Updated: Feb 18, 2020
Yesterday Christopher & I went down to the Staples Center with a friend to pay our respect to Kobe Bryant, #gigi & the 7 others who lost their lives on the 26th. This may seem a bit odd to some, who perhaps don’t know I’m a basketball fan, or to others who think it’s weird to mourn people you don’t know… but the reality is I couldn’t skip out on saying goodbye in my own way.
I grew up with 2 older brothers & ALL of their friends. Until I was in middle school I ONLY had guy friends. I played sports year round throughout my entire childhood, and couldn’t imagine a life without competition. When I found out I was having a child I couldn’t wait until they were 5 years old so I could coach their soccer team. I’m an athlete, and even though I’ve never played professional sports, Kobe’s drive and Mamba Mentality was embedded into my psyche at a young age.
When I was 16 I got hurt playing soccer, and it wasn’t a “get up, walk it off” hurt, it was a stay down and let the medic come look at your knee hurt. Fast Forward a few hours & not only was my ACL completed severed, but I’d successfully sprained both meniscus as well…I’m a consistent overachiever. LOL - I can laugh about this now, but when I found out that not only was I out for the season, but also had to face the reality that playing my senior year could be off the table I was in pain.
I think I cried before every game that season. Even though I knew, as captain, I still needed to show up for my team the pain of not being able to play was heartbreaking for a 16-year-old girl who had been on a soccer field every year for over a decade. But that pain pushed me harder than I’ve ever been stretched before. Having role models like Kobe Bryant work through their injuries & come out on the other side better than ever is what drove me as a teenager to get back on the field by any means necessary. So, with the support of my mom, coach, surgeon & physical therapists I not only completed one round of physical therapy, but was adamant about doing 2. I was up and walking without crutches a week after my surgery & went on to start every game of my senior year.
That #MambaMentality was embedded deep in my spirit from a young age, and even though I didn’t go on to play sports in college, I still have the same drive and focus in my spirit that was able to push me forward & help me reach such a finite goal at 17. This is something I’ll always be grateful for, and what I’ll miss most about the #blackmamba. He didn’t have to be near you physically to inspire you deeply. #legendsareforever