Hard work. Focus. Rehab. Those were the three words that I concentrated on while going into the 2020 summer. My previous season was a letdown. Tearing the labrum in my hip provided a rough setback, but after having surgery in the spring, I made it a priority to come back better than ever so I could help my teammates by being the best version of myself. I was ready to have the best off-season of my career, but my summer had other plans.
At first, I thought it wasn’t that serious. Seeing COVID-19 in the news, I thought it would be something that would come and go in a few weeks. But then days passed. And then it was weeks. Then months. Every time I turned on the TV in my house, more people were being infected by the virus—rapidly. Instead of focusing on how to run better routes on the football field, I was focusing on pushup routines so I could stay in shape during quarantine while being at home.
It was a challenge, to say the least. I didn’t want to do anything stupid to hurt my family, so there were days where I would sit at home and think of what I could do inside the house to not risk exposure. If you know me, you know that I am a people person, so not being able to work out with any of my friends, which I would normally do every summer, was tough for my mental health. Eventually things started loosening up, but with every problem solved, another arose.
With the quarantining period past me, I began working out at my high school football field: flipping tires, working on hip mobility and running routes. I was starting to get back into my workout groove, but then the tragic death of George Floyd happened. Minneapolis, the city that I have called home all of my life, found itself in shambles. Riots and protests took place every day. An outpour of emotions were heard from all over the country. I had never seen anything like it, and I knew I had to take action in some way. Balancing protests and rehabbing became another struggle, but I knew that it had to be done so I could show my support in every way possible.
Fast forward to the final weeks of summer. I was finally starting to feel great. I began working out with my trainer, the Black Lives Matter movement had more support than ever and my hip felt fantastic after all the months of rehab. I was ready to kill it this season, but whispers of the fall football season being cancelled started to become louder and louder. I pushed this possibility to the back of my mind and kept working, but then news of the season being cancelled for the fall and hopes of a spring season hit me like a brick.
I saw myself become unmotivated. I sat in my house for a week just contemplating if what I was doing was even worth it anymore. I thought that all of my hard work over the summer would just go to waste. I am usually a very positive person, but having the whole football season vanish before my eyes hurt in a way that I had never experienced before. It sucked, but eventually I was able to bounce back. Talking to friends about it and forcing myself to focus on the positives in life gave me a new boost and I was able to finish the summer strong.
Here I am in my dorm room writing this article. My hip is back to normal, we will be having football practice this fall and I have a lot of positive energy. The off-season didn’t go the way I expected it to with all the twists and turns, but I can honestly say that I made the most out of everything that was thrown at me. I worked hard, was focused all summer and my rehab went very well. Definitely an off-season to remember.