Spikeball changes sophomore’s summer

Summer was finally here, which meant no more Zoom classes and sitting inside all day. For my friends and I, a good way of celebrating the occasion was by getting some sun and having a get-together. We had been playing a game, new to me, called spikeball and thought it was time we started up a tournament for some money. The sport consists of a ball and a net where two people play on each side. Similar to volleyball, the primary goal of the game is to hit the ball hard enough to where the opposing team can’t receive it. 

“Jarrett, you’re gonna be with Will. Holt, you’re gonna be with me,” Gavin said. “Us four are going against each other in the first round,” he continues. 

“Sounds good,” I said, while we finished putting the nets together. My team lined up on our side and began practicing with each other. I felt a rush of adrenaline and was fixed on taking home the winning money. We figure that communication is key to doing well, so we are very focused on making calls throughout the round. The score keeps going up and down, and there’s never a big lead by either one of the teams. “Game,” said Johnny, one of the tournament referees. “Holt and Gavin take game one,” he continues. 

At this point, we are one game away from being knocked out, and our chances look unfavorable. “My feet are burning,” I say while sprinting over the turf to the shady chairs. As the afternoon goes on, the temperature changes with it and the sun begins draining us. We pull ourselves up and trot back to the playing field. 

“Ready?” I look over at Jarrett and he gives me a quick nod. 

The next game escalates quickly because we have limited time on the field. There are now two refs, which guarantees no biased calls. We take a big lead but it’s matched by the fifth point. Our rounds are getting longer and longer, and at this point all of our friends are closing in on the thrill, anticipating who will get eliminated first. 

“The score is 11-11, first to take a two-point lead,” says Johnny. 

Jarrett and I look back to each other, rapidly switching our eyes back to the net. Holt and Gavin serve the ball and we rally intensely before they take a one point lead. They only have one left to take it home. Trailers always take the serve when it’s a one point game, so I hit it with a spin to try and mess up their hit. They manage to counter it easily, and when I see the ball go soaring in the air my immediate thought is to dive for it. As I hit the ball towards the net, I come down and feel a pop in my left knee cap. I fall to the ground and instantly reach for my leg. I’m in immense pain but trying to remain calm. 

“What happened? Are you okay?” says Ryan. He can see that I am not able to get up, so he lifts me from the turf and walks me back to the chairs. 

“I think I broke my leg. I’m trying to move it but I can’t,” I said. Prior to this, I had never broken a bone or anything in that matter, so my initial thought is that I broke something.

“Oh no, that doesn’t look good at all,” says my dad, staring down at my 8-ball of a knee cap. 

Luckily, he had met with a leg doctor a few months back and knew exactly who to call when the time came. On our first visit, I was told that it was either a fracture or tear of my acl. The news strikes me, and I start dreading the months I would be spending inside my house instead of enjoying my summer. 

“Unfortunately, you tore your acl and will be spending the next 6 weeks on crutches, followed by physical therapy throughout the year,” my doctor said, as he hands my mom the MRI scan.  

It took me a minute to wrap my head around what I had just been told. I never would have thought that my excuse to get outside of the house would send me right back to the darkness of my home and long hours of zoom calls and video games.