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From Surgery to the International Stage

By Marianne Picard, Grade 11
Exactly one and a half years ago, I tore my ACL. In fact, I was in the parking lot of Colby when my dad announced to me the result of the MRI. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember collapsing and sobbing for hours in his arms. My world had fallen apart.

For most NARPs (non-athletic regular people), this might seem like banal news. However, for me, it meant that the possibility to achieve my dream to play for Team Canada had fallen to a small 1%. It was practically impossible to come back in time. It could only happen through a small miracle. According to the doctor, it would take me a full season to recover and the dream I had worked for almost 13 years was not going to come true, which was devastating. However, there was always this small voice inside my head telling myself that there was still a slight chance for me to come back in time, and that voice said: resiliency.

The first miracle on my road to recovery was the date of my surgery. I was scheduled for the August 3, which was extremely close to the Canada Games in January. I needed more time and a miracle to recover in time. Fortunately, on the July 3 at 7 am, one month before my planned surgery, I got a phone call from my doctor telling me to come to the hospital ASAP as there was a surgery cancelled and he had the time to do my knee. The surgery went super well.

Two days later, I was in the gym doing my physio and working on my upper body strength. I spent countless hours in the physio room and stickhandling. I even went on the ice without the authorization of the doctor. I came back in a record time of four and a half months. My doctor had never seen a knee recover that fast.

My first game back was on December 15, 2018. The same night, as I came back to my room, I called the Team Quebec coach asking him to let me come to the camp, which was the
following week. If my surgery had been only two weeks later, none of this would have happened. In life, everything is a question of timing and let me tell you what happened to me is worthy of fairytales. The next week, I was there, being evaluated and playing my second game of the year. Luckily, I made the team, which allowed me to go to the Canada Games. It was practically a miracle. Playing at the Canada games for team Quebec allowed me to get invited to the Team Canada camp the following summer. My hard work paid off and I made the team.

But my dream was not over. I wanted to go to the nationals and the world championship, which were in December. Once again, there was a setback. I got injured one week before nationals. I tore my ankle and could barely walk. I played anyway, my ankle all taped up and in terrible pain, but it was worth it because we came back with bronze 11 months post-op.

Now, this is where the fairytale part comes in. On the November 7, I got a phone call on the bus coming from New York. I was sitting next to my best friend Milou and I decided to answer. It was the Hockey Canada coach telling me that I had made the team. I started tearing up with joy. My dream finally came true. All these hours spent on the ice or in the gym. All these nights crying myself to sleep because I thought it would be impossible for me to come back in time. All of this was worth it. It was a miracle. The pure joy I felt at this moment was indescribable. I phoned my family and we were all crying together. It was simply the best moment of my life. I was living a miracle.

Some people wonder why I am religious and this is why. Something happened that year that I can't describe. All the stars were aligned and the timing was perfect. There are too many factors for this to be just luck and a bunch of coincidences.

To continue, a month after this phone call I had the chance to represent my country on the international stage one and a half years after surgery. Along the way of this journey of achieving my dream, I have learned many life lessons, but the one thing that allowed me to achieve all this was resiliency.

Resiliency means to recover quickly from difficulties and being tough. I will admit, some days were more difficult than others but I never felt sorry for myself. Being resilient is the greatest character trait anyone could have. Resiliency allows you to get over any challenges life throws at you. And let me tell you’re all going to need resilience one day because the world can be a very mean and nasty place sometimes. Resiliency is getting back on your feet and moving forward no matter what, which is the most important lesson my story can teach.