April 6, 2006
Kathryn L. Knapp
PAYING TRIBUTE TO ATHLETES
Deep Thoughts By...
Imagine starting a new phase of your life. Everything is falling into place. Youíre where you want to be. Youíre working hard every day to prove yourself. And then, you hit a bump in the road Ė a season-ending injury. For the average person, an injury can be crippling. But for a professional athlete, itís devastating.
In this column, I want to acknowledge those who have gone through this. As a human being, I canít even begin to imagine what they go through. But the fact that they overcome the injury and come back stronger than before is incredible. Iíve seen it time and time again, from high school to college to professional.
Itís a process. And you have to have the right mindset. Itís not the end of the world. It might be a new beginning, just not the one you were looking for. Itís easy for those of us to sit on the outside and try to put into words what these athletes go through. But I canít even imagine it. I was an athlete in high school, not hardcore, but somewhat serious. Sitting on the sidelines would have driven me crazy.
Now at the beginning of the 2006 MLS season, Iím watching some players wrap up their rehab, while others are just beginning. Itís not easy. But in the end, they will all be stronger and find their success. Itís a step-by-step process. And baby steps come in handy. But the true heart of an athlete, wonít give up. And all we can do from the outside is root them on.
So for all the fans out there, stand behind your athletes. Encourage them and be there. For the next time they step on the field and hear that applause, it will all be remembered.
Day after day we all go through trying times. And at the end of the day, all thatís left is you and a mirror. The image you see in the mirror is a reflection of all thatís passed. Events challenge our character and our beliefs. But the person who can look in the mirror and turn that frown upside down, is the one who will take it to the next level.