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Focus on the Positive

By Siena Webster, Grade 12
Two Saturdays ago, my day took a turn when I dislocated my shoulder at the first game of our basketball tournament, within the first 20 seconds that I was on the court. Now I wish I had a crazy story to tell you all about how it happened, but the truth is all I was doing was going for a breakaway layup when an opponent ran into me from behind to stop me, and that she did…

Those of you who were here last year know that this is not my first time being in this situation from basketball. This past February I dislocated my same exact shoulder, and I was told that I wasn’t going to be able to play basketball for the rest of the season. And that time was not easy for me. So, coming into this new season, I was ready! I felt motivated and excited for this new beginning. I wanted to make sure that I was going to be the strongest player that I could be so that I wouldn’t have to go through that same pain again from last year. But what I thought was going to be a fun day of basketball with my team turned out to be a painful day spent at the hospital.
As I walked off the court on Saturday, the tears in my eyes were not mainly from the pain in my shoulder but the pain of knowing that everything I had worked hard for had all come tumbling down. I was now back at square one. I was frustrated, I was angry, and I was hurt. On my way to the hospital, all I could think about were the negatives: I won’t be able to play basketball for a month, I won’t be able to play at our CAIS tournament this weekend, I won’t be able to write with my left hand and I’ll have to do my physiotherapy all over again. I saw myself spiraling down this tunnel of all the bad things that I knew were coming.
But when I returned to Stanstead Saturday afternoon to watch my team play in the finals, all my negative thoughts went away. I got to sit on the bench to cheer my team on and watch them make some incredible shots including the “Gloria Special,” Sara Paquette’s on-fire three-pointers, Melissa’s crossovers and Henrike going for a three-pointer and then catching her own rebound to score a basket. Those positive little things that I decided to focus on made all the big negatives disappear. It was so special for me to watch my teammates play, and they all deserved those first-place medals.
I know I’m not the only one in this room that has dealt with an injury that prevents them from playing the sport they love. Whether it be soccer, basketball, hockey, or whatever sport it may be, the chances of getting injured will always be there. There was nothing that I could do on Saturday to stop the player from running into me. But what you can do is change how you react to the situation. You can either walk around all day feeling angry and sorry for yourself OR you can prove to the universe that this minor setback will not define who you are as a person.
What I’ve learned is that it is always 10 times easier to focus on the negatives, but the only way you’ll get through it is if you find the good and focus on that. So today I’m deciding to focus on the good. I am determined to become the best right-hand dribbler (as a lefty) this school has ever seen, and I will work hard at becoming an even stronger athlete than I was when I first started this season.
 “This too shall pass” is another one of my favourite quotes, and essentially what it means is that nothing is permanent. I do not want the next month of school to go by where I’m missing out on all the good things I have in my life because I was too busy focusing on what I don't have.
So, I'll leave you all with this: in life BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN. No matter how good a person you are or how good an athlete you are, sometimes you will fall down, and it might take you a while to get back up again, but when you do get up, do it with a bounce and show the world that you will come out stronger than you were ever before.