It was the summer of 2000. I had just graduated highschool and was gearing up to leave for my freshman year of college at Pensacola Christian College, in Florida. Before I headed off to college, at the end of July I went to an International Music Competition and Camp in Florida. I was competing in the Small Vocal Group and with a Piano solo.
When we got there we were assigned to cabins and shock of all shocks I was the oldest girl in the cabin by about 4 years. And of course the tallest. I became sort of an un official counselor since I was so much older than the rest of the girls.
I competed in my categories and rocked both of them, after that it was time to relax and have fun for the two days before the awards ceremony, which was the night before we left. *
On Tuesday night we had a mix mash of hide and seek and capture the flag. Each cabin had to make it to the front road of the property we were on, about a mile or so away, without any of the leaders catching us. Did I mention this all happened at midnight? So we dressed in our black clothes, and smeared mascara under our eyes to look like army men and headed out into the night.
I got put at the very back of the group and had to make sure everyone had passed thru before I followed them. Making sure we were all together and that no one got left behind. The whole team had to make it to the front of the property at the same time.
At first it went well. We ran through the field and the bushes, silent except for our breathing. We huddled together trying to plan our attack, and decided that we needed to risk it and cross over the road that went thru the camp, to go to the other side of the property.
After checking to make sure no one else was around my team took off running, as the last girl crossed over the road i took off at a gallop to follow the team, at that very moment one of the leaders popped out of a nearby bush and scared the life out of me. He started chasing me and I put the pedal to the metal so to speak, determined that we would not lose because of me!
Well, we all know that I am not the most coordinated person in the world, and running-at a high speed no less- was not the best mix for me. I got to the road and tripped on the pavement, fell face first onto the pavement, and because i was going so fast, SLID about 2-3 feet forward on the ground.
Needless to say the leader chasing me had stopped. I laid on the pavement face first, with my entire body, and hmm.. especially my left knee, hurting like fire. Until I heard... Laughter? That's right, the leader was LAUGHING at me.
I decided I was going to show him, and I picked myself up and started off running again. Considerably less coordinated than before. Have you ever seen someone run with a limp? Yeah, it's not cute. But I did it, fueled by determination I caught up with my group, who hadn't even noticed that I was gone. Thanks guys. And we continued to hike our way to the front of the camp. Blessedly we only got a quarter of a mile further and we were caught. I was never so happy to lose in my life. Note- this is only because it wasn't MY FAULT that we lost!
We started walking back to our cabin and finally everyone noticed that I could barely move. My poor left knee was swollen to about three times its normal size, and bruised all around. I had to use my two counselors as my crutches because by that time after running and then squatting in the bushes, my poor knee was about to kill me.
They took me to the nurses quarters, they wrapped me up, gave me a pair of crutches and ice and I went back to my cabin for the most painful nights I had ever experienced outside of a hospital in my 18 years of life.
They wanted to take me to the Dr the next day, but at that point I was a very healthy kid and TERRIFIED of Dr's. So I insisted I was fine. For the next two days on Crutches, I'm fine. Flying back home I got to be escorted thru the airport in a wheel chair, still fine. Back home in Indiana on crutches, nope I'm still fine. Don't need no dr. (I am my father's daughter)
I went off to college with a very sore knee that only got more and more sore over the next two years. Until I was wearing a knee brace every day and icing my knee every evening. Two years after my accident I had knee surgery. And guess what. I tore my meniscus. not fine! And because I had torn it and not gotten care and put strain upon it, by the time I had surgery my knee cap had slid out of place and was over on the right side of my knee.
So I got not only to have a meniscus repair but a lateral release as well. And if you've never heard of a lateral release, well, my friends , that is where they cut out chunks of your muscle so that your knee cap can go back into it's normal place. Yes, I now have a hole in the side of my knee that you can poke your finger into. You can't really see it from the outside but put your finger on my knee and whee! I call it my party trick.
*I should add that while I was at camp, I fell head over heels for another camp counselor, Aaron. Somehow my whole cabin thought it would be a GREAT idea to send him anonymous love letters, poems actualy, that we call composed together during ahem, quiet time, whoops! And then I sealed each envelope with a big ol lipstick smooch. Our counselors were of course in on it with us, and delivered each letter to his mailbox for me. It was great fun for the whole week and finally the night before we left I actually met him. Yes, stalking started early on.. and we got our picture taken, complete with my swollen knee and fabulous crutches.
I went home and somewhat forgot about him.
Until one Sunday when I was at church and found out that we were getting a new youth pastor. As if my life couldn't be any more embarrassing, it just happened to be Aaron's older brother. Who, when introduced to me, knew EXACTLY who I was.