By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– Imagine you’re entering your junior year, the bulk of your high school career has been healing up from three different knee procedures.
Knee procedures that either repair the ACLs in both knees or that cleaned up scar tissues from one of the previous ACL procedures. It’ll be hard to fathom having the confidence and self-esteem in oneself to go out and give the sport you love another crack, right?
What if I tell you there’s no stopping one’s love for the sport that they love? Cascade’s Emma Clinton is in that boat.
No number of ACL-tears and knee braces will keep her on the sideline with her senior season two days in the books.
“I love this game, I’ve been playing since I was in Kindergarten and it’s made me realize how fun practice is, having to be on the sidelines and how fun the gym is. Just enjoying every minute of it,” Clinton said.
Going into her freshman year at South Albany High School, Clinton tore the left ACL during summer basketball. She healed up, but had to go in to get the knee scooped to remove scar tissue on her left knee.
Healthy, Clinton went into her sophomore year looking to contribute for her new squad in the Cougars. But two games in, tragedy struck again as she tore her ACL in her right knee. Sending the young ballplayer back to the drawing board.
This may be the point where a lot of kids may say, ‘screw it. It may not be in the cards for me. I’m done’ and hang it up. But hey, as mentality taxing as it was for Clinton having to go in and do the long-grueling process twice.
But here she was. Wanting to get back to the court of play once more, wanting to play the sport she loves and eventually returning to play her full junior year with Cascade. Helping the Cougs to a 9-4 season during the Covid-shortened 2021 Spring season.
“Mentally it was pretty tough. But just remembering that my teammates are here to support me and all my family that have supported me and I just love the game,” Clinton said. “Just telling myself that I can do this.
“(This past year) I loved it. Even last year with it being Covid, but this year I’m really excited that it’ll be like a normal year again. Mentally you just got to know that all the practices that I’ve put into it, it’s going to pay off. As long as I’m confident in myself I’ll be fine, in certain situations I have to be a little more careful. I’ll be fine, I’m ready.”
Ready to rock and roll for one more basketball season. Cascade didn’t graduate anyone from their Spring season which will leave them in a favorable position to win a few games. Something that’s on Clinton’s list entering her senior year with the Cougars.
“I just want to have fun, hopefully win a lot of games and just play,” smiled and laughed Clinton. “That’s the main thing, I’m just excited to play.”
Cascade’s first game of the year is December 1 when they host North Marion. Tip-off is at 5:30pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald