March 16, 2012 - submitted by Jane, United States of America

I really need your help. Yesterday, I got in an accident while trying out for varsity volleyball. I knew I wasn't going to make varsity, but I thought it would be a good experience. When we were scrimmaging, I went for a ball that was not mine and a varsity player landed on me while trying to hit from back row. Everyone was watching, including the boys team. She is injured now and out for quite some time. This is the second time my stupidity has been the cause of someone's injury. I feel like I am the one who needs to be punished. How has this happened to me two times in less than a year? I am spiraling into depression and terrified to go back to school. I don't know what to do.
Thanks, Jane. USA.

The Oracle replies:

It sounds like you're punishing yourself quite harshly already Jane. Accidents happen and many sports come with a risk of injury especially one where tackling is involved. I hear you saying the ball wasn't yours but if the player hadn't been injured I'm sure you would see that trying to get it was a risk worth taking at the time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but it's time to stop beating yourself up. The fact that you admit to your wrongdoing means you can work at trying to be more responsible in sport. There isn't anything you can do about what has happened but you can certainly endeavour to avoid it happening in the future. Please try not to worry. If it helps you to talk to the injured player and express your apology, ask how they see the incident. You may be surprised. Offer your help & support too if that's appropriate.
It takes a big person to admit their mistakes but you've suffered enough. Facing people will feel like part of a punishment too but again, just express your sorrow at the event and then let it go. Whether it was your fault or not, you won't achieve anything by self flagellation. Learn from your mistakes but don't pay for them. Over to you.

Relax, these things happen. As long as you didn't hurt her intentionally, there's no need for you to feel so guilty. However, I do think you would feel better if you explained your mistake to her properly it seems to be a major accident, after all. If she seems to accept and forgive your mistake, then be with her as she makes the recovery; make a new friend. Also, you have no right to feel guilty for trying out for the varsity team, in fact, you should be proud of yourself! And don't worry about other people's judgements you love yourself; you know your worth; you realise your mistakes; you are aware of your imperfections; you still love yourself. Saranya.

First of all I beg you: calm down. Believe it or not, every single problem has a solution. Sports will always carry around injuries, it's its nature. How many times have we seen famous sportspeople being taken to hospital for some kind of foul? I'm not saying it's good, but it just happens all around the world.
I can imagine what a situation you were in, trying to give your bestest to get into the varsity. Your aim wasn't injuring your mate but trying to show off because of your movements and shrewdness. And when focusing on a very high goal, we all push ourselves to the maximum.
So Jane, I know you're a highly intelligent girl. If I were in your shoes I would be completely honest with the injured girl, pour my heart out and say: Sorry, I didn't mean to do it. Bring some cookies, try to cheer her up, who knows, a great friendship could come out of this. It could have happened to her as much as it happened to you.
So somehow you learned with this event: simply try to be a little bit more careful next time. Wish you the best! Carolina.

Jane, you are not to blame. What happened was an accident, nothing else. The fact that you feel so guilty is sign of consideration and being selfless. It wasn't stupidity that was the cause, it was simply... life. Sometimes, bad things happen. But what can one do? Give up and live life as if waiting for even worse things to happen? Absolutely not. What I think you should do is take a deep breath, gather enough courage to go to school and apologize. You seem to be sincerely sorry, and letting that person know that is the best you can do. I sincerely hope that you never think "what if". Those two words put together can, in my opinion, be two of the most haunting and destructive words. Wondering what could have been will never get you anywhere good. Wondering about what can be, however, does. Let the bad events of yesterday go and try to make the events of tomorrow better. And please, don't be too hard on yourself! Best wishes, Medina.

Jane, I think you are being too hard on yourself, accidents happen. When playing sports it is natural when the ball gets near us to want to go after it, experience helps us to control those instincts and better judge whether to go after a ball or leave it for another player. You are only guilty of not being as good a volleyball player as you'd like and possibly trying too hard in front of the crowd that was watching and when we try too hard, we can make mistakes.
What you tell yourself, will impact how you feel. Don't go negative, it will only bring more negative and yes, depression will follow. When negative thoughts come in reject them and replace them with positive thoughts. Don't assume you know what others are thinking, but what you believe about yourself (negative or positive) can be projected out and others will start to believe it too. Focus on your school work and the beautiful spirit inside you. Hold your head up, smile and imagine your spirit is shining and that is what others will see. Dawn.

Jane I don't think you should be punished for it because as you said it was an accident. The fact that you feel so guilty about it says how much you care and really didn't mean for her to get hurt. Don't forget its quite common for people to get injured in sports and sometimes it just happens. You mentioned that everyone saw and I hope this doesn't mean they're bothering you about it but regardless, keep in mind that they have little to do with what happened. I recommend going to the girl that's injured and letting her know how sorry you are. Maybe do something nice for her (everyone likes cookies). I'm sure she'd appreciate it and it might help you feel better too. Think of how you'd want her to feel if it were the other way around. Hope it works out. Love, Darem.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. First, I think you should realize that what happened isn't your fault. Believe me, I've been there. I play field hockey and I injure so many people that I have learnt to just forgive myself. You can't do anything about the fact that you dove for a ball and another teammate crashed into you. I think that that is crucial to solving your problem. Learn to forgive yourself. It sometimes feels like such an impossible task. But as long as you keep telling yourself that it wasn't your fault your body will one day just give in. It gets tired of hearing the same thing over and over again that it will start to believe it. Furthermore, I know that you are terrified to go back to school. But if you don't it will raise questions and you will feel even worse when your mom or dad makes you finally go to school. If you feel really sad or depressed think of that one person halfway around the globe that has literally injured more than 12 people in the last 2 months (I really have). I think that the most important thing to do right now is forgive yourself. The rest will follow eventually. I hope it works out for you. Silke, Barcelona.

It's never a good feeling when you hurt someone uninentionally (with either words or actions). Everyone has done this at one time or another, myself included, and I understand your feeling of stupidity! Don't be too hard on yourself, you have done nothing wrong! In sports, there is always potential for injury. Athletes from all sports are fully aware of this as soon as they step onto the court or the field for a game. It might be hard for you, but don't dwell on your mistake, because mistakes are part of the game. I'm sure the varsity player knows that what happened was an honest accident, too. If you haven't already, visit her at her house and talk to her and see how she's doing. You could also send her a get well card to show her how you feel. In addition to showing your concern, you'll feel loads better afterwards. Good luck! Blake.

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