My last post on here was about living in the moment, not getting too stressed out, and focusing on enjoying these last few weeks.
Well…I had a little trouble with that.
A few weeks ago at practice, I was asked to try jumping on a 13’7″ 145 pole. My eyes bugged out a bit when he asked me, but with my new pseudo what-have-I-got-to-lose attitude I went for it. First jump: shot straight up into the air and stayed put, trying to lean the pole to a safe landing spot. Thankfully, this was the side of the pit. Second jump: Same thing, but crashed onto the runway landing on my wrist and thumb. He told me to try the 13’7″ 135 and at this point I was mad. I was determined to complete a jump on that damn pole! I was a little too determined, refusing to think, and took off 2 FEET outside, curled that pole in half and before I knew it Coach Jackson was catching me. Oops.
After a bit of, “What were you thinking?!” I fought back. It was a lose/lose. I could have either chickened out and ran through or I could have gone for it.
Unfortunately, crashing down on the runway messed my hand up more than expected. The next morning I couldn’t even move it. After seeing the trainers, they sent me for X-rays. They thought I broke my wrist.
When the doctor read my X-rays, he explained, “Well, you didn’t break it, but you might have broken it…”
“You could still have a break in your sesamoid bone that has to get worse before we can actually see it…but if it doesn’t hurt, keep jumping!”
That’s all I needed to hear. The upcoming meet was Senior Day and there was no way I was missing it. They still put me in a splint/cast for the rest of the week that I only wore when I wasn’t jumping or working out. I was rocking’ the Club Hand.
Senior Day/UMass Invitational came and I tried to jump. We taped my wrist and thumb, I warmed up, and my jumps were crap. Absolute crap. Coach Jackson pulled me aside.
“Look, if your jumps are gonna keep looking like this I’m gonna pull you–so make up your mind. Either jump or not. If you’re not, start doing some starts for the 100m…”
The 100? THE 100? My event is not the damn 100m dash. I’m a VAULTER. I VAULT, and dammit, I was jumping on my stupid senior day! I had one decent warm up jump and he kept me in.
In the meet, the jumps were still ugly. My wrist didn’t feel strong enough and when I did jump it would throb the instant I hit the pit. I was being too stubborn. I should have sat out. I only jumped 10’6″ to get 3rd or 4th place that day–which I wasn’t happy with–but everyone kept calling me a trooper for still jumping on a broken wrist. A trooper? Or an idiot?
This is when I really started to flail a bit and panic. My season could be done. I could have a broken wrist. I can’t even get into the damn pit on my jumps anymore and I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years! What’s wrong with me? Am I completely losing it? And my whole damn body hurts! My hips won’t stay aligned. I’m at the chiropractor’s almost every week–why is it all ending this way?!
Now before you go calling me a drama queen, I need to explain something a bit. You see, there’s an conflicting perception of time when you’re a graduating senior. It seems like the entire world around you can’t stop focusing on the fact that you’re graduating–even a month or so before you’re even close to taking your finals. They seem eager to push you out the door into the real world when you still haven’t finished the task at hand. Family and friends all get excited about your accomplishment even before you’ve actually accomplished it. Questions come up like, “What are you doing after graduation?” that make you want to punch them square in the face when you don’t have anything to say. It’s as if they completely fast-forward to the end of the film. It’s not that you’re afraid of venturing out and moving on, you’re just not done yet!
I have a strange image of it. I sort of feel like it’s this annoying little child that tugs and pulls at their mom’s clothes or purse while she’s having a conversation with another adult. Sure, the mom can put up with it for so long, until she snaps.
“STOP IT, Jimmy–Mommy’s not done yet!”
It gets to you. I assume you love your kid and all, but you’re in the middle of something else. It’s not that you’re being irresponsible and ignoring the inevitable future/child, you’re just not done what you’re in the middle of. I don’t care how tough your skin is, some days it’s going to get to you. With everyone around you being your nagging child or a reminder of the quickly passing time, it’s hard not to snap. It changes the way you look at things and suddenly you watch the ticking clock like everything is stopping much sooner than it really is.
After vault practice one day, I was upset that I still wasn’t completing jumps and could only focus on drives. An entire practice of drives. It felt good to work on basics again and get a good handle on those, but that ticking clock was still in the back of my mind. As I was about to drive home with tears streaming down my face, Coach Jackson looked at me and said, “You still have plenty of time.”
What? Plenty of time? He was the only person that had said that to me in the past month or so.
They kept me home from the Holy Cross Invitational that weekend. I’m going to say it was for my wrist, but I realize now it was to get my head on straight. After that weekend I woke up one day and just felt…fine. I’m not really sure what happened. Maybe I needed some rest? Maybe I needed to step back and clear my head? Who knows, but Monday morning was different. This week at practice I only focused on the tasks right in front of me, not anything after. I completed the last bit of my assignments and watched the to-do list come down to a list of my finals schedule. At practice I jumped on 12′ poles and did drills—over and over…and over….and over. I finally cleared some bars and felt like my old self again.
This weekend is the Pre-Conference Meet at UNH and I’m excited to be back in action, despite the strange clicking sound my wrist makes now…