Track has been my favorite hobby since I was in elementary school. Nothing could compare to the wind rustling through my hair as I ran, the sun shining down on me, the feeling of complete bliss and accomplishment as I crossed the finish line. Every spring, I lay in wait for the elementary track meet where I would prove I was the fastest girl in my grade (there was only two of us, so winning didn't really prove anything). Every race was a chance for me to do better–to become better.
High school rolled around and I was still as committed to track as I was when I was eight. The season was going well and I was on my way to do big things. The only thing on my mind was state; I didn't even think about the possibility of injury. The sprint relay came along, and like always, I passed all the competition with alarming speed and grace. My pride swelled with each distant cheer from my teammates and friends. It was just about time to hand off to my second leg when things went horribly wrong. I ran up on my teammate which caused me to step out of my lane. Panicking, I pulled my leg back into my lane and stopped. I heard a loud POP! and I went down in searing pain. My coach and other teammates ran up to me after the race was finished to help me off the track.
My coach couldn't determine what was wrong with me, so I hobbled over to our setup to rest until my next event. I ran the 800 relay with none of my former grace and ease, but I finished and help qualify my team for the area. That's when my life turned upside down. I went from being a regional qualifier to not being able to run in a matter of minutes, and I didn't know how to contain myself. This sparked months of rage and despair which made it hard for others to be around me.
Eventually, I started to realize that my sports career wasn't the only trait I possessed that made me unique. There were so many extracurriculars I was able to invest my time in when I wasn't able to do sports. It took some time, but I realized that my identity doesn't come from the organizations I'm a part of, but the type of person I am. Through my recovery time, I was able to get to know myself and rediscover some old hobbies, like reading. I was also equipped with the knowledge that good things don't come effortlessly. Instead, I have to fight for the things I desire.
The most important lesson I learned from tearing my ACL was this: I am capable of so much more than I ever imagined. My determination to overcome this set back showed me a type of resilience and persistence I never knew I possessed. I am strong, not because of my physical abilities, rather, my mental capabilities. These are the few lessons I hold in my heart as I finish up this year's track season. Events didn't play out the way I imagined but I'm thankful for every opportunity I've had to do what I love.