If I had an arch-nemesis, it would have to be broken bones. They have pushed me to my physical and mental breaking point, especially in the last two years. It all started with my first baseball game last season.
After being diagnosed with tendinitis in my left elbow, and told I could still play, I was pumped for the first game. But after warming up, I was feeling a little skeptical about my arm. The aching pain just wouldn’t go away. I was awaiting my first at bat of the season. Unfortunately, it would never come.
Three up three down – our turn to take the field. After a quick break down, I sprinted out to left field, where I would play catch with the center fielder to keep my arm warm. However after one throw I motioned him off; the pain was too intense.
“Balls in!” the catcher yelled.
As the first batter stepped up to the plate, I gave my arm a rub, hoping it would ease the pain. No luck. After two strikeouts, and a triple, I figured I would get through the inning then tell coach I couldn’t play. Just as I felt a wave of relief at the thought – ding – a base hit right in my direction. Of course I stupidly tried to throw the runner out at the plate. In mid-throw I heard a pop, and everything went blurry as pain shot down my arm. It felt as if Satan himself had come up from his fiery home and taken a bite out of my arm.
After being rushed to the hospital and told I’d be in a cast for six weeks, I felt as broken as my arm. Being out for the baseball season killed me. Having to sit on the sidelines and watch every at bat of every inning of every game was torture. Sports are my life, and not being able to play was like a singer with no vocal chords, or a fish with no water.
Finally, after the longest six weeks of my life, I got the cast off and it was time to get back into shape. I would be done with physical therapy just in time to try out for basketball.
Unfortunately that season would not last long either. Ten minutes to be exact. That’s right, in the first 10 minutes of the first practice, while going up for a rebound, I came down hard and bounced on my ankle like a trampoline. After basically crawling to the trainer’s room and being examined, I was told that it was sprained and to go home and ice it. That night was awful; even when I wasn’t moving it felt as if my ankle had been hit repeatedly with a sledgehammer. The next day my parents took me to the doctor. And, of course, it was broken.
Being out for another whole season was awful, but being out and not being able to walk was a living hell.
Although, I never want to break another bone, this experience taught me about myself. I had to learn that there is more to life than sports. As my bones mended, I grew into a better person. It brought me closer to God by giving me something to pray about and even giving me time to worship. Although broken bones are still my arch-nemesis, they made me the person I am today.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.