Is it really worth suffering debilitating and incurable pain for the rest of your life just to be able to impress other people?
If you think sports is about just impressing other people, then I'm guessing you've never played a sport at a high level.
Being able to unify your mind and body at a high level in competition... it's one of the most cerebral, peak experiences, and it shapes and develops your character henceforth forever afterwards.
Ask most competitive athletes who've been injured if they'd go back in time and not play to avoid it, and most wouldn't make that trade.
In college I was the fastest lightweight rower on the #1 ranked team in the country. I was within a couple seconds of the Olympic time standard when I found out that I had a minor lower back problem and quit the same day. The thing is, the only thing I can't do right now is row competitively, I have no day-to-day health problems. Whereas most of my friends who had similar problems and kept going are now in horrible pain just from walking around and sitting at their desks, and a bunch of them are strung out on drugs as a result.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing I love more than getting to go out and fuck up someone else's day, but I feel like part of being an adult is learning how to do that in ways that further your actual life goals (e.g. through a startup) rather than just spending six hours a day in the gym or whatever.
"Being able to unify your mind and body at a high level in competition... it's one of the most cerebral, peak experiences, and it shapes and develops your character henceforth forever afterwards."
I agree completely. But as Alan Watts famously said, "Once you get the message, hang up the phone."
It's what you love that makes what you do great. It's the same with many things, but with sports it's more apparent.
sports are fun.
I went back and forth on quoting my experience with training and injury above and didn't, but maybe it's worth saying - breaking a few bones in my right hand ended my fencing career, I was broke a tooth training in Krav Maga, and tore some cartilage doing squats with slightly bad form in the gym.
I'd have preferred not to have had those injuries, but I wouldn't give up the lessons I got from my training to not have them, even though all three are a minor annoyance on a semi-regular basis.
Tangential note - I'd recommend epee fencing to anyone here. It's a lot like playing Chess with your body, incredibly cerebral and conducive to excellent thought and flow.
I've never been as locked in as when I came back from down a few touches to tie it up at 4-4 or 14-14... you know that last touch is everything, and your opponent starts thinking "oh no, I could lose this when I was up so much" - in epee fencing, if you have a lead you almost always win, because a draw benefits the leading player and draws are easy to get if going for them - when you come back from a deficit, meaning you're scoring touches and avoiding them getting even a single draw, that final touch you get so locked in, and then winning after being down... nothing else compares. I shiver just thinking about about battling back to even, winner-takes-all... nothing else compares.
In terms of impressing people - that's never been a goal. I was greatly ridiculed as a kid for being a gymnast and even as it got a little more "cool" in high school and college, its got nothing on football or basketball. I did this for me - and for the coaches, teammmates and alumni at Stanford Gymnastics who were so dedicated to earning a victory.
It's the fact that we won as a team that means the most to me. I would not be nearly as proud of an individual win.
Why? because without the ACL your knee is not as stable. You're more likely to do more damage to the cartilage with an unstable knee. While I was waiting for my surgery (in Canada, took about 6 months), my knee was highly unstable and lead to multiple close calls.
Of course, you need to make the surgery decision on a case by case basis. My knee was injured in such a way that I didn't suffer a large amount of meniscus damage, but definitely had the potential to wreck it if I didn't get the surgery.
Congrats on the comeback, serious injuries are a huge mental and physical drain.
The only things I got out of it were that gymnastics is just as viciously brutal on ones body as ballet or sports like American Football, and the knowledge that mens' gymnastics is dying a lingering death in the USA.
Injuries happen - either get over it and go on, or curl up in a ball and put a cocoon around yourself. This guy had great intestinal fortitude coming back to the sport after those injuries - I commend him.
Watching that video and reading his story quickly put an end to my complaints of "but I need a nice ergonomic keyboard to be able to work at all!"
Later, when asked whether he would do what he did again,
he replied frankly, "No, I would not."