Lesson #1: If it’s broken, fix it…and then let it heal.
I finished off my spring season last year with a knee injury called Chondromalacia, or more commonly known as “runner’s knee.” If you know me, you know that I am most definitely not a runner; however this injury can occur in all sorts of athletes, especially females because of the poor alignment of our hips and knees. Mine was probably caused by a number of factors, including repeated quad strains, flat feet, and just plain overuse. There is nothing more frustrating than an overuse injury. These tend to be difficult to identify, and even more difficult to treat. Just when you think you are healed, and you grab your cleats and head confidently toward the field, you are suddenly thwarted by that throbbing ache, or happen to notice that your knee has conveniently swelled to the size of a cantaloupe…again. Well my takeaway from this injury is that sometimes time is the only real answer. It took a lot of time and patience, but my knee is finally feeling strong and healthy, just in the nick of time.
Lesson #2: When embarking on an 8 hour journey from Maryland to Rhode Island for preseason, make sure that your GPS is set to English.
There might be no feeling more terrifying than being stuck on a ramp for the Garden State Parkway going the wrong direction with a GPS yelling at you not in English, but in Afrikaans (a Dutch derived language spoken predominantly in South Africa). My mom and I were heading up to school for my final preseason as a collegiate athlete, and evidently the conversation got a little too distracting for the driver. As we discussed my blog for the website Soccer Banter (or Soccer Bladder as my mom accidentally named it), we ended up on the wrong exit, going the wrong direction, on a major highway. Siri was no help, the GPS wouldn’t talk to us in English, and needless to say our trip ended up being a little bit longer than expected.
Since my freshman year, my coaches, Chris Flint and Christina Maciel, have been adamant about reminding us that we only get four years, and before we know it, it will just be a memory. How depressing, I’ve always thought, and then happily jogged away without giving these comments a second thought. This message had never really hit home for me until last May when 12 of my friends and teammates graduated, and I suddenly realized next year, that’s me. Seeing my friends play in their Senior Game, watching them graduate and move on, really struck a chord with me. Over the course of the summer, in thinking about the upcoming season and all of my hopes for a postseason bid, one thing has been at the forefront of my mind: one year left. It really does fly by, and it really is terrifying to think about the identity crisis I may have when my collegiate career ends. But until then, I plan to make the most of this season, and most definitely to make it count.
So, I enter preseason another year older, and another year wiser. I have been through a lot in my years as a Bryant soccer player. To bring a cliché into this - I have literally bled, sweated, and cried…multiple times each. But to say that I am entering my senior year with this group of girls is more than an honor, and having learned a few things over the course of the summer, I can’t wait to see what this season will hold for myself and my fellow Bulldogs.