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Glory Beats Pain

It had been exactly seven weeks since I had last played and since I had touched a volleyball. Seven weeks ago, I would have thought this day would have never come. But I was prepared, and I was ready.

~~~

It was just another normal day. I dragged myself out of bed and sleepily went through my morning routine: wash face, brush hair, get dressed, eat breakfast and make it to the bus on time. I went through school doing what I needed to do in order to get a good grade but making sure I wasn’t using more effort than necessary. When the bell rang for school to be out, I darted down the high school hallways, zigzagging though people and avoiding hefty backpacks, racing the clock towards the field house; it was time for practice!

For high school volleyball we have practice every day after school for three hours. A sensible person would call it torture, but I live and breathe practice. It was the beginning of the season and I was especially excited because I had made the Varsity squad as a sophomore. I wanted to show those seniors that I had just as much talent as they did and that my age didn’t define my abilities. I quickly slipped through the gym doors like a snake escaping its cage ready for freedom. School was out and the best part of my day was awaiting.

After our basic warm-up routine, we finally play a game of six on six: seniors vs. juniors. The intensity was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The game was close: 24 to 24. The seniors served the ball into the net; point juniors. All we needed was one more point to win the pickup game and claim our bragging rights. We served the ball over the net. It sailed gracefully, yet aggressively like an eagle ready soaring down to its pray. The seniors went through the motions; pass, set, spike, and gave the ball back over. I was playing outside, calling for the ball as loud and as long as my lungs would permit. If they set me the ball, this was my chance to prove to the seniors that I could play ball just as well as they could and that I belonged. When the ball came to our side of the net, my teammate passed the ball high to the setter as I continued yelling so loud that the gym doors plugged their ears. She set the ball; it was coming to me!



I put on my game face and took my appropriate steps; left, right, left, right. With every step a drum boomed as my foot hit the hardwood floor. My mind was reeling with “what if’s”. Everything went in slow motion. I could taste my pouring sweat and feel every deep breath escape my lungs. I had finally reached my last step and leaped towards the ball. I jumped higher than a man with springs for feet, hitting the ball with more strength than Muhammad Ali.

The ball went off one of the senior’s head, sailing out of bounds: point juniors. We had won the game! But that was when disaster struck. The juniors had been so busy taunting the seniors about our game that they didn’t notice me in the background, keeling over in pain. Once I had hit the ball, I had landed on the girl’s foot that was on the other side of the net. I knew something was wrong. The pain was unbearable.



As it turns out, I had fractured my foot: awesome. The doctor explained that I would be out for at least 7 weeks, if I was lucky. My heart dropped and it was hard to breath. My stomach rumbled and it seemed like my world was coming to a startling halt. I couldn’t do what I loved and I couldn’t use my foot! Worst of all, I had to wear an ugly, black, bulging boot to school every day for the next 7 weeks. My world had been flipped upside down. One day I was the hero and the next I was just someone+ everyone felt sorry for. I wanted so badly to be that hero again, but I knew that the best thing would be to let my foot heal and pray for the next 7 weeks to go by quickly.

~~~



Over those 7 weeks I worked hard. I wanted to make sure I was prepared that I would be ready to step back on the court with full force. And there I was, 7 weeks later, ready to take on the world. I was back, my foot was healed and I was ready to dive in head first. I worked hard every day while I was injured doing whatever I could so that I would be prepared for this moment and it had finally come. When the worst happens, take it in long strides and be ready so when that day comes, you can redeem yourself and be all that you can be.





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