At one point, all Arenae could think about was becoming a WNBA player for the Los Angeles Sparks. She practiced basketball for hours every single day. Her friends would invite her to the movies and she would bring her basketball to dribble until someone asked her to stop. To say her love for the game was an obsession was an understatement.
Colleges began sending her scholarship offers toward the end of high school. There were so many factors to consider; which school had the best college basketball program, academics, how far she would have to move, etc. After a lot of contemplation, Arenae decided she was going to accept the offer from Baylor University.
On a Tuesday morning, she was doing her normal routine in the school’s gymnasium – getting in some practice before school started. Her teammate, Tricia, joined her for a light scrimmage at the end of her practice session. Per the usual, Arenae was leading by ten points, about to end the game with a final layup. Then, the unthinkable happened, “snap!”
She falls to the floor, screaming in agony. Tricia rushes over but can’t utter a word. Arenae feels a horrid sensation like cold hands tearing away part of her soul. It was at that moment she knew everything she’d worked so hard for was now void.
The doctors confessed they’d never seen anything like it. Her ACL was shown to have signs of prolonged stress until it snapped clean in half. You see, Arenae’s ACL wasn’t exactly normal. It was half the size, and half as strong as a typical ACL. The fact that she was able to walk normally at all, baffled her physicians.
All of the scholarship offers were receded, along with her hope of ever achieving professional status in the WNBA. A weight so crushing kept her locked away in her bedroom for months. It wasn’t until her entire high school basketball team visited her that she was able to leave her room. With some words of encouragement, she took her first step toward a new life.
Arenae’s unbreakable willpower took her much further than simply walking. She maximized the strain her body could withstand. Every. Single. Day. After professional basketball was no longer an option, she refocused her dedication to her studies, and now her career. Fortunately, she is still involved in basketball as an after-school elementary coach.
Although she’s been through devastating hardships, she says she’s truly happy with how her life turned out. It’s unlikely we will ever come across someone with the mental fortitude Arenae possesses, and we are extremely grateful for her.