Thursday, June 3, 2010

Brendan now you've got to come, she's where I get my smile from.

When I tell people I just recently tore my ACL for the fourth time, they have a pretty predictable reaction. Probably pretty similar to the one you're having if you're reading this for the first time. I've had people call me crazy, stubborn, passionate. Resilient, dedicated, stupid. Although my heart can't seem to settle on one of their assumptions. Questions about my intentions and the source of my motivation always leave me wondering myself.
And for a long time I had no answer for their questions, or my own. Maybe I did it because it was how I was raised, it was all I knew. I'm a Thomson and we don't give up. I can tell you stories that parallel mine about almost every member of my family. From Winston Churchill quotes to scenes from Rudy, my life has been immersed in the notion that to quit is to fail.

I could recite hundreds of cliches to explain my actions, but none seem to fit with me or my situation.

But only now do I see the whole picture; only now do I fully understand what is behind my desire to keep going, to never give up. And it has nothing to do with a quote. In fact it is quite simple: it's worth it.

The pain, the rehab, the crutches all pale in comparison to the experience the sport has given me. Without volleyball, I would have never been to Europe or California. I would have never won a National Championship. I would have never gone to the University of Tampa or represented my country in a National Competition. I would have never met the people I consider family. And I probably would have never joined the Peace Corps.

So I return a dropped jaw with a smile, because I know. I know the benefits I have reaped through this long process. And I know that if I was given a chance to play again, I would take it without question.