My role obviously changed drastically with the injury I encountered this season. No longer would I be able to affect the game on the court with energy, defense and just my competitive spirit that I brought to the team. But I was going to have to find ways to impact our team and make guys better from the sidelines.
It honestly took me several weeks to find my identity on this team all over again. I started to find my identity all over again when the coaches started pouring into my life. They started meeting with me every Thursday morning at 6 am to pray for an hour, They would have me up in their office to talk to me and share ideas, challenges and thoughts they had about how I could make our team better on and off the court. They wanted me to start becoming the leader that I was called here to be. So, Coach T changed my rehab time so that I would be able to attend practice. When this happened I was able to bring a different energy and emotion to practice that I think our team feeds off of really well. I wanted the guys to start to get used to hearing my voice on the court for the coming years.
On the personal side of things it has been the hardest thing that Ive ever been through. God temporarily took something away from me that I love. Basketball has always been there for me. Its been a constant in my life. So being away from home, my family, friends, and being without the game I love was extremely tough on me. I had to do some real soul searching for a while. There were a lot of empty nights that I spent crying and angry at God for taking away what I loved most. I just wanted to understand why it was happening to me. My poor girlfriend had to put up with a lot of tears, attitude and frustration. She will be the first to tell you that this was extremely hard on me.
I honestly tried to bottle those emotions up around the guys and keep those emotions hidden away. I didnt want to distract the team from the season at hand, I didnt want them to feel sorry for me, I didnt want to make things about myself. However I would connect with my teammates on a individual basis and express what I was going through. The teammate that left the biggest impact on me was Big Daddy. He was always there for me, filling me up spiritually and he started challenging me to start becoming a spiritual leader on this team. As time progressed I really took this challenge to heart. Well by the end of the season Coach T was seeking me out to lead team devos at Nationals and lead prayer sessions with the team. So it was really cool to see how God shifted my focus from the game of basketball to leading our team spiritually. – Grant Zawadzki