FULFILLING MY PROMISE

By Brenna Smith

When I was a kid, I made a promise to my father that I would never quit softball. 

My sister, who was a few years older than me, suffered a career-ending knee injury when she was just a teenager. 

The last thing I remember my father saying about softball was how much it hurt him to see his daughter go through that and be forced to quit.

He didn’t want to go through that again. 

He told me that if I was going to play this sport, I have to be 100% committed to it.

In my mind, I was going to keep that promise to my father, no matter what. 

But I had no idea just how many obstacles would stand in my way.

The start of many setbacks

It all started when I tore my labrum during high school. 

I was at a tournament with my travel ball team, the Corona Angels, and we were using those weighted sand balls during warmups. 

I had not hit in four years but thought it would be fun to take a swing.

Big mistake.

The force from the ball tore my labrum in my left shoulder and I was forced to sit out for a while. 

It was my first real injury, and it gave me a glimpse into what I would have to endure.

To make matters worse, I committed to Georgia Tech but the coaches there were let go, so I basically had to go through the recruiting process all over again.

It was a tough season in more ways than one, but I was determined to overcome it all and come back stronger.

Unfortunately, the injuries wouldn’t stop.

I ended up committing to Purdue, and while there, I tore my meniscus two times and had two surgeries. 

With each injury, I had to endure months of rehab just to get back on the field. 

It was frustrating, to say the least.

But in a way, it was also a blessing. 

Through it all, I became more in tune with my body. 

I learned how to take care of it and how to heal properly. 

I also learned how to be patient and resilient, two qualities that have helped me overcome adversity time and time again.

A fresh start

When I transferred to DePaul, I thought I was leaving my injuries behind. 

I saw it as a fresh start, a way to begin anew and put the past four years behind me. 

So you can imagine my frustration when I tore my meniscus once again.

I was devastated.

I had my reservations, but I was committed to keep my promise to my dad. 

I was determined to overcome this setback and return to the field, no matter what.

My coaches and trainers were incredibly supportive throughout my recovery. 

I could feel their dedication and hard work, and it pushed me to work even harder. 

Thanks to their support, I was able to overcome yet another rehab process and return to the field. 

It was a great feeling, knowing that I had the support of the entire school behind me. 

It gave me the strength and motivation to keep pushing forward, no matter what obstacles I faced.

Today, I’m in my sixth year playing college softball.

It’s a bit unusual, I know, but despite the injuries, I wouldn’t change a thing. 

I’ve learned so much throughout my journey, and I’ve grown tremendously as both a player and a person. 

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that stats don’t matter.

While I may have had to take a few detours, I’ve always found my way back to the field. 

The saying is true that the journey is more important than the destination.

My coaches and trainers were incredibly supportive throughout my recovery. I could feel their dedication and hard work, and it pushed me to work even harder. Thanks to their support, I was able to overcome yet another rehab process and return to the field. It was a great feeling, knowing that I had the support of the entire school behind me. It gave me the strength and motivation to keep pushing forward, no matter what obstacles I faced.

The end of a chapter

As I wrap up my final season here at DePaul, there are just so many memories that come to mind. 

But if I had to pick just one, I would say that my favorite memory was the Big East tournament last year. 

We had a rocky start to the season, and making it to the tournament seemed like a long shot. 

But we came together as a team, and we were able to pull off a few upsets to secure our spot in the tournament. 

It was an incredible feeling, knowing that we had defied the odds and made it.

While we didn’t win, we played our hearts out, and we left everything on the field. 

It was one of the most fun events I’ve ever been a part of, and I’ll never forget the bond that we shared as a team during that tournament. 

Memories like these are what keep me going and push me to work harder and overcome any obstacle that comes my way.

As I look ahead to my future, I am excited to graduate and start my career as a therapist. 

But for now, I am focused on making the most of my final season and savoring every moment I have left on the field. 

It has been a long and often challenging journey, but I wouldn’t change a thing. 

My time at DePaul has helped me grow and mature in so many ways, and I am grateful for the love and support that I have received from my coaches, teammates, and trainers.

Thanks to them, I have been able to overcome every setback and injury, and I will carry the lessons I have learned with me always.

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