Why Did This Happen to Me?
I raced up the court and got open as my teammate passed me the ball. I faked left, then dribbled to the top of the key and took the shot. As soon as the ball left my hands, I felt dizzy. Then everything went dark.
The next thing I remember, I was flat on my back in the middle of the court with my coach standing over me. She assumed I had fainted because I was dehydrated. But a week later, I passed out again. After it happened a third time, I went to see my doctor.
"You have a heart condition called Vasovagal Syncope," the doctor told me. "Basically, when you exercise, you're not getting enough oxygen pumping from your heart to your brain."
I left his office that day with strong medication that gave me killer headaches and left me extremely tired.
My doctor took me off the meds, but then my fainting spells started up again. That's when he said what I never wanted to hear: "No more basketball." He stressed that staying away from strenuous sports was the only thing that would help with my fainting spells.
Why would God do this to me? I thought. I'm just a freshman! Why now—when I'm finally starting to improve my game?
When fall rolled around, it was hard going to school knowing that when the final bell rang, I wouldn't head down to the gym and practice with my friends. Without basketball, I felt lost.
Then one day in my computer class, this girl looked at me and said, "Hey, I think you go to my church—White River Christian."
I nodded. "Yeah, I do."
"I'm Kaylee," she said. "You know, we do some pretty cool stuff in youth group. You should come sometime."
Worshiping God was the last thing I felt like doing. I was ticked with him for having given me a stupid heart problem that kept me away from the thing I loved most.
"Maybe sometime," I said with a shrug, knowing full well I'd blow it off.
Kaylee dropped the subject, but over the next few weeks she seemed to make a point of talking to me whenever she could—just about random things that had happened throughout the day. I actually enjoyed talking to her. She was always nice and friendly.
A few weeks later, Kaylee invited me to youth group again. This time I was more open to going. For one thing, I realized I had a lot of free time since I wasn't playing basketball. I also thought it would be fun to get to know Kaylee a little better.
I went to youth group and I saw right away why Kaylee loved it so much. Everyone was friendly and they all had a tremendous love for the Lord that was really cool to see. Even though I'd been a Christian most of my life,
I hadn't been living out my faith until I met Kaylee. The more we talked about God, the more my heart grew for Jesus—and the more my priorities changed.
"Guess what?" I asked Kaylee one day during lunch. "Yesterday my doctor told me that I could try to play ball again next year."
"Really? That's awesome!" Kaylee said.
"I know how much you love basketball."
"I do," I said. "But when I was on the basketball team, I never had time for anything else. But this year has been awesome! I met you. I made a bunch of friends at church. And best of all, I've connected with the Lord on a deep, personal level."