I had been an athlete my whole life. Sports always came naturally to me and sort of became a way of life. During the week you would find me at practice or putting in extra work training on my own. On weekends I would more than likely be participating in tournaments, whether it be hockey or lacrosse. I had goals and collegiate dreams to fulfill and I worked day in and day out so that I could achieve them.
When training and being active, one does not typically think what a privilege it is to be healthy and have the ability to fully participate in whichever sport or activity they choose. It is almost impossible for someone healthy to take on an “injured” mindset and see the work and game they love through that lens. It isn’t until one sustains an injury themselves that opens their eyes to the heartbreak and disappointment that comes from getting injured after the countless hours of work one has put in to get to that point.
It Hits: As a Junior in high school I unfortunately injured my right shoulder multiple times during the year. My aggressiveness and physicality took its toll as shoulder dislocations became my worst nightmare. After the fifth dislocation that year I was in a pretty rough place. My life as I knew it, my life of sports, kept getting put on hold because of this annoying and frustrating occurrence. What was I doing wrong? Was I not training enough? Was I not doing enough physical therapy? Or was I possibly doing too much? How come it seemed like no matter what I did, no matter how hard I worked, my stupid shoulder would some how manage to screw everything up?
Enlightenment: During this rough patch, I definitely felt myself lose some confidence in my athletic ability due to not being able to play and practice nearly as much as before. Like previously stated, this was a way of life for me and it was very difficult for me to sit idly by. Luckily for me (kind of), my Dad had experienced the same plague of shoulder issues and had been through a similar rough patch before. He came to me one day and at the time, gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever been given. He told me that, it’s not about where you are now but where you are going. He explained that though I may be injured now, what really matters is what I am going to do to get back to where I was and beyond. There was no time to sit around and sulk over my loosely put together shoulder (Thanks for passing those genes on to me, Dad) but I should rather embrace this hiccup and become stronger.
The Difference Maker: The way my Dad helped me was different from when someone is merely sympathetic because he actually challenged me. He did not simply provide his condolences and two cents and forgot about it. Instead, he called me to action. He demanded I actually do something about it rather than simply comfort me. His communication style really allowed me to feel understood because he was able to empathize and relate. I knew that he had previous similar experience in his life and it allowed his advice to carry that much more weight. He also served as an inspiration to me knowing that he was able to recover and still be just as active as he was before. This experience helped me see beyond the now and dive deeper into long term plans to remain healthy, active, and happy.