You could feel the excitement in the air. It was thick enough you could almost grasp it with your hand. Over three hundred college scouts. This was my chance, my opportunity. Everything I worked for since third grade. I stepped on the court, and took a deep breath. ‘Don’t hold back, put all you got out there.’ The line repeated in my head. Three minutes into the game, my world was shattered. I went up for the jump shot, got hit from the side, came down wrong, and my knee was done. It had collapsed, crumpled. Cry. It was all I could do. It felt like a firework inside my knee. One that has a big boom and small crackling afterwards. The physical pain was excruciating, but the pain piercing my heart, knowing basketball and I would be parted, hurt even more. I lay on the court, and left my tears on the wooden floor.
Numerous hospital visits, various knee braces, crutches, pills, and eventually surgery. I was supposed to be on the court, I was supposed to be with the rest of my team. Not in hospital beds and on crutches. I was supposed to be living my life, breathing again, my pulse felt like it had stopped completely, there was no basketball. No life, no breathing, no pulse. Basketball had kept my world spinning, and it had abruptly stopped. I was supposed to be on the court with the rest of my team. Not on the bench watching, crying. I wanted it back. I never realized how much I loved it, until it was gone.
I used my passion and my heart to get through hours of agonizing physical therapy. But with each throbbing, with each burning, with each twinge of pain, I remembered I was that much closer. I recognized how much I missed basketball. I needed to get back. I had to get back. After a year, I was back.
The first game I played in after one year, I felt whole. I was truly happy. Second game, all was going well…until my knee collapsed again. As I crumbled to the floor, I yelled in frustration. I lay, a heap on the court. My sister ran to me and held me in her arms. Through sobs I managed to say over and over, “I can’t do this again! I can’t! I just can’t.”
Torn ligaments again. Now I run. Now I lift weights. Now I am doing everything in my power to get back. To get my life back. I already lost my junior year. I don’t want to lose my senior year too.
You never realize how much you love something until its gone. In a single instant, of moment, basketball was gone. But for me it wasn’t just once. Twice. Twice it happened. Twice it was gone. The second time hurt more then the first. I had become used to suffocating. But the two games I played in allowed me a small gulp of air. And left me wanting more. I am still wanting more.