The voice of WHS students
This story represents a portion of the recent work produced by The Apple Leaf staff. The Apple Leaf is published by the Advanced Journalism class at Wenatchee High School, under the tutelage of adviser Dave Riggs. The award-winning publication is a forum for expression by the students of Wenatchee High School, affording them a chance to air facts and opinions relative to all issues of concern to them.
Every athlete knows the risk of playing sports. We know that what we do isn’t safe. We can get concussions, pull muscles, tear tendons or break bones, but we continue on in our sports anyway. Why? And is it really worth it?
I can confidently say, as an athlete, that the sports we do are worth the risk. I am an equestrian, so my sport is horseback riding. I recently had a scary experience that made me realize just how much it means to me.
Last week, I was training my horse to ride bridleless. We were riding in a circle when my horse started to head for the gate I had left open. I reached around her neck to grab her halter and try to correct the circle.
The problem was that I didn’t realize how fast my horse was going or how close the fence was. Had I not been leaning off the side to reach the halter, everything would have been fine. We would have passed through the gate with no problems. I would have gotten my horse back in the arena and we would continue working on circles.
Instead, I slammed full speed into a metal fence and crumpled to the ground. I pushed myself up on my hands and watched the blood dripping from my face, making red patterns in the sand. My whole body was shaking from the impact and the metallic vibration was still echoing in my ears.
I was mentally yelling at myself for not paying attention. I tried to press myself up the rest of the way, but collapsed on my side. Confused, I looked down at my legs. I saw the unnatural way my thigh swayed right in the middle, and as the shock wore off, the pain set in. People were all around me, telling me not to move, calling an ambulance, and putting coats under my head. I lay in the cold sand, blood streaming down my face, and tried to breathe through the pain in my leg.
My main thoughts were about what this meant for my horse and me. I had competitions to train for and compete in. Horseback riding is my life; I just can’t stop, but I can’t ride a horse with a broken leg. So, as tears started to run down my face, it wasn’t because of the pain, it was because of what I knew I was losing, if only for a while.
I know now that it’s worth the risk. Even as I sit here, unable to walk with a femur split clean in two and repaired with a metal rod and some screws, never once have I considered quitting. Never once have I considered moving to the sidelines where it’s safer. It would mean giving up so much. To me, horseback riding is more than a sport. In the same way, I’m sure basketball players think of basketball as more than a sport.
When you are doing what you truly love, nothing can compare. It gives you a sense of freedom, power and joy you can’t get anywhere else. I think sports are definitely worth the risk, because pain fades and injuries heal, but the feeling you get from doing what you are passionate about, that’s irreplaceable.
Breanna Andrew is an Apple Leaf staff reporter.