Photo taken by senior Journalism student Syd Witkowski 2022.
By J1 Reporter Megan Patterson
Becoming part of an athletic team automatically presents you with a group of peers who become your best friends. Moving from practice to practice to prepare for matches and games causes teammates to spend countless hours every week with each other. Everyone is working for common goals that range from winning, having fun, and enjoying the sport and people you are with. All of this can be altered with one misstep in the process: an injury.
Athletes run the risk of being injured when they commit to a team. For freshman Grace Patterson this became a reality. Patterson plays club soccer for Midwest Premiere Academy and in her state cup game at the Fremont Soccer Complex on Oct 10, she played goalie and fell, breaking her wrist. The next day she had emergency surgery on her wrist and was put in a cast for an undetermined number of weeks. Patterson explained that she soon realized that this would affect her ability to try out and play Marian basketball, another sport she loves.
“I was really worried about not being able to try out,” Patterson said, “but the coaches worked with me and allowed me to be put on reserve until I could play again.” Patterson had played summer basketball and had gone to conditioning, which helped her get to know the coaches. At first, Patterson was nervous about being a part of the team, while not being able to contribute in the playing aspect of the sport. “I made a conscious effort to pay attention during the practices that I had to watch so that when I could play, I would be prepared,” she said. Doing this allowed Patterson to have a smooth transition from sitting on the sidelines to playing in games.
Patterson started playing in reserve games eight weeks after her injury had taken place. “I was anxious and ready to work hard and work on my shot,” she said. Patterson played with her new freshman basketball friends that she had gotten close with during her time on the sidelines. She was then given the opportunity to swing up on the JV team and showcased her skills there. After about a month of getting back into shape, her hard work and determination to improve paid off, and she was given a JV spot and now even suits up in varsity games and was able to score her first points in a varsity uniform at the game against Fremont on Jan. 15 at Marian.
“I was scared my injury might affect my chances to play basketball at Marian,” Patterson said. “In the end, it brought me closer to my teammates and it forced me to work harder to earn my spot on the teams.”
Graphic by Megan Patterson
Persephone Prochaska, also known as Percy, is a junior who had a similar journey to Patterson’s. Prochaska joined Marian’s new wrestling team. Before Prochaska’s first match during practice on Nov. 2, she fell on her leg and thought she tore her ACL. She ended up tearing her meniscus, which caused her to miss one month of her wrestling season. Prochaska and her family chose not to have surgery, and instead, she started doing physical therapy twice a week.
Prochaska was disappointed when she realized she was going to be off the mats for a while, but her gloominess did not stick. She found that being a part of a team is not just about competing. She realized that making lasting friendships with her teammates and coach were just as important. “Although I was unable to compete,” she said, “I still made my resources valuable.” Prochaska helped out with the team during practices and was their biggest cheerleader on the sidelines at matches.
Prochaska admits that she was concerned about not being able to compete and bond with the team in that way. “In the end, it brought our team closer and helped with the team’s chemistry,” she said. “I also learned that I am a very good hype woman!”
After a month of physical therapy and getting back to 100%, Prochaska could finally compete in her first wrestling match with the Marian team on Jan 8. Being able to compete allows Prochaska the opportunity to do what she loves and still be a loud and passionate supporter of her team.
Patterson and Prochaska realized that an injury can not take your passions and goals away. Injuries are forks in the road that prohibit one path, but when doing that, it can open an even brighter path. This path is a lot of work, but with dedication, teammates, and coaches supporting you, the possibilities are endless.