Junior year of high school, my friends all received their driver’s licenses. My friend Jenna would drive to school everyday, go to classes, and head off to work for a couple hours. I looked up to Jenna, since my dad drove me to and from school everyday. My parents would not allow me to work during the school year, claiming I would be distracted. But Jenna had a sense of independence about her that I was clearly lacking. I could not see past my own sheltered life.
My beliefs changed on June 18, 2006 when I entered a basketball game on a hot, sunny day. This game felt like every other one before it, yet something was different. Towards the end of the second half, the intensity of play began to pick up. One of my teammates fumbled the ball and I ran toward the sideline to regain possession. At the same time, a girl from the opposing team went for the ball as well. I was hit. As I lay on the ground writhing in pain, I thought, “Why me?” That day I tore my Anterior Cruciate Ligament. I learned I would need surgery to play basketball again. I had a decision to make; either go through an immense amount of pain to reconstruct my torn ACL, or live through the rest of my life unable to run or play basketball again.
I believe in looking out for myself. Tearing my ACL taught me that I am not invincible and that nothing in life will simply work itself out. It is up to me to decide the path that my life will take because honestly, no one else cares. No one cares whether or not I play basketball again or if my knee works properly. There will always be another girl stronger and faster than myself and only I can change that.
The injury struck during the summer before my senior year of high school, and my season to shine. I spent ten years of my life on the court playing twelve months a year. While sitting on a cold brown table with my knee wrapped in ice, I was left alone to choose my fate.
The surgery changed my outlook on life. I depended on myself to get stronger. If I chose to take a day off from physical training, no one else suffered or felt the guilt. I learned that I needed to work for what I want. Before my injury, I depended on my parents for everything. I saw my older sister go off to college and live on her own five hours away from home and thought, “That will never be me”.
I’m now three and a half hours away from home. After my recovery, I worked for my driver’s license. I got a job and worked five days a week. I’m sure I could have been happy living a sheltered life, but who would have cared?
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