‘Well, here we are’ I sigh, while I fall into a chair next to my dad in the waiting room of the local hospital. ‘We won’t be leaving this place for another couple of hours, I guess.’ We’re being held company by a sad-faced boy with a bloody finger and three very grave-looking women. The emergency room is an awful place, and I almost feel guilty sitting here with something so banal as a hurt foot. But okay, after an opponent had stepped directly on top of it with iron studs and I suspected it was broken, it couldn’t be a bad idea to have a doctor take a look at it.
Playing on an empty tank
Earlier that morning, about 70 minutes before I would get injured, I had a pretty scary experience on Moldavo’s field. We were playing against KV Mechelen that day, and the winner would become the new league leader. That morning I had felt fine: fit, well-rested and eager for a good performance and the three points. But ten minutes after the game had started I realised something was wrong. My legs didn’t want to cooperate, I had trouble breathing and after every sprint I had to slow-jog for minutes to recover.
The best way to describe the feeling is saying it’s like trying to drive a car with only a very tiny little bit of gas left in the tank. It’s possible, but you sputter along and know that you can come to a halt at any given second. That is exactly how I felt. Halfway through the second half I got kicked, subbed off, and in the dug-out I realised something was not okay in my foot. So, off to the hospital it was.
A little accident and a dear friend
Dutch rapper Typhoon has a line in one of his songs that goes ‘so the only thing I hope for is to get a little accident. You know, a small one, that forces you to rest for a while’ (damn, Dutch hiphop sounds awful when you have to translate it to English). Anyway, I think that is pretty much the message my body was trying to send me. See, getting injured is never fun, but maybe it was necessary this time. For the first time in very long, I didn’t do anything for an entire week. Forced myself not to look at the ticking clock on the wall that tells me how many days the 2019 World Cup is removed from us. I laid on the couch, did some school work, watched some Netflix: everything at an extremely slow pace and occasionally with ice on my foot. This got extremely annoying after about three hours, and I wanted nothing more than to go outside and run a few laps. But I made myself stay on the couch. Everytime I suffer from a small injury, my respect grows for people that for example tear an ACL. I haven’t been on the field in a week now, and it feels like I’ve lost a dear friend (you are allowed to laugh at this, I realise how melodramatic this sounds).
If I have met the medical criteria for overtraining, I don’t know. And frankly, I don’t really care all that much. In the recent months, I’ve been doing just slightly too much once again, and last week that all piled up. The tank was empty, the battery was dead. Maybe that small injury came exactly at the right time, and I can thank God on my bare knees that I wasn’t hit a millimeter to the left or right, which would have probably had my foot in a cast. A week of mandatory couchsurfing was exactly the physical and mental distance from soccer that I needed.
Papa, don’t preach
‘Well, that probably was the shortest hospital visit in the history of mankind!’ I laugh, as I limp to the car next to my dad, about fifteen minutes later. ‘I hope you realise how lucky you were, Emma. Did you hear what the doctor said? Your foot could’ve just as easily been broken!’ I nod, and mumble something in reply. Here it comes, the expected speech. ‘I told you you had been way too busy these last weeks? I want you to do ab-so-lu-tely nothing now. You can cancel work, you’re going home and lying on the couch. Ice on that foot. And no house work. Resting. Mandatory.’ I chuckle. Why are dads always right?
Thanks for reading, talk soon!