After not touching a ball for close to 5 weeks, I was somewhat nervous to take my first shot. Afraid my basketball skills had somehow left me completely, I quickly scanned the gym to make sure no one was watching. Once in shooting form, I released the ball smoothly and watched as it arched perfectly, reached its climax and fell silently through the air. My first shot of 2010 was an air ball and I couldn’t of been happier. It was time to return to the court.
It sounds cliché, but it’s truly amazing how much you miss something once it’s gone. After I injured my knee, the littlest things started to stress me out. I’m conditioned to shooting a basketball everyday and working out a minimum of 5 days a week. Not being able to do anything other than arm workouts and ab exercises had me way out of my comfort zone. I was full of energy and emotions that I couldn’t expel and was always worrying about how long it would take to get back into game shape. For those that don’t play basketball, the only way to get into basketball shape is to play. Whether you run 6 miles everyday, sprint lines until you can’t walk or bike the Pyrenees for fun, nothing prepares you for 40 minutes of basketball; other than playing 40+ minutes of basketball. Obviously if you have a good cardio base, it comes back much quicker, but when you haven’t been getting your heart rate up on a daily basis for over a month, running and sprinting while dribbling a ball is no easy feat.
I gradually worked my way back onto the court by going to physio, strengthening my knee, riding the bike, doing light leg workouts and jogging with a ball. After clearing each hurdle successfully, I’d try something more. One of the final steps was shooting on the move and then finally taking part in an entire practice - aside from the scrimmage. The knee was feeling good and it was time to put it to the test.
This week I completed 2 full practices and 3 high level shooting workouts and felt great! I had originally planned for a January 23rd return, but since I had no pain and was confident in my knee, our physio and I decided that playing against a somewhat weaker opponent on January 16th would be as good a game as any for me to gage my knee strength and mental state. After a 20-point victory and 35 minutes on the floor, I’m now confident that I’m close to being back in full form. As expected, I was extremely fatigued and showed signs of rust with half my shots flying way off the mark - but I was back doing what I loved and couldn’t of been happier.
Running up and down the hardwood last night, I couldn’t believe how much I missed the game of basketball and how much fun I was having. It was like reconnecting with a past love and picking up right where you left off (hmm…if only love were that easy…☺) Until I had the game taken away, I didn’t realize how much it meant to me. The minor obstacle I’d faced in the last month showed me my true passion for the game and the reason why I love it so much.
Find that thing you love and embrace it, you’ll be amazed to find how many of your worries disappear…