All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The First 100 Yards
My legs screaming, my lungs burning. My eyes began to water as I bolted across the field. My heart pumping so hard it became a drum in my ears. A soundtrack. I was almost there. I slowed suddenly to a brisk jog, then stopped before I slammed into the fence at the other end of the field. I turned around, and I walked back.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I was beginning to tire of my cardiac-tuned training session. After ten of those sprints, I retreated back to the gym and out of the ninety degree weather. That was it for that day. I gathered my things, remembing I had math homework and sighing heavily, my shoulders sinking.
“See you tomorrow!” Rung out in my ears as the school doors closed behind me. I walked to the car, and my dad drove me home.
Some days the training would be jumping a few feet up onto a mat, other days it would be twenty meter sprints to practice form, or like that day, it would be running two hundred meters across our small field at our small school ten times. It was normal. I went to track meets. I went to a state meet. It was great. Then summer vacation rolled around. Swimming and video games and complaining about how it was going by to fast.
School started again, my eighth grade year. The first day was amazing. I had so much fun, seeing all of my friends again. But the first day of P.E. brought my happy successful world to a downfall.
Maybe I pushed myself to hard after a three months of doing virtually nothing. I ran around the nature trail that circled our school, hard. And then it began.
A dull pain at first. I had always been one to run it off. Get hurt? Get up. So I ignored it when a pulsing throb echoed down the sides of my left knee, forcing me into a limp. I woke up the next day and stood, ready to go onto the second round of education. I was forced back onto my bed, pain still running through my patella. Wincing, I went on with my day, forcing myself into a state of “It will get better.” It didn’t.
It wasn’t until two weeks later that I finally told my dad about the pain. “Ice it.” He said. I never did. Whenever I would remember to try putting some ice on it, the pain wouldn’t be there. And I just thought, “Why put ice on something that doesn’t hurt?” It made sense, right?
Eventually, I told my dad to make a doctors appointment. My right knee had begun to get the same discomfort, and I figured that it would be best to get a professionals opinion. My coach had also warned me about the repercussions of continuing without a brace, so the appointment was made.
Two days later, I sat in the cozy waiting room of my local physician’s office.
“Sara?” I stood, walking casually into the hallway that lead to the examination rooms. My dad followed behind me as I was weighed and my height measured. I was lead into the room on the right, I think it was the third door. The nurse asked me about if I took medication, if I was allergic to anything. She recorded my heart rate, checked my blood pressure, then told my dad and I to wait while she got the doctor.
The paper covering the exam table crunched and tore as I moved around uncomfortably, fearing the worst. A few minutes later, a short man entered the room, and introduced himself.
He asked me what the problem was, where the pain was at. He felt around my knee, I’m sure, looking for any anomalies. He stood back, asking when the pain hurt.
“After I sit for to long of if I run.” I told him. He nodded his head.
“Does it hurt to climb stairs?”
“Yup.” I replied unenthusiastically.
He thought for a moment, weighing the information like I had been weighed earlier.
He explained to me that I would be given a note to restrict me from any activities I thought were painful or that I couldn’t do. My dad asked about knee braces. The doctor said that would be a good idea.
A few days later, I was fine. The pain was dull, still there, but the braces I had gotten were helping me get through P.E. requirements. The rest of the day however, was a bit of a struggle. My knees would occasionally lock up. It felt like someone had replaced the muscle with tightly packed cotton, like I was some kind of rag doll. I had to be careful about what the shoes I wore, how I sat, how I stood. It took me two months to fully adjust to putting weight on things other than my knees. I have to use my back a lot more to lift things, walk on my toes to readjust my weight onto my calves when I’m going up stairs.
I was doing pretty good. My dad and I were just waiting for the nurse to call and tell us a physical therapy appointment could be made. That took a while. But when that was said and done, I felt confident that things would get better, but it didn’t stop the occasional deplorable thought from crossing my mind:
What about track?
I honestly didn’t know. My knees actually felt like they were getting worse rather than better. Not to mention I always felt like people were expecting me to miraculously make the pain vanish and for everything to heal so I could be back on the track when spring rolled around. Everyone always asked if I was going to do track, and I always replied with my enthusiastic “Probably!” Unless it was my close friends, then it was “I honestly have no idea, and it scares me a little bit.” That was the truth.
This definitely isn’t a cry for pity or attention. But I did just need to get it out of my system, off of my chest, about how stressed I am about this. I go to a small school, in a small town, and people notice when something is different. You get new socks and people draw attention to it, you know? So I put up this kind of fence of smiles and optimism. Don’t get me wrong, I am an optimistic person.
Some things just worry a person. So I take small steps, and I look at the two hundred miles ahead of me, and I run the first one hundred yards.