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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Power is in your Reaction

Life is full of unexpected moments. Moments that change your life forever.

I never planned on tearing my ACL. No one does. No one says they want to go through some of the toughest days of their life...to re-learn how to walk, run, and play the sport they love so much but has also got them in the spot in the first place. These are moment's unplanned but looked back on with great appreciation for how they shape your life.

If life teaches you anything, it is that very few things are in our control. Like everyone in this world, somedays it's easier to understand this then others. One of my favorite quotes is

"You cannot control everything that happens to you. You can only control the way you respond to what happens. In your response is your power." 

Whether it be the news from a doctor or from my coach, I have learned so much through the way I respond.

Before season, I had promised myself to take each day as it came and to listen to myself and my body about if I would be able to continue competing in the NWSL. For the most part, I felt great...besides the normal soreness from double days and an occasional irritation in my knee, I didn't feel like I was destroying my body.

Progress is something we all long for in our daily lives...whether we are progressing at work on a project, in a relationship, or on the field, it drives us to continue putting full effort into everything we do. After a good start to the 2015 season, I felt the slow decline in confidence and progression with my on the field role starting to happen. The atmosphere created there was something I didn't enjoy being a part of and it made it hard to find my joy within the game I loved so much. It didn't surprise me that I was hit with a bad ankle injury in the midst of my lowest time in Buffalo.

The oxymoron here is within the injury, I found the joy in the progress again. I could work hard at rehabbing my ankle and doing everything I could to get back on the field. Control what I could control, my response was powerful and I found meaning in my status within the team again. When I got back on the field, I got straight into additional individual sessions working on things I needed to work on in my game. Finding my joy again allowed me to pass that on to my teammates.

There is when I found myself in the middle of a pickle... I could do the math, I knew we didn't have enough spots on the team to accommodate me when I was taken off the 45 day injured reserve and returned to full fitness. This fact made me think a lot about the future. I knew someone would have to be waived and understood that it was between me and a group of rookies...my mind went back and forth many times trying to grasp the concept of what was about to happen.

When I got the text Sunday morning, July 5th before the US team won their 3rd World Cup, that I had a meeting with my GM and head coach the next morning an hour before training...I knew what it was about. I had prepped myself for what was to come and was at peace with it. Although a lot could of been said in that meeting Monday morning, I felt like through my reaction I proved why I was so important to my team. I thought of my teammates first. Who would be there to assist them in making that final run when they thought they felt they were completely exhausted, or who would drive them on that important errand?  I voiced my opinion that it was better for me to get waived then a girl just starting her career. I could handle it...I have been prepped with many challenges in my career that have taught me the biggest lesson...I will be alright! To have to sit and watch them go through it so young and eager to start their career, that was difficult for me to swallow. I was content in the fact that it was me on the chopping block. It was not due to lack of performance or talent, but strictly due to the business side of the league and the addition of international players post-world cup. A fact frustrating within itself, but hey, I can't control that right?!

Did I cry? Well if you know me at all you know the answer to that question. But the tears weren't for the fact that they didn't want me on the team anymore...It was because I would have to leave a group of teammates and friends where I felt like I was making a difference. Not only on the field (where my teammates continuously told me I was playing well, encouraging me in my performances) but off the field, helping the youngest players transition into the wild world of being a professional soccer player. Was I playing every minute of every game? No. In fact I was barely playing. But the way I felt about my role on the team was something beyond what I can explain.

The past two months after being waived, I have grown a lot and had the opportunity to do things that wouldn't of been possible! It's a journey, and I don't know where I will be in the next month, but I will embrace the opportunities that come my way with a good attitude. We can't control so many things that happen to us, but we can control how we react. I choose to respond with positivity and find the power of what is coming next in the way I embrace the change.


Be blessed. 

Ephesians 4:2

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