Kayla Alexander: A Dream Come True

This article was originally published on KaylaAlexander.net.

A dream of mine has been to play for Canada on the Senior Women’s National Team — a dream that was finally realized, only to be taken away by injury a few days later.

Later this month Canada will compete in Tenerife, Spain at the FIBA World Cup. I had my eyes set on making the roster to help Canada compete for a spot on the podium.

I previously played for Canada at the Junior level in 2008 and 2009, but making the Senior Team is much harder. I tried out in 2012 and 2016 and was told to continue to work on my game, improve and try out again. That’s exactly what I did. Was the rejection discouraging? Absolutely, but I knew playing for Canada was a goal I wanted to achieve. I used this rejection as motivation.

The work paid off and I finally earned myself a spot on the Senior Women’s National Team. When I first found out that I made the team, I was in shock. I was used to hearing “no,” but the initial shock quickly faded to joy. It was a nice reminder that if you work hard and keep persevering, you will achieve your dreams! The past rejections also made me much more appreciative of this opportunity to represent Canada.

Fast forward to our exhibition game against Japan on Sept. 7 in Connecticut. As we were lining up for the playing of the National Anthem, my teammates and I held on to each other as we sang along to “O Canada,” the Canadian National Anthem. For those of you who are new to Kickin’ It with Kayla, I play professional basketball overseas and in the United States — where I hear every anthem, except my own. That moment was so special to me! To top it off, we finished with the dub! My first game and experience with the Canadian Senior Women’s National Team was off to a great start.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse the following day in our exhibition game against the USA on Sept. 8. My first shift on the court with my teammates felt great. I was rebounding the ball well, we were playing good defense and we were leading in the first half. My second shift in the contest came during the second period. I set a screen in transition, was hit hard and felt my knee bend the wrong way. At first, I thought it was the shock of the impact and I tried to play through it. However, I quickly realized that my knee did not feel stable. On the next foul call, I asked for a sub and walked directly to our trainers.

I’m hopeful. I always try to stay positive and asked if they can throw a sleeve on my knee to give it some stability so that I can keep playing. However, when they completed movement tests, the trainers realized my knee was moving way more than it should. I was done for the game.

I later found out that I injured my MCL. The positive news is that it doesn’t require surgery and heals on its own. The downside is that the process can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks, depending on the severity. Just like that, I’m no longer on Team Canada, and no longer competing with my teammates at FIBA Worlds.

If I can be completely honest, I had a moment (2 minutes max) where I just broke down. I had to release the frustration, anger and disappointment. It took five years to make this team. I finally made it, only to be sidelined by an injury. I didn’t understand why this had to happen. Now, I’m ok. I don’t like it and I certainly don’t understand it, but I believe in God. I trust Him and I know He has a plan and purpose for everything, even in our pain and injuries.

For whatever reason it was not meant for me to compete alongside my teammates in FIBA Worlds. Instead I’ll be cheering them on as I rehab and get stronger, looking forward for my upcoming season overseas!

I’ll continue to stay positive, and trust in the Lord’s plan. Does this make sense? Absolutely not, and maybe it never will, but this is a part of the game and more importantly a part of life. Don’t feel sorry for me, because I don’t, but I will gladly welcome your prayers for a healthy recovery.

Thanks for stopping by. God bless! And of course, GO TEAM CANADA!!! I’m looking forward to the opportunity to play with them again in the future.

Kindly edited by Rebecca Sweat.