed to rush off the court because they were dripping sweat all over the hardwood floor, and they were taking too much time up. I used to assume they were killing our momentum when they would fall down and cry because some schools have done that. When a player was injured and laying on the court holding whatever was harming them, I always got annoyed with that player. Coaches would have to come out to the court and help them off the floor, and I always hated that. Crying on the court was not an option for me. I always thought it was embarrassing, until January 5th, 2012.
January 5th, 2012 was a life changing experience. It all started at the Winner National Guard Armory. This game was not a game fans wanted to miss. We were playing the Todd County Falcons. They have always been a big rival for every sports team in Winner, since they are generally great athletes. Basketball is Todd County’s sport. A bad basketball team at Todd County is not acceptable. The gym opened at five o’clock for the JV game. Usually girls’ basketball is not that popular, but the stands were filled before there freshman game started. Todd County brings a huge crowd, and Winner is a supportive town also.
The gym sounded haotic as we were getting ready for the varsity game. The crowd roared during the game. People were yelling at the refs, complaining about the calls, and cheering on their teams. We knew the game would be one of the most intense games of that year. Finally the buzzer went off, and the JV game was over. Nerves were streaming through my entire body. My heart started to race. We grabbed each other’s hands, like always, and we started our team prayer. Keep us safe and injury free is always mentioned during this prayer and for some reason | remember feeling weird and thinking about my conversation with the guys from geometry class.
Our music started to scream from the speakers and next thing I know we are running out. Warm ups pass by just like every other game. The gym feels like it is one thousand degrees. After the twenty minutes of warming up we run to the locker room. Mr. Aaker tells his expectations and goals. After our locker room talk we walk back out to the gym. The crowd is going crazy at this point. The high school students are already cheering and ranting things to the other crowd and the atmosphere felt amazing. Whistles have been blown, and the ball has been thrown up in the air.
The ball fell into the hands of my teammate. First quarter flashes by. The game had been back and forth. Second quarter rolls around. There is six minutes and 12 seconds on the clock. I was standing at half court. One of the Todd County girls was taking the ball out, and we pulled our press on. She over throws the ball and it comes directly to me. All I could think was it is a fast break, so|| need to push the ball up the court. I start dribbling the basketball. I could barely here the ball bouncing and out of nowhere I hear a teammate yelling my name.
I look over and her girl had been screened, so she was wide open. I immediately quit dribbling and I plant my left foot in front of my right and I twist to my left to pass the ball to her. I felt something funny pinch in my knee, and I instantly fell down. The ball never reached my teammate, and it was picked up from an opposing player. I tried to get up, because I knew I had to rush down there to play defense. As I put all my weight on my right knee tears started to stream, and I realized I could not get up. The ref called a timeout, and Mr. Aaker walked out to me.
Tawny sit down,” Mr. Aaker said. The following morning my parents woke me up, and we rushed to Sioux Falls. My appointment started at ten o’clock, and we did not leave until eight. My parents were speeding as fast as possible, and we ended up making it to the appointment on time. High hopes were flying through my head, and I was praying for a sprain. Then I would sit out for two to three weeks and play again. Doctor Smith, from the Orthopedic Institute, walked into my room and started doing weird bends with my knee. “Tawny I have got bad news.
You tore your ACL for sure and possibly meniscus,” said the doctor. Tears started rushing down my face, and there was no way of stopping them. Surgery happened January 25th, 2012. The amnesia made me sick to my stomach, so we stayed the night. The following day I tried to walk up the stairs at my house and I slipped and, the pain I felt that day was excruciating. Later on that day I went I went to physical therapy. They cleaned my knee up and forced me to push through pain. The exercises were awful. After three weeks the swelling and pain left me.
Physical therapy helped in countless ways. Tearing my ACL and my meniscus taught me unfamiliar lessons. I was compelled to learn a higher level of patience. Rather than snapping at my parents or my siblings when I was in pain, or wanted an item of food, or my computer, or my pain medication, I learned to ask politely and be appreciative no matter when they gave me this item, considering they had been acting as my slave for the past couple weeks. I learned that I was not invincible and that if I had a poor attitude, the entire day would slowly crumble, and be wrecked.
Staying positive during this six month recovery was onerous, however it made the days easier and less stressful for friends, family, and my siblings. Rehab was extremely difficult for me to overcome. I certainly learned to push through the pain and accomplish what my doctor, or physical therapist told me to complete, since they knew what was best for me. Sophomore year rolled around and I was still learning countless lessons from this injury. I learned that I was behind every other girl. The girls were faster, they could lift heavier weight, they could jump higher, and they were flat out more superior than I was.
Practicing for only two hours a day was not enough. Seven o’clock mornings started turning into five thirty mornings. My sleep switched to lifting, and running. Sophomore year taught me what real work was. The greatest lesson I learned was to play with no regrets. I came to my senses and realized I was not flawless. I could be injured. Every game since January 5th to now I tell myself to work as hard as I can. One day it can be taken away and it had been for me, and if that were to ever happen again, this time I would act satisfied that I gave it my all and tried my best to not slack.