Player’s Injury during Rival Soccer Game Leads to Growth


Photo by: Shane Smith

Rhoades playing soccer at Bayport.

Brenden Selch, Student of Journalism

Blake Rhoades, star striker for the Neenah junior varsity soccer team and top prospect for next year’s varsity squad arrives at the field on a cool September afternoon. The Rockets warm up for a heated conference rivalry match against Appleton North.

To a spectator, Blake represents the cherry on top of an impressive junior varsity team. Those who are privy to his condition know that his hip risks permanent damage.

Unknown to everyone else, Blake battles every day with his hip, which greatly hurts his effectiveness on the field. As he warms up for the big game, he battles with constant pain and soreness resonating from his left hip joint, which completely changes his game. This injury greatly changes the way he and his team play.

The game begins like any other game; both teams refuse to let the other gain any ground. As both teams attempt to gain momentum, Blake’s left hip grinds like a gear, causing a searing pain that branches from his left hip and seeps into his left side. Through all this, Blake knows that he has to stay on the field, as his team needs him to score a crucial goal.

Then, as both teams fight for position, the pain in Blake’s hip finally becomes too much, his hip lets out a screech as they violently rub against each other. He can no longer play through the pain and falls to the ground, gesturing to his coach that he can no longer continue the game.

“It was good for me. It improved me mentally and made me a better soccer player.”

Blake speaks about how overcoming this obstacle greatly improves his mentality on life and soccer. He believes that bad things happen in life, and individuals grow from them.