By Kaimahi T.
My childhood and teenage years had mainly been focused on football. I absolutely love the excitement and energy of making a big play or sacking the quarterback! My brothers and I would play whenever we had a chance. I played little league football starting at age eight and joined the high school team as a freshman. As a sophomore in high school, I had the opportunity to play in a semi-final game for the state championship. I started my junior year now hoping to get scholarships to play in a division one school. Football was my life.
Midway through that year playing in a Friday night game, I felt my knee give out beneath me. I jumped right up and tried to play on as nothing had happened. The next play I was blitzing and it happened again. I ran to the trainer to find out what was going on. She told me that I had torn my ACL. I did not believe her; I didn’t want to believe her. I went to doctor after doctor expecting different results. Time after time I received the same answer: my ACL was torn. I was upset with God and found myself asking “Why me?” I lived to play football! I was determined to push through to be able to play for my senior year. I had full reconstructive surgery which put me in bed for a few weeks and on crutches for a month. I worked hard day in and day out in the weight room to build back the muscle I had lost. I went to therapy and rehabbed for more than the prescribed time. After many tests the doctor gave me clearance to play for my final season.
My first day back I was ecstatic! I was proud of my accomplishment. I was going to excel as I had always thought I would. The feeling of walking out onto the football field filled my body with excitement. My teammates and coaches gathered around and welcomed me back. Within the first hour of practice I was in pass coverage and planted my foot to break on a ball. My knee slipped and I knew exactly what had happened. I had torn the same ACL for the second time. I found myself lying on the field looking up.
This time I was not upset, I did not ask why. I felt as if God had just opened my eyes. In that very moment I began to cry. Not because I couldn’t play my senior season, but because of how blind I had been. At that point, I caught a glimpse of how much more God had in store for me. I learned that Heavenly Father gives me trials to teach me His ways. My pride in my athletic talent was torn down; I was compelled to be humble. My downward looking attitude towards others seemed to disappear. I believe my ability to exercise my talent was taken from me because I was not using it to be a blessing or a help. I was using it to be above others.
Everything about me changed. I no longer looked for popularity in school or acceptance from others. I started spending all my time with my family and found that their love more than sustained me. I felt blessed to be around them and I found true happiness. I also came to enjoy the blessings that come from knowing that God loves me and most importantly that being happy is a great blessing in itself. To this day I look back at my life and cringe when I think about where I would be without that guidance. It is a challenge to live how He wants me to live but I have found the most happiness in doing so.