As of September 2017 I have had to grapple with something which I have never even previously considered remotely possible at my age; a long term chronic knee injury. As some of you may know, the arena of sports heavily moved me; it influenced my character, my behavior, and my social group. It gave me a sense of belonging and purpose. Sports or at least football, which was the particular segmentation of my preference, made me who I am today. In short, I would not have had the friends I have, the grades I bear, or the personality I wear were it not for football. Alas, many of you now realize the nature of the tragedy that I am about to narrate and perhaps may find some utility in this narrative to further one’s mental faculty for dealing with comparable circumstances (as is this website's mission statement).
ACT I- C’EST LA VIE
I have to say that I’m rather disappointed as to how my injury was brought about. There was no spectacular fall, no public fireworks display, and worst of all there was no sympathy from those whom were present at the time. It was a regular Sunday afternoon and I had just arrived at the school grounds eagerly awaiting the annual Futsal Brawl that my mates and I had every mid-term and end-term break. I had been suffering from knee pains for the past week or so, but had dismissed it as nothing more than soreness or the average ailment from which most players suffer from time to time. Thus I proceeded to play, maneuvering with such grace and elegance, embracing the great Dionysus feeling of ecstasy and jubilance, enjoying the beautiful game. It then hit me, (no, not a player or any other tangible object), but a sort of intangible “evil demon” (as my friend Descartes put it) that tore not only into the physical mechanisms of my knee allowing necessarily a harsh degree of pain, but also into the very fabric of my nervous system amplifying the pain by 10 folds and causing instant paralysis. All this of course from an outsider’s perspective, I must imagine, would have seemed as though I had abruptly stopped in the midst of the game for no apparent or discernable reason. I then whispered to my teammates that I was unable to continue because I had injured my leg and was simply met with sighs, the requisite platitude of “Dude are you okay?” and I gave, of course, the ever generic response “Yeah I’m fine”. I sat on a cold bench for the remainder of the time, isolated, lonely, and without hope, watching my friends rigorously play the sport I love.
I did everything conceivable. Western medicine. Traditional medicine. Exercise. Physiotherapy. All yielded the same bitter result; a yearlong wait coupled with uncomfortable medical treatments. Evidently I had patellar tendonitis, and notwithstanding the ominous nature of the name it was actually common among young athletes and was said to be nothing serious. However, my case was slightly different, you see I’ve been experiencing knee pains of miniscule magnitude for years and as such I’ve never thought twice about it, accordingly every time I was engaged in rigorous sporting activity, the condition of my knee would progressively exacerbate. All of this inevitably culminated in the hereinbefore-described “evil demon” scenario. My doctors (whereof there were a few) informed me that I had stage 4-patellar tendonitis, which, to provide perspective, falls just one level off from requiring surgery.
ACT II- ET TU
I was devastated. Emotionally drained and physically handicapped. I had lost the one thing that mattered most. Football. I was disconnected from the Force, that rhythmic flow of passion and electricity all athletes must experience. I truly was hopeless. Countless days were spent merely spectating games, and soon enough the grace period was up. My friends all moved on without me, due in part to the fact that I wasn’t wearing a cast or other recognizable appendage on my knee that warranted empathy, it was almost as if an injury (in my friends’ minds) was registered only insofar as there was visible impediment to the same. A sort of Pavlovian response that related injuries of such nature to a short time frame was quickly established in my friends’ minds and thus led to my irrelevance. The team that I had vehemently endorsed replaced me. The friends whom I held dear abandoned me. And the rest simply mocked my incapability.
FINAL ACT- HIS REDEMPTION
However, it’s not all bad. Once one learns of his fungibility in such a manner as I did, he is faced only with 2 options. The first, to give up, cede to pressure and cave in, descending eternally into despair and sorrow. The second, to rise up and challenge the “evil demon”, divert ones remaining assets into more fruitful endeavors and constantly seek to improve, knowing full well that one day you will make your return. I must submit that I did at first gravitate towards the former option, I accepted the status quo, made no efforts to change it, and became complacent due to my overwhelming despair. However, in time I realized the need to escape a well of my own making and began my journey. With immense effort I have managed to cut my injury time in half according to my doctor by simply acquiring the will to carry on. I have suppressed those dark emotions in substitute of determinism and motivation. I have, under adverse odds and with the tide against me, fought back society’s oppression. In the wise words of Master Yoda,
“Do or do not, there is no try.”
This applies to all of you out there facing similar situations, be it underperforming in academics, dealing with a bad case of melancholy, or even simply facing adversity in day-to-day life. Either DO something about it, no matter the difficulty, no matter the longevity, no matter the discomfort- or DO NOT and face the bitter consequences that follow from your inaction. There will of course be times where despite your endearing efforts someone else comes up on top, you don’t get the grade you want, and you don’t feel any better about yourself, but you must carry on and DO the things that you have set out to do for. If you simply settle for TRYING to achieve your goals, you will never reach them.