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The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

A Fractured Dream

Clap-out+before+heading+to+the+final+round+at+Nationals.+Courtesy+of+Dan+Tennett.
Clap-out before heading to the final round at Nationals. Courtesy of Dan Tennett.

Less than three days before my dance team left for IHSA State and just a week before we left for Nationals in Orlando, I was put head-to-head with something that would significantly alter my life for the next few months.

At practice that afternoon, my team was preparing for State that upcoming weekend and Nationals the following weekend. Although it was a thrilling time in our season to recognize that our two biggest competitions were just around the corner, every dancer in that room was aware of the expectations we had for ourselves and from others considering our placements from the previous season.

Returning to Bloomington as State Champions gave us a boost of assurance and allowed us to feel confident that our team was capable of much more than we could’ve imagined. I had been counting down the days until I could experience what performing at that arena would feel like again.

In the midst of drilling and practicing a section for our coaches that practice, I accidentally put too much weight into my right foot, which led it to twist onto its side. I immediately heard a high-pitched crack noise as I attempted to catch my balance to prevent myself from falling to the floor. 

Walking with my coaches to reunite with my team after they performed their State winning dance. Courtesy of Dan Tennett.

I disregarded my teammates, questioning what that loud crack was and asking if I was okay, and aimed to keep dancing. Not surprisingly, this only lasted about 15 seconds until I realized something was wrong.

When I looked down, I saw a large, circular bump on the side of my foot that had already turned bright red in a matter of seconds. I hobbled over to my coaches and we decided it would be best to go to the trainer to get ice and for the professionals to take a closer look.

Thirty minutes and many tears later, my dad came into the trainers, ready to pick me up and take me to get some X-rays. After less than an hour, I was told that I had fractured my 5th metatarsal, which meant crutches for 3 weeks, a boot for 6 weeks, and no dancing or high impact activity for 12 weeks.

Although it may seem counterintuitive for it was only the first day of my recovery, the emotional pain was far worse than the physical pain I was in. Telling my teammates and coaches I was out for the rest of the season broke my heart because I felt as if I put more stress onto everyone, as if they didn’t already have enough, because they would have to re-block the dances before the competitions.

With this being my first major injury, I was aware of the adversity I would face during my recovery, but underestimated the toll it was going to take on my life. Despite the fact that it has only been three weeks since I broke my foot, I discovered some helpful strategies that have assisted me along this extensive journey. If you have an injury or are sitting out from your sport or activity, here are some things I recommend you keep in mind.

First, don’t try to conceal your emotions or how you actually feel. It is okay to give into the more pitiful feelings and allow yourself to be upset. 

When I was told that I would be out the rest of the season and the whole off-season leading up to my senior year, I was crushed and felt as if all of my hard work and dedication that I put in my junior year wasn’t even worth it. I was reminded that I attended all of the practices and helped the team get to where they ended up, but it was still difficult to process that I was done because of that one moment. 

When I was around my team or my friends, I felt obligated to brush it off and tell everyone I was doing okay, even though I was just told that the big finale of my season was scratched. 

Team with trophies after receiving 5th and 8th place in the Nation. Courtesy of Dan Tennett.

I continued to encourage my teammates as they got increasingly excited for these two competitions, but it was heartbreaking to see them get so overjoyed while I had to witness them achieve their goals. 

When the announcer said that Lake Forest was the 2A State Champion team, I felt so proud and fortunate for my team to win for the second year in a row, yet part of me felt as if I didn’t deserve a medal or the title since I wasn’t on the floor dancing with them.

Similar to if someone would congratulate me after either State or Nationals, I would thank the person while also feeling somewhat guilty for accepting the recognition. I felt that I didn’t earn it as much as my teammates who continued to push themselves during the competition itself. 

When I expressed these feelings to my team and family members, they were so supportive and helped me learn with time that acceptance requires giving into the more heart-rending emotions before being able to recover both physically and emotionally.

Second, lean on your loved ones and use them as support during any challenging times.

When I was met with this unfortunate information, I quickly came to terms that this journey was going to be a lot longer and difficult if I bottled everything up. I’m so grateful that I had and still have such great supporters including my friends, teammates, coaches, and of course, my parents.

My team was so encouraging and would do their best to cheer me up when sitting on the sides at practice or when attending State and Nationals which made me feel much more involved. 

Finally, stay engaged with the activities you enjoy, even if they have to be modified. Be grateful for the things you are able to do and think optimistically. 

The day after I got injured, the number one question I got asked was whether or not I was planning on attending State and Nationals. It was a valid question, but it stressed me out since I didn’t have an answer myself.

Dance team heading to ESPN. Courtesy of Dan Tennett.

Eventually, I decided that I had to find a way to attend both of these competitions, despite any challenges that I may encounter. I understood that it was going to be difficult and I had to modify how this was done, but with the help of my parents and team, I was able to make it happen.

While getting hurt right as my team hit the peak of our season was obviously not ideal, this injury has been nothing short of a learning experience that has helped me gain more compassion and appreciation for what I have and the people in my life.

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About the Contributor
Lyla Carney, Staff Writer
Lyla Carney is a junior at Lake Forest High School and is thrilled to be a first-year writer for The Forest Scout! Lyla is a devoted member of the Varsity Dance Team, and is involved in Student Council, Scout Buddies, and Student to Student. Outside of school, you can most likely find her blasting Taylor Swift in her car, hanging out with family and friends, or walking her dog, Chippy, by the beach!
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Comments (6)

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  • M

    MartinFeb 9, 2024 at 9:43 am

    Beautifuly written article, Lyla. I enjoyed reading it and wish you a speedy recovery. You’re always a champ in my eyes!

    LFDT!!!!!

    Reply
  • G

    GraceFeb 9, 2024 at 8:19 am

    You are so strong Lyla and this piece proves it!!! An amazing friend, classmate, and dancer all at once- I’m so lucky to know you!

    Reply
  • A

    AmeliaFeb 9, 2024 at 8:19 am

    This is such a well written, heartwarming story! We all love you so much Lyla and are here to support you every step of the way!

    Reply
  • M

    MiaFeb 8, 2024 at 10:18 pm

    aww ly I love this! You put your heart and soul into this journey every step of the way-we love you?

    Reply
  • R

    ReeseFeb 8, 2024 at 9:05 pm

    This is so well written and such a great piece Lyla, you’re the BEST!

    Reply
  • R

    RachelFeb 8, 2024 at 8:16 pm

    awww such an amazing piece, we love you so much rodi. ur a beasttttt

    Reply