It’s Not How Often You Get Knocked Down, It’s How You Get Back Up

By Alicia Ygarza –

Injuries suck.

One of our most important games of the year, and this has to happen. My question is, why did it have to happen to me?

I’m not going to lie, when you first get hurt you kind of enjoy it because you’re babied by your parents. But when you’re sitting on the bench, that feeling of anger out weighs that great feeling of being babied.

I did our trainer’s preseason workouts to a T, and those workouts were killer. But not even those infamous Jon Zajac workouts were a match for my ankle.

I’m not very prone to injuries, in fact, no one in my family is, but my ankles seem to let me down the most. My ankles even let me down more than my knees, knees that can crack more than my neck.

A photo of my ankle a week after the injury

Two years ago, it was my right ankle that gave up and had me cozy on the bench for six games. This year it’s my left ankle, and I have to say, I’m happy it wasn’t my right. At least the last time it happened, I didn’t have my license yet.  Could you imagine me driving home after my game with a huge ice pack on my ankle weighing the peddle down?

On top of that I was crying since it was a really important game. Add the two factors together, unstable emotions + terrible aching foot= scary car ride. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but thanks left ankle for taking the initiative over the right.

Let me recall my infamous ankle injury of 2009-2010, I was jumping up for a rebound and when I landed my ankle turned toward the outside, chipping a piece of my bone off. Man did that hurt, and it was actually considered a fracture by the doctors. This year, I was jumping up for a rebound and when I landed my ankle turned toward the outside. WOW, what a coincidence.

At that moment I felt every ligament in my ankle stretch like a five foot long piece of gum.

“Oh not again,” I thought to myself as I laid on the ground signaling for a timeout.

One thing you should know about me is I’m not a crybaby. I never cry during basketball except when I get hurt, and this was a moment when I shed a tear. However, being a team captain and having a team with predominately juniors and sophomores, I wanted to teach my team to be tough players. So as soon as my eyes got watery and that one tear fell, I sucked up every ounce of pain and calmly explained to trainer Steve what happened.

“Will I be able to play again? How will my team do without me? Oh I hope it’s not broken!”

These thoughts circled my mind as I sat on the benching taking note of the crowd of people staring at me.

“Man I can’t let my team down,” I thought over and over again.

A photo of me shooting in the Warwick game before I got hurt

After my ankle was re-taped, I was told by Steve to perform a few ankle exercises, which I passed. Then I was told to try jogging back and forth to see how powerful the pain was.

The pain wasn’t bad at all and I felt great…at least that’s what I told Steven.

“Yeah it feels okay, it’s just a little sore that’s all,” I said to Steve, trying to make him believe I was feeling better.

“Okay you look like you can move well and if it’s not hurting you, you can play the second half,” he said.

A few shuffles and jump-ups later, the second half ticked around.

The game was intense, and I knew right from the start I wasn’t going to be able to play 100 percent.

My ankle was throbbing, like a brain that had taken in too much information, like the pounding in your head you get when you have a concussion, like the way your head feels after your parents have nagged you about something a thousand times.

Get it, it hurt bad.

One rebound was taken from me, which is very uncommon, and a pass was thrown to me but I couldn’t run to catch it in time.

“Come on Alicia, pick it up,” I said to myself.

Don’t you hate those moments when you do something bad, and when every possession is crucial? At that point I knew I needed to step my game up..I just hoped I could.

There were about three minutes left and we were down by five points, that’s when I decided I was going to forget about my pain and give those three minutes every ounce of my determination to win.

One steal and then an assist to my teammate to cut the lead by three.

A second steal and then a drive to the basket to cut the lead to one after two made free throws. I was feeling like my old self again.

Yes, I could do it.

But sadly we were forced to foul them and they drilled each foul shot. Yet it gives me hope, I know that if I could create two great defensive plays like that at the end of the game, imagine what damaged I could of caused the entire game.

I know next time Warwick will be in for an eye-opening game, then we’ll no longer be tied for second place with them.

A comparison of my left ankle to my right ankle

It’s been a week and three days now, and I’m almost fully recovered. Although there is still some pain in my ankle, I’ll be playing tonight and helping my great team (who won two games without me) get a victory.

It’s great what a ton of ice and “stim” can do. All I know is that in two years when I’m playing for Eastern Mennonite University, I can expect another sprain.

But next time, I’ll be ready for it.

For more of my musings, view my blog: