As I sat in total disbelief watching Demarcus Cousins injure himself after missing his own free throw, my mind immediately went to the place I despise. I began to question God. I wonder why something like this happens to someone who is having the best season of their career. This very particular moment just makes you think about all the scenarios that played a factor in Demarcus injuring himself. He is a 75% free throw shooter and had made 3 out of 4 on the night. He had already secured yet another triple double and it appeared the Pelicans were on their way to enjoying a great win against a really good Houston Rockets Team.
My brothers from the University of Kentucky were all having special nights. Darius Miller was having a fantastic night nailing threes, DeAndre Liggins was pestering James Harden with his Ferocious defense, Rondo was being Rondo and Anthony Davis was dominating as usual. So why this exact moment in Demarcus’s life? Why this exact free throw attempt?
Demarcus has probably gone after missed free throw attempts thousands of times in his career but why on this particular one, did his Achilles give out? Those were some of the emotions that traveled my mind as I sat and watched Demarcus lay on floor in pain. I can only imagine the emotions that rushed through his mind.
As an athlete, you know injuries are to be expected but you never fully mentally prepare for them. Especially when an injury blind sides you. When injuries strike, especially the ones that sideline you for a significant amount of time, everything about you becomes challenged. Your faith, your patience, your trust, your close friends, family but most of all, your mind. For the first time in an athlete’s life, he or she will no longer have the ability to do what they love to do. That obstacle isn’t easy to overcome. You have to trust that God has a plan for you and also trust in the ability of your trainers during recovery.
When you’re a great competitor, being on the sideline watching your teammates go to battle challenges your patience. Every practice or game missed intensifies it. This is a great time for family and friends to pull close and to support you more than ever. Lastly, the most difficult aspect with overcoming injuries is staying positive mentally. Worrying about two days from now will strain your psyche. Recovery has to be one day at a time. Condition your mind to believe that everything happens for a reason and that this is a small hurdle in the journey.
God has a funny way of slowing us down. Not just athletes. EVERYONE. In 2013, when my back gave out and my basketball career was cut short, I questioned lots of things. It took a couple of years to find answers but I wouldn’t trade that process for anything. Through all my obstacles, I have learned to stop questioning and trust the plan he has for us. Everyone’s journey is different and for Demarcus I know he will bounce back better than ever. GET HEALTHY BIG FELLA.