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Rough Road to a Championship- by Chris Jenkinson

Hello everyone! My name is Chris Jenkinson. To get to know me a little bit better, I am 19 years old, 6’8”, and I am a goalkeeper for BYU. Previously I was the goalkeeper for Rangers FC, La Roca South FC, and Pleasant Grove High School. I just barely finished my fall season and spring training with the BYU Men’s soccer team, and I am now headed on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I will be serving 2 years in the Berlin, Germany mission. When I get back, I plan on continuing to play for the BYU Men’s Soccer team. Today I wanted to share my experiences that got me to where I am today. It wasn’t an easy road, and I would like to share the lessons I learned from it.

In the summer of my Sophomore year and Junior year, I grew 8 inches! It was definitely a lot nicer to be taller, but a couple of problems followed me as I grew a lot in a short amount of time. First, my left leg grew longer and faster than my right leg. This in turn made me knock kneed. Trying to play as a keeper was a little bit harder than I remembered. My knees were constantly hitting each other, causing me to attack a play a lot slower, and started to damage my knees. I went to go see a doctor and they told me what had happened. I need to get 4 different surgeries across a couple of years to correct the problem. Luckily I was still growing to be able to make this operation work. In December of my Junior year, I got my first surgery. They took nuts and bolts, and bolted them into my right and left knee right over my growth plates. This would straighten my knees. The soccer team for Pleasant Grove in my junior year was supposed to be the best team Pleasant Grove has ever seen, and I had now jeopardized it by getting surgery only 2 and a half months before the season started. I was in crutches for 2 weeks after the first surgery. I wasn’t able to run for a month. It was the most painful thing that had ever happened to me. When I was finally starting to be able to run, there was only a month left to prepare for the season. I was doing everything in my power to be ready for the season. When the season started, I was starting goalkeeper, and felt ready to play. In the first half of the season, I was not playing the way I usually would. I was more scared to go into tackles, my reaction time was slow, and I was not making plays. As a result would start to be more and more second string. Midway through the season, we played American Fork at home. I was sick of being the second string keeper so I texted my coach to start me, and that I was more ready than I have ever been in my entire life. The whole day I was working on my mindset to go in strong. I would tell myself that I didn’t care if I broke my leg, but if I did, then it would be the result of making a play. That game was the best game I had played that season. I became first string again right in time for the end of the season and the playoffs. I kept the mindset and we ended up winning the state championship! The first Soccer State Championship Pleasant Grove has ever seen. I continued on to get 3 more surgeries, but in that time, I won another state championship, Got into BYU, Made the Soccer Team for BYU, won a national championship, and now I’m serving a mission. Two huge lessons came to me from this experience. First, is that obstacles are only obstacles. Getting those surgeries was not ideal, but I was able to overcome them, to reach success. Secondly, is that our mindset does not have to change from those obstacles. As keepers, our mindset has to be the strongest on the team. We may not get action for the full 90 minutes, but we have to stay engaged the whole game to make the play that determines if we win or lose. My mindset changed for the worse after my surgery. After replacing it, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. Thank you all for taking the time to read my experience. I believe in all of you. Aim for the top. Best of luck!

Chris Jenkinson

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