Sometimes it doesn’t feel real and others it feels like my journey ended so long ago that it’s barely a part of me anymore. But then I remember that the journey isn’t over and it won’t ever be over. It still consumes every bit of who I am.
But just because the initial sting of my experience leading me to a life without the sport I love is gone, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt. It still does. It hurts all of the time.
I look down at my scars and they remind that my scholarship is gone and something as simple as a pick-up game isn’t possible for me anymore. Sometimes I close my eyes hoping that when I open them, the scars and the entire experience will be erased. It’s still very hard to accept this reality.
It’s like a deep disbelief. I know it’s real- but regardless of how much time passes, I still don’t want it to be real. To this day, I forget that I no longer have to report back to FAU for pre-season and my heart continues to latch on to the need to play every morning when I wake up.
How is it that my mind still believes that I can play, but my body will not allow it? Why is it that every fiber in my body tingles at the thought of practicing and playing with my team? I am fully aware that being an athlete is no longer my reality, so why do I still have a hard time truly believing it?
I’m told that this is normal. But it doesn’t feel normal. Time is supposed to heal all, right? Shouldn’t I be over this by now? I should, I’m sure.
It’s been two full years since I’ve stepped on the field. That should be more than enough time to accept this and move forward. But I still find myself going to the fields and sitting in the middle of the center circle with my head in my hands and tears rolling down my cheeks.
It was a blessing in so many ways and a curse in others. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it frustrated me, and it awed me. How could I possibly let go of something that intense and that incredible?
The more I write about this, the angrier I get. Why did this happen to me? Why couldn’t I have finished my college career and why did I have to spend so much time watching my team instead of playing with them? Was there a lesson I hadn’t learned or was there something more I could have done as a player or a person?
No matter how much time passes, the pain is still very real. It hurts knowing that I’ll never be fully recovered and that I’ll never touch a ball competitively again.
My mind still believes that my scars are temporary and that my reality is simply an illusion. But the scars will always be there and no matter what I do, the reality is permanent. Truthfully, I’m not sure when I will fully accept this fate.
Honestly, I doubt that I ever will.
It is what it is, right?
I pray every day that the longing will eventually fade. It has yet do so.
So if you’re reading this, and your reality isn’t as permanent as mine, give your journey and whatever sport you’re making your way back to everything you have.
Appreciate it and love it- do whatever you need to do to find your way back.
Trust me, your efforts will be worth it.