- Tearing your ACL hurts a lot right when you do it, but the pain goes away pretty quickly (quicker than when I sprained my ankle during the summer) and you’re left with the feeling of instability
- Snow, icy roads, and crutches are not a great mix
- You have to approach rehab likes its practice. Give it 100% and improve a little every day.
A Story In Three Parts
Part One: Preseason
A college basketball season is a story in three parts; and while those parts are all very different, they’re all very important.
I don’t think I’d ever been so tired, sore, and happy.
My freshman year at Stanford, we played Tennessee as the last game before heading home for a couple of days for Christmas.
It was a huge game for us.
Both teams were highly-ranked in the preseason polls and Maples Pavilion was packed with our fans.
It was also exciting for me as a freshman because it was an early opportunity to play against some of the same girls I’d played against in high school and AAU. It was my best game of my career at that point, and I ended up with 14 points.
Sometime in the second half, I found myself with the ball around the free throw line. I looked up to see a teammate streaking down the court.
I tried to throw the long pass for a layup (a rookie mistake I made a bit too often during my freshman year), only for it to be stolen by a Tennessee player.
I heard my coach yell my name, as well as the groan of the crowd, but it was a distant, muffled sound, almost like how things sound when you’re underwater at the pool.
I saw that the Tennessee player who had the ball was looking up court for someone to pass to.
She was a rookie too! As she went to make the pass, I took off and stole it. I pushed it down the court myself this time and hit a pull up jumper.
Why do I tell this story?
Because preseason is a learning opportunity. It’s an opportunity to learn about yourself as well as your team.
During that possession, I learned that I wasn’t going to be the type of player who focused on mistakes.
That’s the motto, learn from it and move on.
I also learned that I was a thinker. I wanted to be someone that wasn’t out there just running around, depending on athleticism and physical skill. I wanted to think the game, know my opponents’ weaknesses and tendencies, and use them to my advantage.
Having a high Basketball IQ is something that I think every player should invest in if they want to succeed at the next level.
Now that this preseason with Notre Dame is over, it’s time to look back on the lessons that I’ve learned.
The number one lesson?
PLAY EVERY GAME LIKE IT IS YOUR LAST.
Go for every loose ball like it's your absolute last chance!
That’s something that you can never afford to forget.
After tearing my ACL, my season is now over, but I’m proud of the sense of urgency and dedication I played with during my final preseason.
Part of that urgency came from this being my senior year. But even then, I was thinking that my season would be over in April, not December.
Playing every game like it’s your last not only means that you’ll appreciate it more when it’s over, it also means that you’ll create habits that carry you into success for the rest of your career. Habits such as boxing out EVERY TIME, knowing the play EVERY TIME, and getting on the floor for loose balls EVERY TIME.
Play like that, and you’ll have no regrets.
What was your preseason like? What habits did you create? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about your team?
Let me know in the comments!
P.S. Check out this awesome view I caught from the window of our plane 🙂