At 12 years old I set my mind on becoming a college athlete. After the highest of highs and lowest of lows in my youth career, I finally “made it” when I committed to play for DePaul Women’s Soccer Team. My dream was short lived on Wish Field. During the last practice of my freshman preseason, I tore my ACL for the third time. I was angry. I was sad. I was frustrated. I was overwhelmed with my inner voice. I was fearful of what the future held. But I wasn’t alone. Within a six-week time span, three of my teammates had torn their ACL too. When life gives you lemons…
You make lemonade. An idea clicked when Dani, Jess and I were thinking of what we could do to support our injured teammates. We ran back to our dorm room and pulled out supplies (construction paper, sharpies, and yarn) to put together an ACL Survival Guide. Since we weren’t orthopedic surgeons or physical therapists, we focused on the mental side of recovery. The colorful pages were full of guidance from a pre-surgery checklist to how to take it as a challenge to space to write positive thoughts. Plus, we added encouraging quotes and kind notes from the team. When we gave our handmade booklet to our teammate, she cried.
That moment solidified the power of sharing our #scarstories. It makes one another find strength and feel supported. That’s exactly why I’m proud to be part of the growing ACL Club community.
Jordan Angeli did the same thing, but in an even bigger way. After three ACL tears on one knee, she laced up her cleats, made it back to the highest women’s professional soccer league, and scored her last professional goal against the best goalkeeper. Then she went on to start The ACL Club to inspire athletes everyday to do their best, conquer their fears and strengthen their mental game. What a huge comeback this is from devastating and unfair injuries to the creation and implementation of a one-stop service which serves others. That’s making lemonade out of life’s lemons.
What’re YOU going to do with the lemons life hands you?