Keeping Up With Alana
July 30, 2013
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) -
Every Tuesday this summer, we will hear from a different Lady Rebel as she catches up UNLVRebels.com readers with an account of how their summer is going, an update on their workouts and their goal for the upcoming season. This ninth installment is provided by junior forward Alana Cesarz.
Tuesday, July 30
Returning home is always a great time - I love being there and around my big family. Anyone who knows me knows how family-oriented I am. This is easy to believe because I grew up in a household with five brothers. It is absolutely insane how fast they all grew while I am away in college. My brother Ethan (14) graduated from 8th grade. He is one of the most gifted athletes I have seen at both football and basketball, and I am so excited to see how he does in high school and down the road. While I was home, I went to as many of my brothers’ games as possible. My two youngest brothers, Justin (11) and Erik (9), play together on a baseball team coached by my Dad. One of their games was played on the little league field outside of Miller Park (home of the Milwaukee Brewers). My whole family and all of the other players’ families tailgated and had fun before that game. I also went to a few Brewers’ games with both my friends and my family.
While I was at home, I had the privilege of running a basketball camp at Delavan Christian School in honor of a young girl, Avery McCarthy, who was a classmate of my brother Justin. Avery passed away last October because of injuries suffered in a car accident. There were close to 30 girls at the five-day camp and I was proud to be a part of it to share my basketball skills and knowledge. I also volunteered at a golf outing in memory of my cousin, Nick VanDyke, who passed away two years ago. It was a fun day surrounded by my amazing family.
Despite all of the fun I had back home, I continued to workout every day. I was at XTS with my trainer, Cory Englebert, Monday through Friday every week. Summer is always about improving and getting better for next season, but this summer is the most important one yet. On January 23rd, 2013, 13 minutes into our conference game at Wyoming, I was sprinting up the middle of the court in transition for what should have been an easy lay-up for me. Unfortunately, that play didn’t end the way I had practiced my entire career, and I tore my ACL and partially tore my meniscus. I was heartbroken and could not believe my season was ending so early.
At this point, I am almost six months out of surgery, and I feel GREAT. I am able to do so much now, that at one time, was hard to believe I would be able to do again. I remember thinking I would never be able to bend or straighten my leg all the way. Now I am running, shooting, jumping, and doing just about everything besides actually playing. Stacy, our athletic trainer, has gotten me on the right track to be playing again. She goes through rehab with me every day, and pushes me to my limits. I joke around all the time that she is my best friend, though she sometimes does not feel the same way.
Along with my good days, come bad days. It can be hard sometimes to push through the pain or have to stand off to the side for open gym and drills, but I have had a great support system to get me through it. My family, friends, and teammates are always there encouraging me. Now that we are able to practice two hours a week as a team, it is fun for me to be able to get in a lot of the drills and be on the court with my team again. We also have weights and conditioning four days a week where my teammates do not get frustrated with me, but continue to cheer for me as I get back into running and other movements.
Not only am I working out hard this summer, I am enrolled in two summer school classes. I chose to be in two online classes because it allows me to have extra time in the gym or to do more treatment for my knee. I also chose to be in online classes because the first week of August I am returning to Wisconsin for a little family vacation. This will be a much-needed trip back home so I can relax and get ready for the final push for the upcoming season.
I remember so distinctly the feeling and memory of being in Laramie, lying on the court holding my leg, and knowing that it was bad. All I could wonder was, “Why me?” I was able to talk briefly with one of Coach KO’s former players who also tore her ACL. She called it, “a blessing in disguise,” and I truly believe that is what this is for me too. I now have the most intense work ethic I have ever had. I no longer take basketball, or anything for granted. I am in the gym so much more than before my injury. I loved basketball before, but I now love it so much more, and I know I need to play the game. I want nothing more than to be playing in my UNLV jersey this up-coming season. “Your setback is the platform for your comeback.” Ready or not, here I come…