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Scars of Remembrance

      The game is still scoreless well into the second half. Both teams have struggled to score a goal, although each side has had numerous chances to do so. Playing forward for only the second time this season, all I could think of was scoring that coveted goal that would put our team ahead. Suddenly, I had the chance to make that thought a reality. The ball lofted over the defenderís head, and I sprang forward like a cheetah chasing its prey. I caught up with the ball thirty yards in front of the opposing goal. Struggling against the strong winds coming from the Delta, I managed to dribble my way closer to the goal. I glanced up and saw the goalie charging towards me and then I noticed the open net behind him. I directed my attention back down to the ball so I could get a good strike. My left foot planted, and my right foot came forward. I struck the ball well and I could just see it sailing into the corner of the net. I kept my focus on the ball as my right foot planted, but that is when it happened.
      He hit me.
      In his effort to block the ball the goalie crashed into me. The moment I planted my foot, his body came flying through the air, like a missile, causing my knee to explode on impact. My mind went dark, like it was sucked into a black hole. Then a mere five seconds later, it was spit back out into a world of pain. I rolled helplessly back and forth on the wet grass. My knee felt like it was on fire, and there was no way to extinguish the pain. No sound registered in my mind except for the shriek of my own voice screaming in agony.
      As my mother wheeled me out to the car from the doctorís office the next morning, I began to think how much I was going to miss being able to walk. Just yesterday, I was walking around, with two healthy legs and two healthy knees. At that time, I did not realize how much of a gift it was to be able to walk. The doctor ordered me to be in a wheelchair for at least a month, and then on crutches for a minimum of two months after that. The consequences of not being able to use my leg were piling up as I worked my way into our car. No soccer, no football, no basketball, no golf, no running, no walking, no bicycling, no standing, and no showers. The only thing I had to look forward to was a pair of sore armpits from using crutches.
      Four months and two major surgeries later, Iím lying in bed. I am exhausted after a day full of walking to and from classes, standing in lines to get my lunch, and even standing up to take a shower. I look down at my leg as I rub the tender knee. The eight-inch scar runs along the right side of my knee, and several inch-long scars are scattered about my kneecap. In some places my muscle is rigid, possibly where the metal screws have been placed. For the rest of my life those scars will garnish my leg, a constant reminder of the pain I endured throughout these last four months. Those were the most painful four months of my life, and I have no desire to experience them again. Yet, I am grateful for the experience, and for the lessons of gratitude I learned for the simple blessings in life.

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All poems and photos copyright of Jared Moll. Do not illegaly copy or distribute any poems or photos without proper permission of Jared Moll. Page designed by Jared Moll. © January 2002. All rights reserved.