Frank Stranzl

When I first tore my achilles, I remember the moment clearly. We were doing summer workouts with coach (Chris) Holder, our strength and conditioning coach. We were doing agility drills and I went to plant my left foot, then snap… no pain, no dramatic fall to the ground, just me standing there as if nothing happened.

Right then, I knew I would be out for the season without any diagnostics or having any trainer even look at me.

All the work I had put into training and practice, the hard fight to get a starting spot gone in a snap. Many people don’t know how much time student athletes put in for our sports from practice to training to meeting with the coach, then to meeting amongst ourselves. Football has become the majority of my life besides school.

To have that taken away from me made me feel disoriented. You become accustomed to being around your teammates and laughing at stories from the games and practice and I knew that I wouldn’t be a part of that for at least a year.

After my surgery, I still felt a little involved. My coaches would call to check up on me, and some of my teammates who live with me at the “infamous WHITE HOUSE” off of Foothill took care of me in a collective effort – from (Anthony) Garnett always making sure I had something to eat, Cordel Webb grabbing things when I needed them, to Josh Mayfield just coming in to chill with me.

At this time, it’s not so bad. In fact, I’ve gotten more attention since I was hurt. But then training camp started and everyone was gone all day. By then I had started physical therapy, but that would only last a couple hours compared to the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule for the team, which a lot of people don’t know about.

Right now is the first time I’ve experienced the absence of not participating. It was when the season started that I would feel the worst. I remember the first game sitting there in the stands. It was real hard for me to sit there and watch. I really wanted to leave, but at the same time I want to show my support to my team that is doing pretty well without me. I get up and cheer for the big plays, but for most of the game I’m just sitting there imagining what type of season I would have had and how I live for Saturdays to down block some defensive tackles, blast some linebackers and cut down some cornerbacks…

If you ask any football player how he feels about football during the week he’ll say he hates how much time it takes up. His body aches. Ask him that same questions on Saturdays and the answers bound to be different. It’s the Saturdays that keep us going through the week because we know when it’s game time we’re under that spotlight.

But for me, that spotlight will have to wait until next year.

The coaches calls have come a lot less frequently now. My teammates no longer come to aide me. Basically I’m on my own two feet(with a slight limp).

I’ve got through the worst part of this. Now my coaches and teammates know they no longer need to check up on me because I have to get myself back into football form and not on any of their accounts. By being unable to participate in regular drills, my coaches have no influence. My teammates would be able to push me, but I no longer workout at the same time as they do. Even if I did, our workouts would be completely different.

So right now I am still going to therapy, but only once a week. In a couple weeks I’ll began my first jogging.

I know there will be a point where my doctor will say “Alright, it’s GO time!”

And that will be the time where I can began training once again and pushing myself to get back to the field, back to my team and back under that spotlight.


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