“Beep… beep… beep… ” yelled my alarm notifying me that it was finally time for me to raise out of bed. Even though it was only six o’clock in the morning, my mood instantly brightened when I looked at my phone calendar and instinctively remembered that today was my final first volleyball game of the season. Quickly, I stumbled out of bed to go brush my teeth and begin getting ready for what would end up being my last day of playing volleyball.
After choosing my favorite pair of black spandex paired with my hot pink Volley for the Cure shirt from nearly four years ago, I trekked upstairs to not only eat breakfast but also attempt to wake my very grumpy sister, Jordan, up. As usual, Jordan turned over and hit me with one of her pillows as I turned her bedroom light on and said “If you would like a ride to practice this morning you should get up because I’m leaving in fifteen minutes. Sluggishly, Jordan crawled out of bed and went out into the kitchen to eat some of the eggs and toast I always prepared us before practice. Like clockwork, fifteen minutes later Jordan and I were walking out to my car bundled up in sweatpants and sweatshirts since it was only fifty degrees this morning.
On our journey to the high school we made small talk “What do you plan on working on at practice today? Are you ready for the game tonight? Do you have your ankle braces and socks for practice? Finally after about seven minutes of this stale conversation we arrive at the high school and carefully search the parking lot to see if any of the coaches silver vehicles were already parked. Like any other day, not one of the three volleyball coaches were at the school, so Jordan and I spent our last few minutes sitting in the silence of my warm car. A few short minutes later, Coach Kirsten’s silver suburban pulls into the school parking lot and in one cohesive unit every volleyball player opened their car door, stepped out, grabbed her gym bag and headed for the doors closest to the gymnasium.
While Coach Kirsten jiggled her keys into the lock she was surrounded by nearly thirty volleyball player who were all emotionally and physically drained from the previous day’s intense full body workout that included countless repetitions of burpees, squats, and pushups. Once the gymnasium doors were opened everyone, in a single file, walked onto the court, sat her bag down and began putting on ankle braces and our special court shoes.
As soon as I was finished tying my shoes I ran over to Coach Kirsten’s backpack and grabbed her keys so that I could begin getting all the practice equipment and nets out. After everything was set up | then began leading everyone in our run and stretching sequence like any other day. Since the rest of our minimally intensive practice went fairly quick, to make sure that none of us were worn out for our first game later that night, all three of the coaches decided it would be best to end our two hour practice with a quick scrimmage between the varsity and junior varsity teams.
As a team we all got into a small circle and began talking strategy, like where the best place to aim our servers are and who the weakest back row player is to make sure that we would aim for them while at the net, as well as making sure everyone’s arms and legs were loose enough to be playing. Right after stretching Coach Meyers came up to me and our best middle hitter, Maddie-Jo, and said “Alexa, Maddie, I would really like to see the both of you shine tonight.
You two are my most experience players, make sure you are both bringing tons of energy to the court to keep everyone else in a positive matter. ” With that being said, Coach Kirsten blew her whistle signaling it was time for the first serve. Alyshia’s first serve was an ace, meaning no one on the other Sillon team was able to pass the ball after it was served, so everyone jumped into the middle of the court while screaming “ACE” at the top of her lungs. The next play Maddie-Jo had a perfect kill, which kept everyone in a good mood.
A few plays later we lost our serve and the junior varsity team would be serving to our back row, once the serve crossed over the net I immediately backed into my hitting position and yelled “ME, ME, ME, TWO, TWO, TWO” at the top of my lungs to let the setter know that I wanted to hit the ball. After a perfect pass from our defensive specialist Jewliah, Jeanee, my team’s setter set the ball in my direction while calling out “Lex” letting me know that she was setting the ball up for me. As the ball was on a perfect arch tow , in my head I repeated to myself the order of the footwork I quickly needed to begin “left-right-left. ” While my footwork began my eyes never left the brand-new shiny Molten blue and silver volleyball, and before I knew it | was floating in the air and beginning to draw my arm back in anticipation of finally making contact with the hard outer shell of the unmarked volleyball. Finally, I felt it. I felt the hard outer shell of the ball touch my fingertips, so I used all my strength to drive the ball into the far right corner on my opponent’s side of the court.
As my teammates began screaming with excitement because I had just had the best kill of my career, I finally floated back onto the court with a thud and instantly fell to the floor as a searing pain shot up the back of my entire left leg. Trying to ignore the pain I quickly tried to stand up and meet the rest of my team in the middle of the court, however, I barely able to stand with weight on my left leg let alone walk halfway across the court. Immediately my coaches and teammates rushed over to me to see what was wrong.
While trying to fight back tears from the intense throbbing pain that I felt in the back of my leg, I told the coaches that my knee was on fire and that I could not put any pressure on it. In that moment Coach Meyers told everyone that practice was over and for everyone to go home. Coach Feriend, the junior varsity coach, ran to go and get Sefa, the athletic trainer. After being examined and stretched by Sefa, Maddie-Jo went to the ice room and got me a gigantic bag of ice to keep on my knee until game time.
For the rest of the morning and afternoon I did everything that I could to keep my knee stretched so that I would be able to play when seven o’clock came around. As soon as the junior varsity and freshman game came to an end, my team and I scrambled onto the court to begin our warm-up sequence, and despite the throbbing and burning sensation that shot up my knee even when I put just the slightest weight on it I pushed through the whole twenty minutes of warm-ups.
After winning the coin toss, meaning my team got to serve first, we all lined up on the court in the order that Coach Meyers specified. Once the ball was served, the opposing team quickly shanked their pass back over the net onto my side of the court, while this was happening Coach Meyers is calling out to Jeanee “Set Alexa up! ” Next thing I know, the ball is traveling in another perfect arc toward my hitting spot and I begin the approach that has been drilled into my head for the past four years.
While I am floating through the air I make contact with the ball and once again hit the ball across the net with all my might, and as soon as I came back onto my feet I fell straight to the ground because the sensation went from burning and throbbing to a popping feeling. Once again all the coaches were surrounding me and helping me get off the court and onto the bench with another bag of ice to keep on my knee. Luckily for me, both of my parents were at this game and ready to take me to the emergency room to find out exactly what was wrong with my knee.
Upon arriving at our local MedExpress, the doctor was concerned with how swollen my knee got and immediately ordered for me to get x-rays to rule out the chance of anything being broke. While waiting for my x-rays to be read by the technician my mom said to me “Volleyball is not your career, I do not want you to keep playing if it means that you’ll continue to hurt your knee or put it under unnecessary stress. ” Almost instantaneously, cold tears ran down my face like an open faucet and I began to think about all the work I had put into this season to get better.
A feeling of disappointment rushed through my head, I had disappointed my coaches, teammates, but most importantly I had disappointed myself. I yelled at my mom “This was supposed to be my year! This was my year of being an all-star of the team! Now I won’t even be able to play… ” About twenty minutes of crying later, my x-ray results came back and luckily nothing was broke. However, the on call physician wanted me to see a specialist in the morning and set an appointment up for us. The next morning I did not get to wake up early to go to practice, I had to wake up early to go see the pediatric orthopedic.
Unfortunately, one of my worst nightmares became a reality when the doctor told me “I’m 99% sure that you have torn your PCL and if you want to avoid having surgery you’re going to need to stop all sports and physical activities for at least eight weeks. ” The next eight weeks were the longest weeks in my life. I went from starting every single game and running practices to anxiously icing my knee on the bench and watching my teammates play the sport that I absolutely loved because my mom was right, playing volleyball was not going to be my career, no matter how bad I wanted it to be.