I was a kicker on my college football team when I tore my ACL.
I had this whole plan made out for what I wanted to do, and then it was all basically ripped out from underneath me.
Before surgery, I decided, I’m not gonna be beat by this, I’m gonna beat it. So when they said, you’re gonna need to move your ankle back and forth in the next two days, I wanted to do it that day. Whatever the deadline was, I was trying to cut it to as close to half as possible. They said, be off crutches in four weeks, and I was trying to be on just one as soon as I could. Same thing with running.
I remember going into rehab, and the therapist said, “In about a week or two, I’ll let you start running.”
And I said, “What if I can already run?”
“You shouldn’t be able to run.”
“I can run.”
He said, “Let’s see it.” So I showed him. I had been running sprints on the basketball court -- well really, just jogging -- because I was sick of crutches, and I didn’t want to be stuck on them.
So I was just trying to beat everything. If I just made it to the deadline and said, Ok, I’m on track, then to me, I was behind, and I didn’t want that. Because at that point, I had nothing to compete with. I couldn’t play, and I was up at school by myself. So that was my way of competing. Seeing how far I could push myself, mentally and physically.
There was one day when I had to do a test, lay flat on my back, with a sock on, and I had to slide my foot down the wall. I had to get to a certain degree. When the therapist tested it, he said, “Ok, that’s good.”
I said, “Where did I hit?”
He said, “Within a five degree range of where you need to be.”
I said, “So I’m where I need to be, or ahead of where I need to be?”
He said, “You’re where you need to be.”
I said, “Do it again.” I put my foot on the wall and just drove my heel down til it brought tears to my eyes, and I got five more degrees out of it to get ahead.
To me, not quitting isn’t just not giving up or just finishing a deadline, it’s being better than what is expected. It’s more than not just giving up. Don’t be average, be better.
I would go to rehab, and I’d be so tired from rehab that I’d fall asleep for four hours. All this was after class. I’d get up and eat, and I didn’t have to go to practice because I was still on crutches, so I’d just go in the weight room and work out. I’d sit there and do my exercises, all the rehab I’d just done all over again.
I finished all the points I was supposed to hit in rehab three months early. And the rest of the rehab got to be a lot more stability and athletic-type work, which is where I started learning more about fitness and how the body works. That little period of where I was ahead is what made me fall in love with fitness. So if I had only hit those goals when I was supposed to instead of being ahead, I wouldn’t have had that extra time, and I wouldn’t be where I am today.
That’s no-quit mentality. That’s why that’s important.
You can either sit there and feel sorry for yourself, or figure it out.
No matter what tries to break you, you still have the final say. You can give in, give up and let it win. Or you can own it, learn from it, and create your own destiny. I’ll forever be forever grateful for that scar on my knee, because it showed me what I was made of.