On January 17, while playing against Johnson County Community College, I went to dunk the basketball and got knocked down pretty hard on my way to the rim. After the fall I felt a pain in my knee that led to a bad limp the following days. An MRI revealed a tear in my meniscus which would require surgery.
My worst fear had been realized, a potentially season-ending injury halfway through my sophomore year here at Hesston College. It was very difficult for me to find a positive way to view the situation. However, after nearly a month injured on the bench, I’ve gained some new insight that can help players who find themselves in the predicament I was in.
They succeed, you succeed
When you are injured and not actively part of the team in games and practices, it can be tough to remain a positive part of your team, especially when things may have been going bad for you recently. The good news is, you are a part of a team, and the success that the team has is one in the same with the successes that you have. Cheer when the team is going on a run, and take part in the ups and downs of a not-so-great game. All of these aspects are what make a team sport enjoyable for all who participate, even those who aren’t playing at the moment.
Giving positive feedback
You don’t have to sit on the bench and be an inanimate object. As a player, you see things that your teammates and coaches may not see, and you could have insight that would be beneficial to the team—don’t be afraid to share that with your teammates.
However, criticism must be constructive and not destructive. Whether or not someone responds positively to your criticism is dependent upon your delivery. The goal is to be a positive extension of the coaching staff while on the bench, seeing that player’s may find it easier to take criticism from those who have been in the same position that they have.
Sitting in style
Although I’m not an NBA player at the moment, and fashion isn’t a staple in D2 junior college basketball, it can be a very interesting aspect of being sidelined. A large percentage of feeling good is looking good, and although no one wants to be an injured player, dressing as nice as possible can help with the negative feelings associated with life on the bench.
If I am going to have to sit on the bench, I might as well do it in style. Whether it be dress clothes or nice sneakers, maintaining a high level of fashion on the bench is essential to keeping up positive vibes and remaining a beneficial part of the team.
Although my time on the bench is coming to a close, seeing that the recovery process has gone well, I’m still appreciative of the learning experience which has come out of what would be a bad situation. Life on the bench, although not the most exciting, can be very rewarding.