Sunday, May 10, 2015

Blog Post #12

With 20 Time coming to an end, there's a lot for me to look back and reflect on. I started this project wanting to help my knee get better so I could be prepared for the soccer season. I also intended to look up ACL prevention tips and learn more about it. I failed at my goal, but I did everything that I planned on doing and worked at it as hard as I could, which is what really matters.

My beginning trail of thought for this whole experience was that the lesson I learned was about allowing myself to fail. Not being on the best team and being okay with it. Accepting that, even though I worked hard, sometimes I can't bounce back right to where I was in the amount of time that I did. I planned to apply this to other aspects within my life. Since I am a perfectionist, it was the perfect lesson for me to realize that I can't always reach my goal. I might not get that 4.0 and all A's that I want and I might not get into the main college I want to go to, and that's okay.

That concept is one that I have problems grasping. I'm very stubborn and hardheaded so I always feel that I know what I want and there's no other way. If I were to not succeed and get that goal that I worked for, I break down. In this situation, I definitely broke down. It was one of the harder things that I have had to deal with. Coping with trying to improve my knee and get used to playing with it wasn't easy. After years and years of playing travel soccer and waiting to play on South and get that varsity letter was ruined all because of a serious injury that I had never had problems with before. Even though I worked hard to get where I was at tryouts, since I didn't make the team I wanted, I regretted playing at all. I thought that I should have waited another year and kept working until I was truly 100% and would be on the team I wanted and not risk hurting myself before then. But, at the end of it, I thought that it was worth the lesson.

However, now I don't feel that way. I got hurt at a practice and definitely tore something. It's still undetermined and I'm getting an MRI tomorrow, but I know that it's nothing good. Unfortunately, I can't help but regret playing because of this happening again. I guess it would've happened one way or another on a different team, but I feel that no matter what, I would've had more time to really build myself back up without jumping right into it due to tryouts. Now, I'll never be able to play soccer again since it's just not worth it. Obviously, my body and knee just can't heal to the extent that it needs to be able to play again, which can just be the case for some people after injuries. I can't imagine my life without soccer, but I'm going to have to. And, I'll have to try and handle redoing everything I just did with surgery, physical therapy, etc.

So, now I also am learning from this project how to let go. I don't give up easily, which is a good thing sometimes. But, in this case, sometimes it's better to just realize that it's my time to let go of this part of me and find something else. I'm still in the process of learning how to let go since I haven't even gotten the official details of the injury. It just hasn't set in yet and I guess I haven't accepted it. I'm still holding on to that little hope that it's nothing. But, this is too bad to not be something. So, when I find out what happened, I'll have to figure out how I am going to say goodbye to this huge part of my life.

Over this past year, I learned how to fail and how to give up. They both sound negative, but are actually exactly what I need. Being too much of something is never good, and I'm definitely too extreme when it comes to not letting myself stop and fail. But, now I've experienced and learned how to. My goal now is to find another passion. And, if I fail a few times and find that I don't like something, I'll be able to give up and go to something else due to the lesson that I've learned this year.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Blog Post #11

It's now finally the time for me to start thinking about what to talk about during my 20 time presentation. I thought, at the beginning of the year, that my speech would go a lot differently than it will. I thought that I would have an amazing talk about how working hard pays off and striving for the impossible can become possible. However, since I ultimately failed and didn't make varsity, it'll go a lot differently. There are many lessons that I learned throughout this project. I learned that no matter how hard you work, sometimes your goal cannot be reached. Regardless, it's important to make the best of what happens. Even though I'm not on the team that I anticipated and tried to reach for with my injury, it's important for me to try my hardest on the team that I am on and improve my knee to be ready for next year. Not only can I apply this lesson to my soccer career, but also in my academic life. I've been a perfectionist my whole existence. In second grade, it would take me forever to write since I had to make every letter perfect. Obviously I've loosened up a little since then, but I still have a hard time not getting the amazing grade or being in the best classes. Through not making the best team due to a setback, I've learned to deal with it and deal with not always being the best in school. Sometimes it's better to fail a little and work through it because that's what experiencing life is all about. In my talk, I want to highlight how this experience and goal with soccer has taught me all of these things in more aspects than just the team I make. I want to continue to loosen up and be okay with not reaching my goals all of the time like I've been used to. I still have a lot to think about for my talk but I hope to keep building on my ideas. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blog Post #10

Tryouts were a couple of weeks ago. It was definitely intense with a lot of competition. Playing isn't as bad as I thought with the brace on, though. I still have some ball skills and feel pretty comfortable. The hardest thing is running. The brace has a lot of weight and really limits how I move, so it takes ten times the amount of effort to run, not even that fast, as it did for me before. I hope that that comes with getting used to the brace because I used to be pretty fast and now I can feel myself going slow while I play. But, back to tryouts. I thought that it would lower my confidence when I saw how restricted I was, but I actually felt fine. It made me feel better since I realized that I was practically the same player as before. It really felt amazing to play again. But, then there was the pressure. I thought that if I went out there and played like before I would make varsity since I was on JV as a freshmen and would just go to the next step. However, that was definitely not the case. I played nonstop in a scrimmage to compete with two open spots for varsity. Talk about nerve-wracking when I didn't even think I was up to tryout at all, but then to go up against people so competitively? Crazy. I did well though. And that's really all that matters, feeling comfortable playing again. I didn't get one of those two spots on varsity. Disappointing, yes. I thought that after JV, unless I really digressed that much, I'd go up to varsity, but I was looked at as if I was in the grade I was in, a sophomore, and supposed to make JV. It's definitely frustrating, but life will go on.

It was really hard for a week. There's a lot of sadness after I've worked my whole life to make varsity before I'm supposed to and I successfully got onto the right track by making JV early, but then had that taken away because of an injury. Maybe it wasn't even the injury, I don't know. But, it's sad after all of the work I put in and after all that I went through to even make it to try outs when my knee could have had more healing time instead of being rushed to play suddenly. It's a good lesson though. Sometimes, no matter how much work you put in, things might not work out because the situation just wasn't right. Numbers, unfairness, an unavoidable injury...whatever it was, got in the way no matter how much work, time, and pain I put in to trying to come out the other side and make varsity regardless of all of it. I'm still sad, but I learned a lesson and now have other goals. I can continue working out and trying to build my knee up, since there's always room for even more improvement. I need to find ways to help myself get used to the brace and get my stamina and pace back to what it was. Hopefully I don't hurt my knee again. That's probably my main goal. Now that would be horrible.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Blog Post #9

So, tomorrow is tryouts and I'm extremely nervous. I have been dreading this moment since I tore my ACL. It's even scarier than I expected because I thought that I would be way more ready before tryouts than I am right now, but I guess I'll never be mentally ready. My knee feels strong and definitely ready to play, but my mind is timid and feels as though I've forgotten how to play, when really I haven't. When I play tomorrow, I have to just be confident and pretend like I'm playing before all of this happened. I really hope that I accomplish my whole goal for this project and make varsity, but if I don't it'll be interesting to keep going with this project and update on how I'm improving. If I do make it, then I can update on how things go and maybe jump into a few other aspects of this project. For example, tips on how to keep an ACL strong and maybe even mental tips on how to go back to sports after this kind of trauma. At the beginning of this project, I thought that I would research and post tips on how to physically go back to a sport and rebuild an ACL, but after going through the process of really trying to go back, I've realized that it's all mental. The emotions of an athlete while going back are probably the hardest things to overcome. Questions like "Why did this have to happen to me?" and "How will I ever get better and back to the way I was?" are what stopped me, and I'm guessing stops others as well. I want to try and post advice on how someone can try and get over the sadness that comes with trying to get over the past and how they used to play and try to just focus on how to get better as the player they are now, after this injury. It can help me too, since I'm still not even over trying to face that I may never be the same, or maybe I will, but will have to learn to adjust to a different way of playing. So I plan to do that and also hope to do my best at tryouts and be happy with whatever results, even if I don't reach my goal of varsity.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Blog Post #8

During the past two weeks, I have been working really hard. Every day after school I work out. I do stuff with weights that the athletic trainer advised me to do, mostly stuff to improve my hips shifting, since those are the movements that could potentially twist my knee. So, things like squats and lunges. Also, I've been running on the treadmill. For a little while, it hurt when I would step down, but the pain has gone away the more that I've been doing it. Also, every time that I do it, I'm able to stay on longer. I've also been using machines that will help strengthen my knee. Along with the work in the weight room, I've been going to the gymnasium at a school to do ball work. I set up cones, do moves around them, shoot at mats, and pass with myself and the wall. It's all been getting better each time that I go and I get more used to the brace each time also. However, tryouts are in two weeks, and I'm still not nearly ready. I can do all of this stuff alone, but I still can't even imagine actually playing in a game. Just a scrimmage scares me right now. So, that's really not good considering I should be completely confident for how close try outs are. I'm in a tough position because if I try out, I'll be going not at my best, but if I skip out this year and wait until next, I feel like a quitter and like I'm missing out. It's hard for me to even think about since I would rather not try out until I'm at my best. Then, I'd be able to keep doing what I'm doing for the rest of the year, play travel soccer next fall, and be one hundred percent ready by next year for try outs. But, then I don't make varsity as a sophomore which is hard to do and it was the track that I was on, which is so frustrating. Also, I think about college when it comes to this. But, varsity is intense and, if I even made it, I don't want to go back not ready at all and blow out my knee all over again. I'm just going to keep working hard and see what two weeks does, but it's ultimately about tough decisions at this point. I have no clue what to do.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Blog Post #7

This week started with me being so excited. I finally scheduled a practice and I was going to get my brace. I thought that I would start actually playing and getting onto the right track so that I'd be prepared for tryouts. The practice started out great. Of course, I was rusty and wasn't my best. But I shrugged it off since it was my first time playing in almost a year and the first time with a messed up knee. I started to get more comfortable which was surprising me. However, all it took was getting too comfortable because then I forgot to be careful and found myself stepping the wrong way, hearing a crack, and feeling pain in my knee.

My first thought was, "This can't be happening. I totally just tore my ACL again. I never want to play again. This is not worth that surgery all over again." But, after settling down and thinking rationally, my coach and parents looked at the knee to see if anything even really happened to it. Every one was saying that it was fine, but I was still worried. It felt better than when I had actually tore it and I could walk, but it was definitely a good enough scare to set me back a lot. I let it rest for a few days since my knee was obviously shocked from the sudden work out. I worked it too hard and pushed myself too much because I was way too anxious to get back out and play full force. But, I need to realize that I can't play the way I used to the second I step back onto the field. I have to ease into it. I felt soreness for a few days and sharp pain every once in a while, but just let it rest.

Now, I still feel the pains but it's a little better. I got my brace and decided that it was time to break it in and get used to the feeling of playing with it. I went to a gym, as in basketball court gym, not workout gym, and played around with a ball. It went well and the brace, even though slightly holding me back, made me feel more secure. However, this workout session discouraged me a lot. It really hurt to move certain ways. Now, when I play, I feel like I can barely move because I can sense that it will hurt my knee. I can't move fast without feeling a sharp pain. I'm being held back mentally, but also, my knee really is bothering me from just playing. My Dad keeps telling me that that's how it's going to be and I just have to get used to it feeling that way, but I'm worried that I'll never get used to it or that maybe something is wrong with my knee again and it isn't supposed to feel that way.

Overall, this week hasn't been a good one. It was supposed to move me a step forward by getting my brace and finally actually playing, but I took a bunch of steps backwards instead. It's hard to face that I might not be ready yet, which could hold me back from not only being on varsity this year, but not even trying out at all. What's even harder to face is that I might not be able to play like myself ever again and it will forever feel that way when I play. I know that it will get better as I practice more, but I don't see how it's possible to ever be able to play the way I used to with it feeling the way that it felt when I played during the past week. I need to work harder than ever now to hopefully start feeling confident and content with my playing again.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Blog Post #6

Over the past week, I haven't done much. It was mostly due to midterms and the snow. I can't really go running anymore with the ice on the ground, so I decided that it's time to stop focusing so much on working out and to start thinking about actually playing. I went and got fitted for a brace, which should be done in about a week, so until then, I need to work out at the gym or do something that just prepares me for playing. To begin my playing again, I'm going to go to practices with my old coach, since my sister has practice with him right after the older girls, so it's perfect. I'm a little nervous about it but mostly excited to just play. For actual games, I'm really scared. After practicing for a little, I need to play in the South winter league, and then tryouts are right around the corner at the beginning of March. Time is passing really fast, so I need to get a move on and get things done so that I'm ready. Right now, I'm not even close to being ready which is why I'm excited to just go to at least one practice that will hopefully reassure me that I'm capable of returning to soccer. However, I still have to wait until the brace comes. I'm hoping it doesn't restrict me too much, but makes me feel secure enough that I can still be aggressive since I'm sure it'll be a problem getting used to people coming at me and me having to go at other players. That's what is very conflicting...being scared that the brace is going to be too big for me to even play, but at the same time being worried about it not making me feel confident enough that my knee will be fine. All I know is that I just need to play right now since there are way too many mysteries making me nervous that can be answered once I step out on the field.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Over the Holidays...

It's insanely easy to get distracted during the Holidays with all of the excitement. At the beginning of my break, I found myself waking up every morning saying, "Oh yeah, I'll totally go running today!" And then I wouldn't do it at all. After pushing aside the work I needed to be doing for my knee, I decided I needed to step it up once Christmas ended. It scared me because when I went running again for the first time after Christmas, I found that it was really hard. I got tired very quickly and my knee was getting sore. That made me realize that I really needed to stop procrastinating.

Once I started running regularly again, thankfully, my stamina picked back up. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to test the Nike Running App, so that is definitely my goal for this week. I think that it will really help me to track my progress, so I need to remember! Another thing that I found that helps is going running with a friend. It pushes me to actually get up and do it since I made the plans with someone else and it's harder to stop since I don't want to look like a weakling in front of them! Another person being there really helps me push myself and get a lot of good running time in. Besides running, I also went to a workout training session with some of the South soccer team. I thought that it was really hard because I don't have a lot of strength in my arms already and especially not when I haven't been playing sports the past eight months and not every day like I have been my whole life. So, the weight lifting wasn't my favorite. But that's something I hope to improve on in future workout sessions and when I get back into the sport. The workouts that included leg strength went pretty well, though. I could tell that the physical therapy I did for six months helped because we did exercises at the training that I was familiar with.

As for actually playing, I'm feeling really nervous about that. I touched a ball a little over the break and found that I still have most of the ball skills that I had before. However, my knee felt really exposed and I was nervous to do really fast moves, so I'm hoping that the brace I'm going to get will help that insecurity. I had a doctor's appointment last week and, finally, got the clearing to play! But, I have to ease into it. I'm going to get my brace within the next week, which makes me nervous because I'm scared that it will be big and restrict my playing and make me extremely slow. I need to start training with a ball and get used to the actual ball and contact all over again because I signed up for the South indoor league that actually started today...but I didn't play in it obviously. I hope I can in a few weeks because tryouts are creeping up really fast.

Just saying all of this makes me really nervous. Of course, I'm nervous about injuring my knee again and starting all over, but that's not what's making me REALLY nervous. It's the fear that I'm going to be really bad at playing and lose a huge part of me. Writing this also makes me realize how I'm not ready at all for a contact sport and makes me feel like I really need to go outside in the snow and start playing with a ball to reassure myself. But, my goal for this week is to somehow train with my old team or with my sister's soccer team, since her coach is my old coach, so that I can start to feel ready for this South indoor league. Hopefully, by easing back into the sport, this stress will be gone and I will eventually be back to normal. Until them I'm a nervous wreck!