As the 2015 NWSL season approaches, every possible thought and emotion plays out in my mind. Excitement is evident. Nerves are natural. The reality of being back on the field with players I didn’t get the opportunity to compete with last year is at the forefront of my thoughts. Wondering how Mark Parsons and the Washington Spirit plan on promoting my comeback tour is a close second. (Nine cities over six months. Free headbands at the entrance. Long intros and )
Coming in third though is my precious little baby knee. She has been through so much over the past year and I can’t help but think that the next few months will be full of ups and downs for her. I think about her all the time, but I don’t need the same.
Before I can get on the field with the Spirit though, there are many pieces to the puzzle that need to be solved. When I’m training now, or doing anything really, I think about my knee a lot.
“Will she be okay if I plant a little harder here?”
“She is in pain, should I stop for a second?”
“OMG, I slipped on the top stair, her ACL is gone again, OMG, OMG.”
I’m sure it’s normal to think that way. And to think of a knee as a she. Knee-she.
It’s my way of feeling more connected though. Like I have to take care of her. I feel as though I’m well prepared for this kind of responsibility. I have cats and I babysit a 3-year-old more often than I’d like to admit. (He calls it hanging out, but please don’t believe him.)
Each day I wake up and say good morning. I move the kneecap around and make sure my scar doesn’t get too stiff. I ice and stim every day. I stretch and foam roll and do all the things so her surrounding friends can help her feel better too.
I say no to a mall trip because she’s so not in the mood.
I avoid the stairs and stay home if it’s snowing. (Okay, maybe I did those things before my injury). You get the idea.
But that stuff is easy now because there are pretty obvious signs that she needs care. She’s not afraid to show me how she’s feeling right now.
I know we’re not supposed to give with the intention of receiving. It’s just that, maybe that’s not a real concept. We get what we give. If I take care of my knee and do everything I’m supposed to, there’s a better chance I’ll get something good out of it. And that’s the only way I can play soccer at a high level again.
I imagine it’s what a ventriloquist deals with. They have to take care of their dummies so their dummies give them back… okay never mind, bad example. Too much American Horror Story.
I imagine it’s like a baseball player and his glove. (That’s a little better right?) Oil it, take care of it, and it’s going to give you the performances you need.
And! Like a car. People wonder why they have so many car problems. I wonder how they wonder that when they don’t take care of their cars. It seems simple right.
So in a month or so when I’m back with the Spirit and my knee is probably feeling pretty good, I need to remember that just because she’s not showing pain or weakness, she still needs to be taken care of. She’s been through a lot this year and even if I might forget sometimes, she never does.