Somebody once said that "injuries are nothing to be ashamed of." But what if that injury forced you to make a decision that would change your life forever? What if the decision you chose eats you alive every day, and you constantly ask yourself- "what if?"
For athletes everywhere, there is really no love like the love they have for their game. It's the early mornings, overtime practices, sore muscles, huge wins, etc. that keep us coming back for more. It's the "sorry I can't, I have practice" excuse that makes you smile a little more each time you have to use it. The love of the game is like no love you will ever find, because it's a love that you think can never hurt you.
This is until you finally do get hurt. You feel a sharp sense of betrayal, and ask "why me?" You feel jealous. You feel pain. There are some people lucky enough to roll an ankle or pull a muscle and have to sit out for a week, but there are others like myself, who have to sit out forever.
I wake up every day wishing I was up earlier to be thrown on the end-line for sprints, wishing I was sore from a tough practice the day before, wishing my knee still worked. No matter how hard I try to wish, I know I will never have my senior night with the girls who went through it all with me. I will never have those locker room dance-offs or post-game rush of a win. I will never be on that field again.
For me, and many other athletes, there comes a time when your future might no longer include the sport you love. And while this typically happens your senior year due to graduation, sometimes it happens far too early due to an injury. Your future relies on your body to be healthy and functioning. Your future needed you to go in for that surgery. Your future needs your knee. And in perspective, your future is always the most important- but with this type of regret, it doesn't seem believable. I am hurt, not because the game turned its back on me- but because I had to turn my back on the game.
While myself and others have this hurt, it is so vital for us all to remember that the sport will always be a part of us- but it will never define us. Making the cut can be the best thing to happen to you, or in fact the most painful. We have the best memories with the best friends, and whether its chance or choice- it has to always come to an end. But like Winnie the Pooh once said, "how lucky are we to have found something to make saying goodbye so hard?"