Tragedy turns into triumph

By Evan White

Coming home for a weekend in St. Louis to see family, friends, and to play the game I love, basketball. For the past couple of weeks, my heart has been at home back with my loved ones and the people I talk to on the daily basis. I couldn’t wait to get a 3–4-day weekend just to get away from school and a large amount of schoolwork.

While being only two hours away from home, I often try to find time throughout the weekend to go to my hometown just to get away from school and some mental breaks. Usually the weekends are the best, as I don’t have to worry about class, attending events, or going to practice, or meetings.

With the basketball season coming to an end, my workout schedule has changed as I still try my best to stay in shape and find times that are convenient for me to hit the gym while I stay on top of my schoolwork.

Playing in two different men’s leagues in St. Louis can be challenging for some, including myself as the trip is two hours there and back to Quincy for school every Monday morning. However, returning to school sometimes can be the sad part after leaving family and friends. 

The basketball leagues are played on Thursdays and Sundays, which are for two different teams in two different areas in St. Louis. At first, I was hesitant getting into these leagues to play due to the fact I still have a college career ahead of me.  

On Sunday April 18th, I played in the most popular league in St. Louis known as the Show-me league that hosts the best players in in the Missouri and Illinois area. People come from all over to play in these games as ages vary from ages 17 to some in their 40s.

The basketball game started at 2 p.m. on Sunday and prior to the game I was able to stretch and warm up in the doorway of the side entrance in the gym. Doing a few simple stretches like jumping jacks, knee pulls, and jogging in place loosened my body up just enough for me to feel warm to be ready to play.

As the game started, I played the whole first half, which was 20 minutes. The team only had six players leaving us with one sub. Throughout the first half, the floor was a little slippery which caused me to slip a few times before getting subbed out of the game. As the second half started, I checked in at about the 16-minute mark to relieve one of my teammates. 

As I drove to the basket, I did a hesitation move and felt an indescribable pain in the back of my left foot, near my heel area. My Achilles tendon had ruptured.

I did not know what happened as I assumed someone had come from behind and kicked me in my foot as I was going to the basket. I was sadly mistaken and went down instantly. 

My family took me to Barnes and Jewish hospital in St. Louis for an x-ray where the doctors saw my Achilles had become detached from my foot. As painful as it sounded hearing that come out of the doctor’s mouth, I had to accept it for what it was. At this moment, I began to have flashbacks on that specific play on what could I have possibly done differently. After concluding, my answer was nothing.

We as athletes, play the sports we love because the passion for these games is what drives us and keeps us going. With the love we have for the game, comes along with risks we choose to take. On that day I took a risk.

Now I’m back home surrounded by loved ones, receiving nothing but tons of love and support from my family and friends rooting and praying for my speedy recovery. 

As they say, God doesn’t give battles to no soldier that he doesn’t think he can handle it. I believe I’m that candidate as I became a firm believer in whatever doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger. As my mother said, things can be a lot worse, so I’m grateful to still to be able to move, eat, and breathe normally.

Moving forward, my confidence and drive is still high with my approach for the game I love as I slowly make a major comeback from a minor setback.

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