Friday, October 3, 2014

Nick's Notes: Practicing Patience

Saturdays are different for Alex Fenske these days. He doesn't put on his football pads.
He doesn't warm up with the University of St.Thomas football team. He doesn't play in the games. He waits on the sidelines.
The 2012 Marshall High school graduate was slated to start for the Tommies at quarterback this season, but that all changed after a preseason injury.
Fenske's upper body went the opposite way of his foot after a tackle during a scrimmage against a junior college team. He didn't know what to think after he went down on the turf.
"A million things went through my head. It was a sensation that I've never felt before. I felt something pop. I didn't know if it was an ACL or a tear. It happened so quick," he said.
That injury forced Fenske to have a different perspective, literally.
"I never thought it would be so hard to have to just watch a practice. I understand that it is a privilege. It's hard to watch them on game day with all the fans screaming," he said.
However, an injury doesn't necessarily mean free time for the quarterback. He puts in about ten hours of rehab per week. He goes to practices, watches film, and helps the new quarterbacks. "We all help each other out. I help them out with little things like how to read the safeties," he said.
Fenske has learned to be patient, not something many athletes are accustomed to doing. That may ultimately be his best weapon.
The fifth century poem 'Psychomachia' or 'Battle for the Soul' by the Latin poet Prudentius is an allegorical work that describes virtues fighting for control of man's soul.
In the poem, patience comes off like a quality offensive lineman. "No virtue leaps into the hazards of battle save that virtue be with her, for she is ineffectual whom patience does not strengthen," goes section 170 of the poem.
Patience faces off against anger, and anger ends up shooting himself in the foot while patience remains steadfast.
Fenske didn't seem to have any hint of anger in voice when I spoke with him. He seemed driven. "I'm looking at everything from a different point of view. I'm focusing on getting healthy. It's almost like starting back at point A," he said.
Coming back stronger next year for his senior season is the main goal for Fenske. His coaches told him that many players have returned from similar injuries and have gone on to have stellar comeback seasons.
"Madness dies of self enmity. In her fury she slays herself."
Fifth century wisdom for Fenske's 2015 comeback.

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