I had a very successful high school basketball career. I am the all-time leader for assists and points in my high school's program. I then went on to play at arguably one of the best mid-major women’s basketball programs in the country under (again arguably) one of the best college coaches in the country. I had an awesome experience, travelled to different countries, played in the NCAA tournament, made awesome memories, and formed amazing friendships that last to this day.
At the end of my senior year at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay I had to decide if I wanted to play another year of basketball because I was granted a 5th year due to Covid. This was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. Did I want to play another year? Did I want to continue school? Did I want to start life without basketball? I played all four years at Green Bay and graduated in the spring of 2021. I felt satisfied with my time that I spent in Green Bay.
Receiving another year of eligibility was an opportunity that I was so fortunate to have. Therefore, I took advantage of the opportunity and figured I’d get my master’s degree and try something completely different and new, because when would I ever get this opportunity again?
I really wanted to branch out and challenge myself, because if you know me, I hate change. So that is what I did… I branched out, branched out all the way to Birmingham, Alabama. Leaving all my friends and family back in Minnesota and Wisconsin, 16 hours away. I’ve never even been to Alabama prior to my decision.
I was so excited for a new experience and ready to finish my last basketball season. I found a great school in an awesome city with amazing facilities, resources, and people.
What I wasn’t ready for was a season ending injury on June 30th during our last workout before the 4th of July break. I tore my ACL and Meniscus. Prior to this injury, I’ve never been hurt before. I missed two college games due to the flu but that was it. I’ve never had to sit out and watch my teammates compete… I was always the one able to compete. This was one of the hardest battles I’ve had to endure both mentally and physically. I’ve had teammates that have gone through this battle themselves and seen it firsthand, however, I never truly understood what they were going through until I went through it myself. The challenge is real.
As everyone knows basketball season is one of the longest seasons, getting two months off out of the year and when we say “off” you still have workouts to get done, wherever you are.
Before this injury there were many days that I didn’t want to do workouts, days I didn’t want to practice, days I didn’t want to get out of bed to lift, days I didn’t want to get extra shots up, days I didn’t want to do extra conditioning …Heck…I didn’t even know if I wanted to take my extra year to play another year of basketball.
However, now I wish I could do all those things. I have gained a new perspective and gratitude for the game. Therefore, I want to share that with you all, so you don’t have to have a season ending injury to understand it. It sounds very cliche but it’s true. Enjoy and embrace the time you have playing the sport that you love. Think about what you get to do, rather than what you have to do. You never know when it could be the last time you are able to compete. It could all be taken away from you in seconds, when you’re least ready, when you’re least expecting it.
I challenge you to take advantage of the opportunities that are thrown your way and to appreciate them.
I challenge you to control the things you can control like your work ethic and attitude.
I challenge you to think before you complain.
Lastly, I challenge you to be the best teammate you can be.
I challenge you to do all these things because there is always someone out there that wants to be in that same exact position you are in. Take advantage of the opportunities that you have and be grateful that you are in the position you are in. A little over 7 percent of athletes go onto play in college. Less than 2 percent of high school athletes go onto to play at the division 1 level. If you step on that court whether it is practice or a game control what you can control, such as your work ethic and attitude. Give it your all, because again, it can be taken at any point when your least ready or expecting it. While you’re complaining that you don’t want to do something or that you’re not getting enough playing time, someone else would love to have that opportunity, no matter how tiring workouts are or how little playing time you get.
We see so many players get caught up in themselves, with personal stats, with personal accomplishments. However, the game of basketball is a team game. You cannot win games with just one player. You need all five people on the court. I was once told that there is nothing more powerful than being a great teammate and I can testify to that. I had great teammates and I had mediocre teammates… but you better believe I appreciated and remembered the good ones and I was better player and person because of them. My experience with the great teammates was much more enjoyable than the time with the mediocre teammates.
At the end of the day when you cannot play anymore you will look back and you will remember the way your teammates made you feel and the memories you created with them…not your personal stats and or your personal accomplishments. So have a good attitude, work hard, be grateful, and be a good teammate. Your experience that you may never get back will be 100 percent better and more enjoyable. Therefore, if and whenever the game is taken from you, you can look back and say that you are satisfied with your time playing the sport you love.
- Lyndsey Robson