I am not a person that believes in coincidence. I believe that things are placed at certain points in our life and it is up to use to connect the dots. I had gotten the above tattoo the week of my injury. I was going to wait to get it, but for some reason, I got it on Monday, April 9th. It means ‘Fear Nothing’.
Connecting the dots with what has happened with me recently, I know what I have to do now. I was telling Devon last night, that if I let the fear from this injury win and I never compete again in bodybuilding or basketball, then I have lost. Once I get to that point, stepping on stage again, I will be the champion. Regardless of what happens in the placings, to come back from this injury and compete at a high level will be the culminating event on an already extraordinary set of circumstances. When I go back to playing basketball, I will be doing so not just for myself, but every person out there that has lived in fear of re-injury.
I am so fortunate to have this opportunity that lays ahead of me. How many times in life or how many people do you know that get the chance to put everything they have ever learned and worked for to the test? All those early morning hours, battling against the weights when there was just the sound of iron and me. All of those late night hours or rode trips spent learning and working on my craft. When other guys were out partying or sleeping in, I was training my body and mind. When I was going through the tough times of my stomach illness for two years back in 2005-07, my spirit was being molded.
This is the moment of truth….will I have what it takes to come back at a high level? In the handful of times this injury has happened at the NFL level, many of those guys never made it back to play again. The few times it has happened in the NBA, it for the most part has been a career ender. I told Devon there are two ways to look at this, the first option would be to say, ‘oh shit, this doesn’t look good’ but instead I choose the second option of ‘This is going to take a monumental effort BUT I will do it’.
I spoke with a PT friend of mine this morning and he said this injury is so rare that the only guy in the area that could confidently do this surgery is Dr. Gecha. Otherwise he said I would have had to go to Alabama or Cincinnati to get the surgery. I tell you this to again show that it is rare and I would have it no other way. I needed something like this to push me to the next level of life. I am not bitter, I am not angry that this happened, instead I will find the opportunity that lies the eye of any disaster. The hotter the heat, the harder the steel. The higher the pressure, the better the diamond. I leave you with a poem my good friend Steve wrote for me a few days after the injury. It brought me to tears and I am not ashamed to say that I cried in front of another grown man…..
By Steven J, Proud Member of Newell Strength
Ignites my fire,
My love, my passion, my desire.
Keeps me apart from Joe,
No Excuses, No Weakness to Show.
Reminds me of the great,
In which the average would escape.
The Human Strength Expert,
And my dream is not asleep.
A torn patella tendon,
Can keep me off my feet!