I’m starting to think November’s are cursed for me – from a basketball perspective at least. It’s my birthday month, so you would think that it would be my best month of the year, but so far I am yet to get through a whole November at Allegheny without something bad happening.
Freshman year it was my index finger. This one was particularly rough because I dislocated it on my birthday – in the last drill of practice. I then spent the next two hours in the emergency room and was on painkillers for the rest of my birthday weekend. I also got to wear this super pretty brace for the next week or so and I missed almost two weeks of practice.
As a freshman it’s hard to come into your college team and make an impact, or it was for me anyway. It was a whole new way of operating, the game was the same but the culture was different and sometimes it felt like a completely different language. Missing that much practice in my first year really took it’s toll on my ability to prove myself and earn a regular playing position in the team. I didn’t really start to hold my own again until the last few weeks of January.
But I was ready for Sophomore year. Freshman year had ended on a good note and I was ready to hit the ground running. I knew the plays, I knew the system, the culture and the team. I was ready. Then I got sick.
The first few weeks started great. We began practicing two weeks early because we went to Canada over Fall break (the time we would usually begin practice). I was playing well, Canada went great and I was really starting to feel good about my place in the team.
It started as a cold/flu type sickness that just never really went away. The doctors were bamboozled; all the blood-work I had done (and there was a lot of it) came back saying there was nothing wrong with me. But I couldn’t shake the feeling of constant fatigue and the dizzy spells wouldn’t go away.
Our team’s trainer did some research and hypothesized that I had “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” which basically means I was in a state of depression because I went from winter at school to winter at home during the summer break and then back to winter at school. My body was missing sunlight. So I started going to the counselling center two or so times a week to sit for 15 minutes in front of a sun lamp. I’m not sure if I really did have SAD or if it was just a combination of a lot of different things, but the dizzy spells were gone by the second semester and my fatigue was much more manageable.
I ended the season pretty well. Had a couple really great games, and although it wasn’t as consistent or dominating as I would have liked, I was getting back into a good place on the team.
Summer came around and I took a much needed break. Starting two weeks early had made the season extra long and all the stress of the year had taken it’s toll. So I only really trained when I wanted to. I didn’t touch a basketball for about a month and did minimal fitness work during that time as well. I waited until I wanted to go back to the gym, until I wanted to pick up a ball again, instead of doing it because I had to. It worked.
I had a great summer. I ended up playing a lot of basketball and came back to school revitalized. I was excited about the season. I was positive and ready to go. This was the year of positivity and it was going to be my year.
As one of two juniors on a team with ten freshmen I stepped up into a leadership role. We have five great seniors on our team but I was ready to really embrace my role as an upperclassmen.
Practices went great. There was a positive and energetic vibe around the team; we were excited. Our two scrimmages came and went and although we didn’t get the sweep we wanted, a lot of positives came out of them. Ready for the real season to being, we unfortunately went down to St. Vincent in our first game but recovered with a decisive victory over Chatham later in the week.
I was still playing well. Not shooting as well as I liked, but I was getting the minutes I wanted and feeling good.
Well in our home opener on Friday night the curse of November hit and I went down on my knee. I don’t know what I’ve done yet exactly, I’m still waiting for more information, but I have since been sidelined with an immobilizer brace.
The brace was fun for the first day, tolerable for the second, but by day three I’m already over it. Missing our second home game against Carnegie Mellon on Saturday night was frustrating as we play them every year and it is always a great test. I was looking forward to the opportunity to really prove myself, but missing one game wasn’t the end of the world.
The worst case scenario right now is that I’ve torn something serious and am out for the rest of the season. So currently my fingers, toes, arms, legs and any other part of my body that can be crossed, are. Here’s hoping for some good news, that November isn’t really as cursed as it feels right now and that the team’s ‘Year of Positivity’ theme spreads some goodwill to my knee.