The Miracle Season…

When I was very, very young I would travel from the very southern bits of New Mexico, up to a children’s hospital in Albuquerque. From such an early age I remember both loving and hating these visits. The road trip, complete with fun music and McDonald’s (a luxury we did not have in our small town) made the trip an adventure. To top it off, we would stay in a motel. As if my young little self didn’t have enough to be excited about, the motel was the icing on the cake. I still, nearly forty years later, remember the details of this dilapidated brick structure. Knowing what I know now, this place was likely a dump, but then it was just awe and wonder…

The hospital visits, on the other hand, weren’t so magical. They consisted of painful examinations, serious conversations (that I did not understand) and humiliating “tests” where I would have to run down the hallway, while a team of staff watched me. Because I have a hip disorder I was growing extremely pigeon-toed. As you can imagine, those “runs” were mostly me falling and being yelled at to get up, again and again and again. I would return to the hotel room covered in bruises, sitting with ice packs and being massaged with Ben Gay. In addition, my weight did not sit correctly upon my feet. At 8 and 9 years old I had more times than I can remember of having to quit riding bikes or walking because my right hip and foot were in so much pain that it was unbearable. I eventually began to understand that most other kids my age did not have such chronic pain. Most other kids didn’t have to stop on the walk to school and sit in the desert, because the pain was just too much. The dream of maybe playing sports one day was an unlikely one which I didn’t really allow myself to have.

As I have mentioned before, I went to live in a group home when I was twelve. The group home required several tasks of routine hard labor and some of the things (bucking hay, for instance) were brutally painful. There were no exceptions and I had to learn to move through the pain. As time passed, and I moved in to high school, I also faced the fact that team sports (through our private school) was also not an option. Volleyball and basketball were expected, and painfully I complied.

Some practices were nauseatingly pain riddled, especially where basketball was concerned. The hustle expected, honestly wasn’t really possible. When I tearfully would offer my best, I was torn down so eventually my most logical response was to stop trying. This led to a lot of consequential actions being administered before I was finally benched. Volleyball though, the game of volleyball I loved. Some practice and games had pain, but eventually I worked through it. I loved being a part of a team. That part of it, the belonging, the needing and the being needed- that was exhilarating. (Plus, the sport itself was fun, which helped.) Basketball had always left me feeling like I was letting my team down, and in actuality I was. I was sick and angry with myself over it then, but I can admit it now…

By the time I graduated, I was a pretty descent volleyball player in our small private league. (also, if you’re curious, I grew to love the exertion of doing hay and my body, though it still hurt, had adapted to appreciate it too.) I pushed through my pain and began jogging several times a week, and though I knew I’d likely never make it as a “real” athlete, I had grown to really appreciate how far I’d come. Over the years I have had to learn to listen to my body, as well as admit that pushing through wasn’t likely always the best choice. Even so, I learned a lot from the effort and the trying, and I learned so much from being part of our team.

I am still, though not a sports player, an avid team player. I derive a lot of strength from my support system and offer myself, in every way capable, as a supportive player. When I was deep in the trenches of my struggles with abandonment, being a part of teams (both in sports and drama) met the needs I had and allowed me to contribute to the symbiotic system with others. I would not be the person, wife, writer, friend or woman I have now if I had not learned those things…

Have you seen the trailer for The Miracle Season? Based on the inspiring true story of West High School girls’ volleyball team.  After the tragic death of the school’s star player Caroline “Line” Found, the remaining team players must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hope of winning the state championship. The Miracle Season is in theaters this Friday (April 6th) and I am excited to see the hope and encouragement that this amazing story will share with its audience.

This trailer gives me chills EVERY SINGLE TIME.

The easily critical (myself sometimes included) love to criticize the emphasis and attention that we American’s put on sports. As I mentioned, I am guilty of this too. With a son in the Army, it kills my heart to see how our service men & women are compensated and treated while our Athletes are often worshipped. Even so though, I have to admit that whenever these truly impactful true stories of teamwork come out- I am exceptionally moved. And I must not be alone because we keep telling these stories, and the audiences always show up…

Have you ever been a part of a team, which impacted your life?


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