Dancing the Fine Lines

It’s been a minute. I guess I felt like my summer was just so monotonous to write about. I was dedicated to rehabbing, working out as much as I was allowed, enjoying time with friends and family, giving lessons to kids in my hometown, and had a camp of my own in my hometown. Now I am off beginning another adventure.

             I was super positive the first 4 months of recovery and then on the 5th month I hit a wall. I had a bad attitude every time I went in to rehab with my old ISU trainer, Denise. I didn’t want to be there; I wanted to be on the court playing already. If you ever have someone in your life who isn’t family but they are always willing to help you out no matter what, be sure to show them how much you appreciate them. Denise was busy with all her other injured athletes and still found time to help me through my rehab. She is a wonderful, wonderful person. She would even text me back after my surgery in Australia at 4 am Iowa time if I had an emergency question. I felt kind of alone over there after my surgery and she helped me get by. I am very blessed to have people like her in my life.

            Rehab was like studying for an exam but it seems like the day of the test will never come. And you have to push yourself every day because nobody else is going to do that for you. You’re in charge of your own destiny. Doesn’t matter if you’re in a good mood or bad mood that day.  The thing about having knee surgery is that you go from working out every day for hours at a time to not working out at all. You have to find a way to stay somewhat in shape because your career rests on it. I had to sometimes bail out on friends in the summer in order to maintain my focus. I couldn’t go out very much and if I did I was that sober friend at the bar. And let’s be honest nobody likes that sober friend at the bar to remember all the stupid things everyone else does. Not everyone understands when people have to sacrifice for something they love. Not everyone understands why your doing what your doing. There’s a fine line between going after your dream and enjoying/ living your life in the present. I was doing a very delicate dance on that line all summer. There’s a lot of peer pressure, a lot of temptation, a lot of frustration, and sometimes even a lot of doubt playing at your heart. But when it comes down to it, your true friends will still be there in the end. And I don’t regret it one bit. 

            The day of the test is pretty much here now. I am now in Lublin, Poland. The first week was a struggle. I didn’t know what to expect exactly. I had only been to Australia and didn’t know how exactly my team here would handle things. There are two other Americans on my team. The first of the struggles started when I landed in Poland. My luggage apparently didn’t make it there with me. Even after pestering two workers on if my bags would connect. I stood by the baggage carousel watching it go around saying to myself “don’t worry they are coming.” I was in denial. I even stood there looking at the baggage carousel for a bit after it stopped. Haha It was a long trip and to not have hardly any of my belongings was a rough start. Then I went to the lost luggage place. The guy then proceeded to ask me all these questions that I didn’t have the answers to… yet. Such as “What’s the address of where you are staying?” or “What’s the phone number we can reach you at?” The person with those answers was just outside waiting for me but I couldn’t get to him. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t kind of want to cry just a wee little bit. Luckily I found a random phone number in an old email and gave it to the man. No tears were shed.

            We then took a long drive to Lublin from Warsaw. We stopped by a restaurant where we couldn’t read the menu. So the guy with us ordered for us something he said was chicken with some butter. It turned out to be something like chicken wrapped around a stick of butter and fried. It literally spurted out butter and had a hole in the center for the stick of butter. Not the best meal I’ve ever had but oh well. There are worse things.

            The other two Americans, Hannah Luburgh and Dara Taylor, live together about a few blocks away from me. They might of had it a little worse than me the first night and to top it off it’s their first year overseas so they didn’t quite know what to expect. Poor girls. They had to dry off from showers with their own clothes because there weren’t any towels. Also, they didn’t have any blankets or pillows for the first night and had to sleep in their warmest clothes. I only could complain about the baby-sized shower in my apartment and the lack of clothing/other hygiene necessities. Things gradually have been getting better though don’t get me wrong. I got my luggage 2 days after arriving. They got some blankets, pillows and towels. All is well. The struggle is still real.

            Our team has two a days over here.  One morning practice and one evening practice. Let’s just say it’s the most I’ve just jumped into doing physically in about 7 months. And to top it off we had a tournament a few days after arriving. My knee was swollen, my hip was in pain from compensating, and I got some nasty blisters on my feet due to the lack of calluses on them. It was a weekend for limping up and down the court. Even my other American teammates were struggling physically. Our coach said he just thought I was out of shape. -__- Half my days were just me rehabbing/icing to get ready for the next day. I officially know how to say, “ice please” in Polish. One of my favorites.

            After the rough tournament we drove 5 hours back to Lublin. Apparently after games here, we go to the spa when we get back. We go to the pool, hot tub, sauna, and ice room if we wish to. I am very fond of this tradition they have. Except for the fact that there are grown men sitting around the sauna area with nothing but a towel on and the accidental seeing of things you shouldn’t EVER have to see occurs. I am scarred for life.

            Things have gotten a lot better so far. There is nothing that a glass of wine every night can’t help you through. We just got a vehicle today. We are free! Woo!

We also live not to far from the shopping center. Our teammates all kind of understand English. The locals don’t all speak it. So we work with hand gestures a lot of the time.

            Tonight was the first night of practice that I actually felt somewhat like my old self. To know your potential but not be able to physically get there again is one of the most mentally challenging things for an athlete. To not be able to rebound as well as I once did. To come back into the game of basketball and always somewhat be scared in the back of your mind that someone might knock knees with you again. Slightly afraid every time someone cheap shots you or falls on you. Playing timid is just the start of getting back to what I once was. Trying to prove to your new team and your new coach that you were worth the risk of them giving you a chance. Once again I’m dancing that fine line. But it’s a different line this time. It’s the line of pushing myself to prove my worth and taking care of my body the best way I know how. Good thing I’ve got plenty of experience in the physical therapy department. 

Tonight at practice I felt good. I felt almost as quick as I used to be, almost as confident, and it felt almost as good as it used to feel. It’s just a process and I have to be patient and take it day by day. I’ve done what I can and will leave the rest to God. Life is full of those fine lines and all we can do is dance them the best way we know how. 

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. “

                                – Matthew 6:34

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