My Achilles Tendon – A Year Later · 16 January 2010

I know it is cliché, but what a difference a year makes. Last year, I was recovering from Achilles tendon surgery. Last weekend, I played my first basketball game in almost two years.

My Achilles will never be the same as it used to be, but it is nice to know that I can still play basketball. Or at least run up and down the basketball court. I can run and jump and shoot like I used to do. Which of course, means that I do not necessarily make very many shots or get up and down the court very fast, but anything is better than last year.

Last year, I was stuck on the sideline watching as my team played to a third place finish in our church league, our highest finish ever since we got together so many years ago. While it was great to watch them play so well all season, I had a difficult time being stuck on the sideline. This year, I huffed and puffed up and down the court for about 5 minutes of our first game. I got in the game three times for what seemed like 30-second stints. But I was in the game.

Last year, I watched and learned how to move without the ball. I watched as one of my colleagues and friends did the exact same motions each time he took a shot. When I was recovered enough to shoot baskets, I took that lesson and improved my own shot. This year, nobody was covering me when I got the ball on my first trip down the court. I took and made my first shot of the year. A three-pointer.

Last year, I did not do anything to get in shape for the season. This year, I have run up and down the court a few times, enhanced my daily morning exercises, and even practiced taking shots. I was still not in shape for the first game, but at least I finished the game.

Much of the credit for the difference from last year to this year goes to my surgeon. He told me that if I really wanted to play basketball again, I would need to be more than the weekend warrior I had become. I took his words to heart. And even though I have not done as much as I should to get back into basketball shape, I have strengthened my Achilles and the muscles around it. I have not done as much as I should, but I have done enough to get stronger. I have done enough to get back on the court.

It is funny to think that as we age, we believe that the glory days are behind us. We sometimes think that we cannot get better doing the things we love. This past year, I have come to the conclusion that this is not true at all. While my one three-pointer does not mean that I am a better basketball player than I used to be, I know that I have more confidence because I have been practicing. I know that I can come back from injury. I know that I can still play hard. I will never be a professional basketball player, but I can still improve my game. I can still get on the court and hoop it up.

Last year after rupturing my Achilles tendon and sitting on the sideline watching my team, I wondered whether I would ever play basketball again. This year, I believe that I can play as long as I can run. I know it is cliché, but what a difference a year makes.

© 2010 Michael T. Miyoshi

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