And so… I got back up again
“Stuff this, run it,” I thought as I took off down the field with the ball tucked under my right arm. I saw a defender coming towards me, a fairly big guy 6’2” and 125kg maybe.“Just get outside of him and get as many yards as possible,” I thought as I headed toward the sideline. I saw him closing in and I urged my tired legs to keep thumping away below me. I felt a hand grab my left shoulder pad followed very promptly by another arm over my right shoulder as he let his weight bring me to the ground.
“Keep that ball secure” was the fastest thought that raced through my mind as I tucked the ball tightly up alongside my body. What I felt next is kind of hard to describe. It felt as though somebody had poured petrol into my chest and ignited it. I couldn’t breathe. Radiating from my rib was this crushing and constricting pain. The guy on top of me slowly started to stumble up, and I rolled off the ball. I tried to regain my breath, but I was distinctly aware that something in my right side wasn’t okay.
“You’ve done it, great job. You’ve managed to break your rib five minutes into the game.“.
I was faced with a decision: Get up or stay down.
Now by this point, most of you are wondering what on earth you are reading, who I am and what on earth this has to do with being bendy. Well, I’m an EDS patient, and I also play American football. I want you to focus on the last line of the paragraph above. Sound familiar?
Because I assure you, within the next 48hrs or so, you’re going to be faced with this decision somewhere in your life. I’m not some kind of doomsday preacher or anything but the truth just remains that somewhere you’re going to be given the option to give up. Maybe it’s at work, maybe it’s at home, within a relationship, or even on your health, but this wonderful thing called life is going to give you a choice ‘get up or stay down?’
As I lay face down on the turf gasping and trying to pretend like I didn’t feel like Vesuvius was erupting inside of my chest cavity, this interesting voice entered my mind and told me what to do. For the sake of the audience, I’ll make this more PG13 than what I actually heard, but it was along the lines of: “Get your skinny white butt up off the ground right now. You’re not giving up. Not here and not like this. This is not who you are“. And so…. I got back up again.
Isn’t it interesting that to answer the question of ‘Get up or stay down’ my mind drew upon who I believe myself to be? See, who you think you are is the basis for everything you do. What is going to enable you to be who you need to be to keep on getting up, is who you think you are.
Who do you truly believe you are?
I believe that I’m not a quitter. I believe that I can do extraordinary things through faith and hard work. I believe I might not be able to do everything as good as you can but I can be me and do the best job that I can, and that makes me valuable. I believe that I can have an impact on people just by what I do and how I act. I believe that I have the ability to keep on getting back up when life beats me down.
As I got to my feet, my fullback looked me in the eyes and said “good strong run man- hey are you okay?“.
“Yeah I’m good. Next time, you’re running the ball“.
So I got back up again. However, if you’re looking for the story where I got up again and played the best game ever, set records, made a televised speech and solved world poverty then you’re going to be sadly disappointed. We got smashed. We were a makeshift team who had never played together until an hour before the game, playing against guys who had been together and training for months. We got trashed. I got hit and ‘sacked’ so many times and from so many different directions that I’m pretty sure I spent more time on the ground than I did standing up. But I chose to keep getting on up. There wasn’t anything glorious about it. It wasn’t particularly gratifying. We didn’t even score.
The next week I was getting warmed up before my game when I ran into two of the players from the team I played against that week before. Immediately they started pouring encouragement into me. One said “mate I tried to kill you so many times out there, and you kept on getting up. Mad respect.” The other said “bro you kept on taking a beating and kept on getting back up. You should be the MVP“.
When I walked away, I started laughing to myself. I’m nothing special at all, in fact, my talent for that particular day was ending up on my ass in the dirt. I’m not sure I even did anything consistently other than get my ass kicked, yet what others saw was the fact that I just kept getting up.
So when you’re faced with the fork in the road, and you can stay down or take the hard road and keep getting back up, go on and get back up. You never know who is watching. There’s one person watching you and the reason they get through their day is that you get through yours. There’s someone out there that needs to hear you tell them that you got up and so they can get up. There’s someone out there who needs your example of getting up to help them get to their feet when life keeps sweeping them from under them.
Are you going to choose to get back up? Are you going to live your life to the fullest within the limitations of your condition?
My Name is Sam Payne and live in Newcastle NSW. I’ve been diagnosed for a few years now but like usual I had misdiagnosed issues all my life and had my first surgery at 8 months old. I’m an avid American football fan and enjoy all kinds of sport. I play football (yes, I’m a little loopy) and I’m studying a double diploma at the moment! I have a soft spot for dogs and dry puns. My aim in this life is to encourage, support and make as many people feel loved as possible!