As kids, my dad instilled athleticism in my brothers and I, not only with encouragement to be active and play any sport that interested us, but also to believe that we were the key to our success. During his childhood in Jamaica, he was always at a field or at the stadium in Kingston playing soccer with his brothers and other young guys that loved kicking a ball around. Soccer was their passion; it was the thing that could take them away from the realities of the poverty that they might have been living in. In his early 20’s my dad “went a foreign” as Jamaicans would say, bringing his passion with him. He joined a professional team in Colorado, the Colorado Foxes. After finishing with the team, my dad never stopped playing soccer. He played pick up games, coached teams for my brothers and I, and even coached and was a specialist for the teams at my prep school.
Serious pain came with my dad’s passion. With chronic knee problems and countless knee injuries, it’s a wonder that my dad is still walking with any amount of ease today. When he was very young, doctors put both of his knees in straight-leg braces for a month hoping that this would help with the problems. Unfortunately, it did not and the medical technology then in Jamaica was not where it is now. My dad put mind over matter and played through every ounce of pain because he loved soccer and couldn’t live without it.
I’ve always had horrible knees (severe patellar tendentious, plica syndrome, chronic swelling, bursa sack complications, and the list goes on). At the beginning of my junior year of volleyball I tore my LCL in my left knee and injured parts of both knees. With my basketball and lacrosse seasons, senior athletic seasons, and college athletic career ahead, I knew that I could not let this injury dictate my athletic future. I was technically out for volleyball season, but knew that I could be back in it. I rehabbed as best I could in 6 weeks and stepped onto the court in a simple compression knee brace. People thought I was out of my mind, and thought so every season that I continued to play sports. I did not have knee surgery. Instead I motivated myself to regain strength, and withstood the pain, knowing it would pay off. My knees have caused countless problems for me over the years. My orthopedist informed me that my knees probably wouldn’t last for college athletics and should rethink my senior year of sports. But, I love athletics. They have been in my life since the day I could walk. So, as my dad did and taught me, I can make it through any setback. I am the key to my own athletic success. I know that I can elevate myself above what many see as a limitation. I plan to compete until I literally can’t walk… that will be a real reason to stop.