Athletics aside, perhaps the most exciting thing by far to happen to the UMass women’s soccer team was this week’s return of Pumpkin Ice Coffee at Dunkin Donuts. With the stress and hard work of moving into our real dorm rooms, and decorating them to perfection, the extra kick of our favorite Autumn Elixir was just what we needed. Last fall, Pumpkin Ice Coffee may have been the only thing keeping us attentive and present in class during the season - so its homecoming is clearly vital for the start of classes this week. We may have actually given the Dunkin Donut’s employee temporary hearing loss after she told us that our beloved flavor had returned. Its arrival is another signal that the beginning of fall is just around the corner. Even more exciting is that fall brings with it the promise of brightly colored leaves, the start of our A-10 schedule, and the arrival of the rest of the UMass population.
Despite the disappointment of losing to Harvard Friday afternoon, the day was still one of excitement for me. I had my last doctor’s appointment and was finally cleared for full action. I have never had such a thrilling feeling of relief and anticipation. It has been a long time coming and couldn’t have come at a better time. I had started to become very frustrated with the limited participation I was experiencing at practice (and my helplessness at games) so the feeling of being back is indescribable. No longer will I have to sit out of drills or wear that injury pinnie. I celebrated Friday by running a few miles on my own – it seemed great to have a legitimate purpose to that run – and no medical restrictions!! All the hard work and frustrations I have endured throughout my seven months of rehab now all seem worth it. I still have to wait for that first real hard challenge or the first time I leave my feet to compete for a header and I know that it can still take some time to get mentally 100% back into the game. But my guess is that with all the adrenaline running through me the first time I enter a match, I wouldn’t want to be the girl playing against me.
Hopefully I am able to have a good week of practice and get the privilege to travel this weekend with the team. I know I can help us against Wake and VT whether I get a chance to play or just to continue to support my team. Some of my favorite memories of last year happened on away trips and being left behind after the thrill of being cleared will be hard. However I have learned a lot from my injury and accepted that some things are out of my control. Sometimes you can do everything right and work as hard as you can, but in the end the decision is not up to you whether you play or stay healthy. Getting injured and having to have surgery was never something I wanted to have to go through, but I am ready to put it behind me and move forward with the rest of the season and my career at UMass … lets hope it stays injury free.