Watching the sports news there is always mention of the inevitable, injuries. The injury list of a club. Who’s in, who's out, who needs surgery, who may be ready to make a comeback.
Who has been dealt a blow that has ruled them out of the season or pending an early retirement? Risks are inherent in life, we take them every day and without fail sports include risks where injuries can and do occur.
Wheeled motorsports, rugby, roller sports, equestrian, and AFL carry the highest rates of injury in Australia for sports injuries (requiring hospitalisation). Fractures and soft tissue injuries are the biggest contributors to Australian sports injuries making up nearly 70% of all hospitalisations (Middlemiss, 2020).
Just recently I found myself sitting on the spectator side of the fence, having been dealt an injury blow. During rehab, one coach gave a perspective that this may only be a slight change in the road for now. It won’t be forever but may have a lasting impact – the outcome of which I hold the key to.
Most injuries, setbacks, and knock-backs are likened to a ‘speed hump’ in the road. A block or hurdle we weren’t expecting to come across. Something that sets us back.
This, in the sporting sense, is generally an injury that can set a player back for weeks or months at a time. In life, this might look different be it; loss of a job, income, friend or family member, accident, injury, or illness.
If you have lived life long enough to read this article, I am sure you can recall some ‘speed humps’ in life. Moments that threw you off the chartered course you thought was in front of you.
Whilst speed humps can change our lives, I believe it is what we ‘put inside’ of the speed humps that determine whether they become a launchpad or hindrance moving forward.
Thinking about a speed hump, they are designed inroads to slow cars down. You physically have to reduce speed along the road, and they are an interruption to traveling on the road. Hit a speed hump too fast and you risk doing damage to your car.
A launchpad on the other hand, leaves the exiting car with more momentum and drive to propel itself further than when it entered the launch pad, and achieve greater distance than if there were no launch pad at all.
Hitting a speed hump I believe it is what we place ‘inside’ the speed hump that determines the outcome. If our circumstances are filled with “What if…” “Why me?” “I wish….” Questions, the negative experience of the circumstance becomes our reality. Living in the worn-out, negative excuses or reality we might be living in.
Alternatively, I believe hitting a speed hump, if we fill the experience with solid truth, can become a launchpad that propels us forward. This, to me, looks like filling life with God’s word and His truth and surrounding ourselves with positive decisions and people amid the speed hump we find ourselves.
Jesus didn’t shy away from the truth of reality and told us to expect hardship as his followers, but he promised Peace as we seek him; the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Jesus lived life on earth and walked in humanity – he knew the realities of life, and promised that whilst we won’t escape hard times – he will be there with us.
The Psalmists recount again and again with joy God’s goodness and his promises fulfilled (Psalms 65, 91, 21). These stories recount hardship that is remembered with the overarching promises of God and his faithfulness.
We join with the Psalmists, filling our lives with these promises. Recalling our own stories when God has been faithful to us, and surrounding ourselves with people who can help us recall these, I believe can help turn our speed humps into launch pads.
Time to launch
As mentioned, risks are inevitable, injuries in sport are inevitable, speed humps in life are inevitable, but it what we place inside of them that will have a lasting impact on how we move forward. It is what we fill the situation with that will determine how we look back on it in times to come.
As you encounter your next speed hump in life, may you take the time to surround yourself with truth and people who can remind you of truth, amid the interruption to life, to enable you to fly with momentum beyond where you are currently at.
Kelly Thompson is the newest member of the Sports journalist team. Kelly currently plays AFL for Casey Demons in the VFLW, and practices what she preaches as a HOPE (Health, Outdoor, and Physical Education) Teacher in Melbourne’s southeast.