So yesterday I went to the doctor to get my knee checked out… I injured it LAST June while working at camp, and never got around to getting it check out. A few days after Jake’s accident we sat down to make a to-do list so I could get everything out of my head that didn’t need to be there. At some point in the process my mom chimed in, “Oh, you need to make sure to get your knee checked out.” That oh so newly familiar feeling of my throat closing hit me and, honestly, I felt a little angry. ”Don’t you think that’s a little unrealistic now mom?” The question had thrown in my face the fact that I would not be playing on a soccer team with Jake…
When I was in high school, being active was a huge part of my life, and soccer was my favorite way of being active. I love competition, and I love the idea of working harder than you thought you could… voila, soccer. My coach would run us SO much, and had a constant expectation that we would keep pushing ourselves. I have great respect for her for teaching me that. She pulled me aside one day and we had a conversation about about the fact that I was a good soccer player, but not one of the best. I knew that I started playing later than most and I’d never mastered the ball handling side of soccer… However, I was a starter and usually played the whole game… She told me it was because I never asked for a sub, and because I was always running hard. I miss the opportunity to combine intense physical & mental drive.
Jake was the same way. That’s why he was so good at any sport he played… We began dating a couple days before his last soccer game of his senior year. I would often say that it was just cruel, because then I had to sit through his senior wrestling season, then his senior baseball season. Haha. It really didn’t take long for me to fall in love with these sports once I understood them better, especially wrestling. I would sit and listen to Jake describe how the most important thing about wrestling is the mental strength. He had gotten pinned once in ninth grade and decided he would never be pinned again. He truly believed that if you worked your hardest, you wouldn’t get pinned. You might be demolished, but you wouldn’t be pinned.
This was one of the aspect of Jake that I loved the most. We had so much fun competing together. It didn’t matter if it was head to head, on opposing teams, or working together… We both just enjoyed competition and working our hardest.
A couple months ago, Jake and I were driving to his Monday night softball league. Chase was ten days old and I was feeling excited.
"I’m so excited to get back into shape and start doing sports. I need to do something competitive again!!" *smiles excitedly*
"What would you think about doing indoor soccer together? I would love to get to play with you."
"That would be awesome! I feel like that would be so much fun!!"
"As soon as you get your knee checked out, we can figure that out."
I was so excited. The thing that I had been missing so much was finally going to be part of my life again. I had been telling Jake that it really bothered me that anyone who has met me in the last five years probably wouldn’t even know that I like to play sports. The prospect of getting to play with Jake was beyond exciting. I pretty much loved doing anything with Jake, but doing one of my favorite things with my favorite person?!?! You just can’t beat that.
So back to that day, and the to do list. I know that I love soccer, and I know that I would be really disappointed if my life did not have soccer in it, but I just kept thinking, ‘What’s the point of playing soccer without him?’
'…And what's the point of getting back into dance?' Jake was never a dancer…He had never gone to a school dance until he took me to the senior prom, and then we just sat there… Awkwardly. The music was too loud to talk, so we just sat there… watching everyone else dance… It wasn't what I had been imagining, but I was trying to keep a good attitude… Then he suddenly stood up, grabbed my hand, and he did the same thing he always did… he made crap up. He put a big smile on his face, spun me around a lot, and pretended like he knew what he was doing, haha. Shortly into this hilarious facade, some guy came up to him at the beginning of a swing dance song and challenged us to a competition of who could swing dance better. I wish now that I remembered who that was…
We won that competition.
Are you wondering how we won a swing dance competition when neither one of us knew how to swing dance??? I was too.. But the reality I learned to live in is that when you’re following Jake, it doesn’t matter if you know what you’re doing. It only matters if you can follow.
He always told me that he loved to dance because he loved to watch me smile.
So now what’s the point of dancing without my fearless leader?
I know that Jake would want me to play soccer, and I know that he would want me to dance. I also know that I came into this relationship with those things already being a part of me. It’s not like wrestling, that I came to love because of Jake, so I feel like it should be natural to go back into them… But just because they were once solo activities, does not mean that I know how to make them solo again.
Walking into the doctor’s office yesterday was a sign of moving forward with creating the new phase of Chrissy Baxter… The phase that requires me to be independent like before Jake, only now with Jake’s voice and influence on my life… That’s going to be a grueling process. I know that I can do it… I just don’t know why I have to.