I love flying. I love traveling. No matter how far it is, I will always give a new place a chance. Unfortunately, I’ve never gotten a chance to travel outside of the United States which I will do one day. I traveled to some states for school, some for leisure, and even some for volleyball. In fact, there’s nothing I enjoy more than going to volleyball nationals in Florida with a bruised tailbone, a sprained wrist, and an ankle with every ligament freshly torn. I even skipped two weeks of physical therapy just so I could go to nationals with my team because without me, we wouldn’t have had enough girls to go. Maybe I should’ve thought twice.
Who would have thought that making a trip to Florida could change somebody’s life? Sure, my teammates and I loved to rebel against our coaches and stay out past curfew, go to water parks, sunbathe, and eat pasta. So why would any of those things make a trip to Orlando worth remembering forever?
I loved volleyball with all my heart and was dedicated to it. I had many injuries, but I bounced back every time. I couldn’t pass up a chance to play Puerto Rico at nationals, could I? My coach put me in the line-up playing back row since my ankle wasn’t safe to jump on. I guess she thought diving on the floor and throwing myself everywhere was a haven or something. I dug a hit right down the line, but put too much weight on my right ankle, re-tearing my ligaments. I heard the rip and so did my teammates. Thank God my coach didn’t hear it. She would’ve taken me out in what would be my last time at nationals. I played the rest of the match with tears coming down my face. Part of it COULD have been because of the excruciating physical pain, but the real pain was that I knew I wouldn’t be able to play volleyball after high school. Little did I know, I would only be able to play volleyball in high school for one more season. I tore my ligaments for a third time at try-outs sophomore year, but got on the court again as soon as possible.
My trip to Orlando for nationals that year was the most emotional experience of my life. My dreams were literally crushed. However, I was proud of myself for letting my heart play when my body was telling me to stop. Going to Florida that year taught me to never back down from a challenge. Don’t underestimate someone who can make a dig and ruin their ankle at the same time!
I know that I try to make the best out of my situation, but in all seriousness, it’s so painful to know that I’ll never go to nationals another year in my life. I could’ve stayed home, continued physical therapy, and let my ankle heal, but I couldn’t let my teammates down. From the day I met them, through the hard stuff we went through, and all the way to meeting the good-looking boys from Georgia at nationals…I know that I would never abandon them.
I didn’t travel half-way around the world and I didn’t explore lands of ancient civilizations, but going to Florida that year literally changed my life forever. It’s disappointing at times, but I try to look at it as an opportunity to focus on my intelligence more than my physical skills. Thank you to my team for being good friends and for making my trip and amazing last time.
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