When I was Invincible
When I was young I learned early on that I could will my body into doing great things. If I perceived it, I could become faster, move quicker, and be smarter than my opponents. Soccer was my weapon of choice, mainly out of a strong hispanic tradition. On the field I took pride in fending off players literally twice my size. I was always small, but it never felt that way to me.
When I was young, I learned that I could push my body to do things previously unattainable for my form. I wanted to be stronger and muscular and run greater distances. The weight room became my second home. Mostly because I had no weight sets at my house. Soon I was lifting weights that the older kids were lifting. I pushed and my body would bend. I began to think I was invincible.
When I was young I learned that my body could bend and adapt to almost anything. When I got older I learned that my body could break.
I was a young prodigy. Not even 14 years of age and I could do anything with a soccer ball. I never scored a goal but I could control the rhythm of the game with the flick of my feet. It seemed that the field itself was on another plane where I was the center. With just a shift in my weight I could tilt the world and make everyone on it jerk and fall. If I thought about it long enough I could probably even change the weather.
The first injury I ever had sprained my ankle. It wasn’t the worst pain of my life but it turned my foot into a softball. The slide tackle that did the job was malicious. He came from behind and made no attempt at the ball in front of me. He got a yellow card for his abuse. I came down hard and bellowed in a frequency too low and angry for a kid that age. It wasn’t a cry of pain so much as a cry of frustration that would bear my tears after. He knew I was in control; I was being targeted. Ironically, my first thought was to get up and fight for the ball that was just out of reach but when I took the first step, my leg gave way and the world around me changed. For the first time in my life I felt helpless. I was a victim of my environment. The ball, only a few feet away, felt as distant as the horizon. Everything seemed to grow taller as I grew smaller. I could feel my weight, a mere 110 lbs- 115 if I felt tough. I had to be carried off the field that day.
Crutches would have to carry me to class the next day. I arrived 10 minutes late because of it and I aged 10 years during the journey. I had gained the wisdom to know that I was in fact human. But I didn’t want it. All I could do was look back on the days when I was invincible.