ut 26 years old, I was batting in the 700s, my arm was so good that I had been moved to shortstop after a summer of intense training to tame that, sometimes, wild arm. It seemed like my years in softball were finally paying off and I was preparing for the best year I had ever had - would have ever had. Yes, I said would have. Several of us got together for a Saturday morning practice. We had an intense workout and were just packing up when a few guys that played in a men's league approached us and asked if we'd like to scrimmage - play a practice game. Pu-lease, they asking a bunch of competitive women if they wanted to play against some guys who were begging to be beat... Of course, we said yes and the game began. A couple innings in, I had hit a single that dropped in, just past second base. The next batter hit a single as well and I had rounded second when the ball was thrown to third. I effortlessly switched directions but the ball had then been tossed to second and there it was: a pickle. It had been since I was fourteen that I was last involved in a pickle. The ball was again tossed to third as I switched directions once more. But this time, the switch was not so effortless. My body went one way, but my cleat stayed implanted, pointing the opposite direction. The pop resonated throughout my entire body. Something in my knee snapped and I went down, with an immediate loss of stability. I sat there in the dirt for a bit wondering what had just happened. I tried to stand but my right knee felt like a noodle - a cooked one. I knew it wasn't good, but my blind hope was just that - blind. The next morning, the swelling was tremendous and a doctor's visit proved my weak stomach as two vials of fluid were removed from my knee by a mega-syringe. I was told that I probably just tore my cartilage a bit and I needed to rest my knee for two weeks. At this point, my biggest concern was the fact that I may lose my spot at shortstop and two weeks seemed like way too long, but wait I did. And my first game back, I played catch... The second defensive play of the game I stepped out toward the mound to catch a pop-up. My second step took me down as my knee lost stability again and that's when I knew it was over. My anterior cruciate ligament had snapped. It would be eighteen years and five surgeries before it would be repaired properly.
My desire to play pushed me to not rest, to not be careful, to not be mindful and it cost me - it cost me dearly. The sleepless nights where pain kept me from truly resting seemed endless. I refused to recognize my injury and continued on in my life, like nothing was wrong. Kneeling by a bathtub to give my babies a bath was excruciating, even driving, the angle of my bent leg caused me a significant amount of pain. Had I listened to my pain to begin with, it might not have been as bad - but I refused to hear- refused to listen.
Sometimes, there are obvious signs when a deal goes bad, when a potential placement just isn't the right one. It is easy to ignore those signs, especially if it has been a difficult recruitment or a protracted search. We need to remember the damage and extra time that will be added to the process if we refuse to see the obvious, if we shun our gut. Sometimes, roadblocks are put in our way for a reason. Sometimes, it's worth the "fight through it." The hard part is figuring out which ones to fight through and which ones to embrace the obvious.