I’m supposed to be writing an essay right now, so logically I would write this post instead. As many of you probably recall, about a month ago I wrote a post about a serious injury that I had sustained to my neck. I had fallen on my neck and the resulting injury was whiplash and two slipped discs. It was a heartbreaking moment to be sitting in the emergency room having a brace put around my neck as the doctor explained that there was a good chance I would need some corrective surgery. When I met with the surgeon just a few days later, we took some new scans of my neck and miraculously it had already slowly begun healing itself. I began a rigorous medication routine, started going without the brace, and adhered to a few restrictions. The doctor was hopeful that I would be able to return to sports in a month so long as I followed his instructions.
Today, I am feeling exhausted and sore from head to toe. This past weekend I made my return to the thing I love most of all, ultimate frisbee. As the team was preparing for our last fall tournament, I was sitting down to talk with the captains about the possibility of me playing in it. I was feeling good about the status of my neck, I had slowly begun exercising again and it seemed to be going well. Naturally, they were nervous about letting me play. There are so many uncontrollable factors when it comes to frisbee and the possibility of a player getting hurt seems to lurk around every corner. After a little (respectful) persistence on my end, they finally agreed that it would be okay if I tried to play a bit in the tournament. We made the agreement with the stipulations that I probably wouldn’t play much and I HAD to speak up as soon as I felt any pain. These seemed like fair conditions and with that I was ready to lace up my cleats and go.
Friday night finally rolled around. I packed up my weekend bag and climbed into bed early so that I could feel well rested when 5:15 am rolled around. Although I got into bed at a reasonable hour, I was so excited that I just couldn’t fall asleep. I felt like a young kid on Christmas Eve. I desperately wanted it to be time to get dressed and head out. Morning came and I put on all of the layers I could find. It was predicted to snow in Rockford for most of the day. Upon arrival, we learned that the prediction was more than correct; however this was not even close to hindering my excitement or readiness to play. After a long warm up, we squared off with the first team of the day. I didn’t start any of the 4 games that we played on Saturday, but I subbed on and off the field pretty frequently. My teammates and captains were constantly checking in with me and each time with a smile on my face I was able to tell them that my neck was feeling great. I was definitely out of shape, but my neck was feeling wonderful. It was such an exciting day. We headed back to the Raymond’s home where we were absolutely spoiled with delicious food, showers, saunas, and team bonding with both the women and men’s teams. It was such a great night.
Sunday morning started off by sleeping in and then heading to IHOP for a team breakfast. Our first game wasn’t until 12:30 so we figured there wouldn’t be much harm in a big breakfast. We lost about 4 players after breakfast who had to make the drive back to Chicago due to other responsibilities they had that day. Upon arriving to the field we gained a few more players who hadn’t been able to make it on Saturday. We had about 7 returning players on Sunday and a whole lot of rookies. I was able to be a starter on Sunday! It was such an exhilarating moment. It felt like I was really back in action. I played most of the day on Sunday, I subbed out pretty rarely. I was diving left and right, running hard, and playing with little fear. We played two games and won both games on Sunday. I was nothing but smiles all the way home. Tired, sore, and happy.
Allihopa, it is so good to be back. Nothing can hold me down for too long.