How It Feels to Lose Something You Love

Waking up at 7am on Saturday Morning, I scrambled to throw my darks & whites into my NorthFace Bag, and scurried to grab 2 pairs of socks (just in case). I left my house just on time, only to rush back 5 minutes later to grab my tumblr bottle from the fridge. 

I miss you.

I used to play Ultimate Frisbee, and I knew at some point, I was obsessed. Everyday became another day for frisbee talk – training programmes, throws, gym, meeting team-mates, talking about school… my routines eventually became revolved around the world of chasing plastic.

And surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one into this addictive sport.

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“What’s so fun about it?” they ask. “Nobody even plays it much right? Since you’re so tall, why don’t you try out for basketball, or netball?”

Well, apart from being a total clown in the above sports, I loved the feeling of being Ultimate. You know what I mean?  It’s…

  • The random jios to throw anywhere, anytime.
  • The day after a competition and your social media is flooded with amazing photos.
  • The crazy hype before a tournament.
  • The x number of iced drinks after training.
  • The horrible suicides and fartlegs.
  • The 10,000 friends you’ll eventually make since it’s the same faces every single competition.

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Holding the disc was a love so raw, and indescribable that Ultimate Frisbee wasn’t just about becoming browner every Saturday. It became an identity I was darn proud of. I would sign up for every single tournament, spend the entire weekend chasing plastic, and then leave Sunday with strong pangs of post-tournament withdrawals.

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I’ve been part of amazing teams, where my team mates fought hard, flew high, and saved everyone’s asses until we reached the podium. Savouring the moment together is a feeling I’ll never forget.

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Then, the days came where injuries began to plague my body – the mini-scabs all over my knees and elbows,  the overly tight glutes and the annoying dull ache on my back. Waking up on some days truly felt like a chore.

Amongst all these, the champion still goes to the disastrously painful knots on my shoulders. They never ever ever ever ever disappear, I swear! #ultimatefrisbeeproblems

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When my first pair of cleats gave up on me

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As time passed, scar after scar criss-crossed my entire leg, looking like I just fought a battle over the weekend. Then a day was marked when I got my first ankle sprain. And then my first fractured elbow.

And my first ACL tearIt was a sickening crunch and every training began to feel a little less exciting, and a little less like it used to be.

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Now, I can’t even remember what it’s like anymore.

I can’t remember the last time I’d wake up and be spammed with notifications of attendance updates, where every single ‘ding‘ was someone else’s yes to trainings.

I can’t understand the terms people scream on the fields, nor do I feel the anxiety when someone drops the disc.

I can’t relate to the frisbee talk, or how teams talk about strategy after strategy on the fields.

So I told myself, since I’m injured, I’ll do what I can for whoever I’m around with. I filmed One Hand Grab Videos, created ridiculous Alliance Instagram stories, and had fun making SMU Ultimate Frisbee videos. It’s definitely refreshing, and new – but it’s also, definitely not the same as before.

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There’s been so many friendships made, and so many hours spent; so many double-tap moments, and yet so many regrets. With 6 months past the ACL injury and a half-forgotten feeling for something I used to love, it’s a real dilemma being stuck in the middle of holding back and moving on.

I don’t know how injured people brace themselves to move on, or how they’d overcome their fear of hearing that sick crunch again, and being brought out of the fields in a split second after months of training.

I also don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but for now, operation, rehab, recovery, and maybe… one day I’ll be back.

Aliens  |  Disc Knights  |  AJC  |  Polar Pirates  | SkrubDisc

National Youth 2016  |  SMU  |  Alliance

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18 thoughts on “How It Feels to Lose Something You Love

  1. Jj says:

    Very nice article. Just get back on that horse as soon as rehab is done. Everything will eventually go back to the way it was. My daughter, Natasha Caluza, studies there now and you should meet. She’s a fountain of positivity. Luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eugene says:

    Don’t give up on finding ways to continue playing! Be patient and do what it takes to recover, it will be worth the wait. I’ve had a back injury (not as serious) and my friend (two actually) has ACL tears, but we’re all on the field after some time out, even though it never fully goes away we make do with what we can. I hope you will be able to find your way back to the sport you love too as I can understand how painful it is to give up the sport and the teammates you love. Keep chasing your passion!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leongjiaqin says:

      Hi Eugene,

      Awwww, this is really relatable. Yeah I know how it feels and it’s all a choice at the end of the day. Thank you so much for your comment, I really appreciate this ☺️ Hope your back injury is better now, and that you’re still playing your sport as well!

      Like

  3. yx says:

    This is very, very relatable! I’ve been playing ultimate for about 9 years now and I have amassed quite the (un)healthy list of injuries from the sport: multiple twisted ankles, a muscle strain that sidelined me a day out from comp, a broken bone in my left hand that required surgery, a PCL tear in my left knee (twice), another complete rupture of all my left ankle ligaments. The point is that I understand where you’re coming from!

    The last straw came about two years ago when I dislocated my right elbow in a tourney. For the next 2 months my right arm was in a cast and I couldn’t even take notes, cook or do basic chores around the house properly (who knew your dominant hand would be that important). I remember thinking to myself, “Why on earth would I want to continue playing frisbee if it brings so much unnecessary trouble in daily life?” .

    Like you, I was haunted by the sickening “crunch” you described in your post; I never wanted to experience that again, and of course the best way to avoid it was to never step on the field again. It was a tough decision and I didn’t want to give up on something I had worked on so hard for near a quarter of my life, I’m sure you know how that feels. In the end, I took a long hiatus from the sport and pursued something completely different. It turned out to be a great decision, I made some new friends and enjoyed learning something new again.

    But you know what makes ultimate so great? You can remove yourself completely from playing the sport, but you still remain inextricably tied to the friends you made in that time. I kept in regular contact with the wonderful people I’d met and slowly got back to playing casually from time to time. Even if you’re out of action you never really are out of the scene.

    And now, 2 years on from that last injury, I somehow found my way back into the sport, with a few old friends welcoming me generously onto their team. All of a sudden I found myself playing my first tournament in 2 years with all fear of that sickening “crunch” forgotten. I don’t quite know what changed and what made me “brace myself and move on” from my injury, but I reckon the cheesy answer is that time heals all wounds – be it a torn ligament, or the fear of injury that now comes with giving your all on the field.

    I didn’t quite mean to make such a long post (sorry!), but as someone who’s shared a similar experience, I just wanted to let you know that it is completely normal if you find yourself getting disinterested, losing love for the sport and needing a break. Time off the sport helped me rekindle some love for it, and maybe that can help you too. You don’t lose your throws or game sense that easily, and you most certainly don’t lose your friends just because you stop playing.

    Take your time on the road to recovery and don’t rush things! Time heals all and if getting back on the field is what you want, you’ll be back before you know it. Good luck with the op and rehab!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. leongjiaqin says:

    Hi yx,

    This is really heartfelt, and I can feel your pain (it’s really a long list of injuries) and I hope you’re still wholly intact more or less 😉 And yes, I am at the beginning of this entire process, and even though it’s common amongst many athletes, it does hit really hard when it happens to you yourself.

    Even so, reading your story really enlightened me and I hope I’ll be able to reach your stage one day. Choosing to move on was probably tough, but there’s pros and cons to everything! And it’s definitely true that the friends you make here stay for a lifetime.

    I truly hope time heals all wounds, and the hiatus will probably be more beneficial for now. Thank you so much, I am really grateful for your advice and I’ll work hard from here! 🙂

    Like

  5. Andro Umali says:

    Think about it this way: you are getting back from something that you can actually get back from. Lots of athletes have gotten through an ACL tear, had surgery, did proper rehab, and was able to to what they love. A lot more people aren’t as fortunate. I know of someone who used to do a lot of sports but then she had a brain tumor. When the doctors removed the tumor it left her paralyzed on one side of the body. Or the athlete who suffered a freak accident that his leg and arm had to be removed just for him to survive.

    Trust me. You’re one of the lucky ones.

    -Who am I to say these things? I’m a doctor who has worked and seen things many other people haven’t seen. I’m also a former UAAP Judo varsity player.

    Like

    • leongjiaqin says:

      Hey Andro,

      This is a humbling read. Indeed, this ACL tear is a mere injury to the many more serious, and terminal illnesses you’ve seen. I am lucky, for realising the good in this problem, and for having people like you to share your many experiences with me. It must be a stressful job to watch people go through what they do, but I hope you’re having a fulfilling time nonetheless! No matter what, I hope you continue to inspire, encourage and share your experiences, just as you have to me.

      Thank you so much, I really appreciate this! 🙂

      Like

  6. A says:

    Kaya yan! Don’t rush rehab tho
    Got my heart broken when my acl was completely torn… Football, duathlons… Iyak super
    But with proper training, you’ll get back to it..
    1 year post ACL repair here..

    Like

  7. Jon Lee says:

    Totally understand what you are going through. Injuries are inevitable in sports, especially when they are pretty intense.

    I play football and tore my meniscus once, ACL twice. Been out for 6 to 9 months each time but yes, be focused on working hard in rehab. I’m sure you will get back better and stronger!

    Like

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