It’s a rainy summer day and I’m left alone with my thoughts. Everything hurts and I’m sore from yesterday. Motrin and ice accompany my breakfast. My heart rate quickens as I replay yesterday’s court performance.
Have you ever had an injury or had to take time off from pickleball? My last break from it was when I tore my calf last year during regionals and had to spend a few months resting and rehabilitating. The injury transformed me when I first started playing from a once confident player to an apprehensive one, dreading the “wrong step” to cause shooting pain in my dominant leg. Of course as I got stronger and the injury healed I overcame the obstacle, but I wore compression sleeves for months to hide the gnawing fear in my head of reinjury.
I haven’t been on a court in about 5 months because of a combination of Covid and because I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and future pickleball star. While I was unable to play, I definitely thought about playing and even had dreams about it. I’ve been preparing to have a mental edge if I can’t have a physical one right away.
While I was recovering from my c-section, and planning my rehabilitation process, I realized the worst thing about having an injury isn’t just the physical aspect, but also the mental aspect of missing out. I missed my friends, my partners, and most of all I missed the game.
Getting back into the game can be a challenge both mentally and physically. There’s a lot of pressure to play at the level I once was when I last played almost half a year ago. The first day was gruesome. My legs felt heavy and slow. My mind knew what it wanted my body to do but my body wouldn’t cooperate. I saw improvements each time I played.
It took me about 3 weeks to really feel the rhythm and step back into more than just a shadow of my former self. I have to chant a mantra to be patient with myself, as I’m still healing and climbing back up the ladder of improvement, one rung at a time.
As I eagerly anticipate stepping on the court each day, I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for rec play.
I hear the sound of a pickleball striking the ground. The familiar beat is like music to my ears.
Steady like a heartbeat, speeding faster at times.
How I’ve missed you.
See you on the court!
“If you’re climbing the ladder of life, you go rung by rung, one step at a time. Don’t look too far up, set your goals high but take one step at a time.”
~ Donny Osmond