The start of my time at UP ended my time dancing for over six months. In the spring of 2022 after a tedious day at Weekend on the Bluff, UP’s exploratory weekend for admitted students, I hopped off a step at a restaurant with a half-asleep foot and proceeded to roll my ankle. Twice. As wait staff anxiously hovered around me, offering ice and trying their best to avoid legal action, I thought I had simply sprained my ankle at worst and would be back at it in no time. I was seriously wrong.
I’ve been competitively Irish dancing since I was nine. My little sister and I took one class that subsequently launched all my sisters and my mom into what has now been 11 years of car rides, plane rides, fake tans, blisters, Epsom salt baths for destroyed muscles and incessant fiddle music. I was performing in bars on St. Patrick’s day before I was old enough to drive and the craziness hasn’t stopped since. Before my injury, I hadn’t gone more than about a month without dance since that first class at nine years old.
What I thought to be a bad sprain that day at a restaurant in Jantzen Beach turned into months of physical therapy, an MRI scan and a doctor kindly letting me know that I had torn a ligament in my foot that would never fully heal and always cause me some level of pain. It was a little rough. I missed dance. I missed being active in the way I wanted to be and I felt guilty on the days I didn’t miss it. I felt like I was falling behind and the relatively short time I couldn’t dance mentally stretched on forever.
I’m good now. I have certain limitations at dance that I didn’t have before and I’ll always have a bit of annoying pain, but I’ve worked my way back up to where I used to be and happily attend classes and compete regularly. I can say that now because when the physical therapy hurt like hell, I did the exercises anyway. When I came back to class weaker, busier and much less confident, I let the joy of being back overtake all that. Even now, when I look around at everyone else at dance class knowing that I missed out on six months of training and a year of competing that would have made me better today, I brush the thought off because it truly isn’t something worth thinking about. I have done and continue to do these things because I love dance more than (possibly) anything else and that love always makes everything worth it.
Maggie Dapp is the sports editor at The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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