Although injuries are inevitable when playing sports, they are never expected. For Aaron Washington, the tear to his lateral meniscus during his junior year basketball season changed everything.
After gaining red shirt status and adding another year to his collegiate basketball career, his recovery began. And, ending the 2016-2017 season, Washington beat the single season three point record, and tied the single game three point record twice, showing everyone who had the pleasure of watching, that with hard work and heart, an amazing comeback is possible.
“I have never been hurt like that, to work so hard in the summer and pre-season just to have it taken away…that broke my heart,” Washington said.
“I called my dad after that time and told him maybe it was time to just hang the shoes up. I even thought about transferring back home and being a normal student. I never thought after the injury I could contribute to the season,” he said.
Much of those ideas changed when Steve Ernst took the head coaching position at Olivet this season.
“Ernst and the rest of the coaching staff gave me an opportunity. In the summer I had not shown them I wanted to play basketball with my actions, but they stuck by me and believed in me,” Washington said.
With a rigorous pre-season transitioning into a tough season, all the hard work Washington had put in finally began to show.
“It felt great to finally be competing in games that mattered. That mattered more to me than breaking the record,” Washington said. “My goal at the beginning of the season was just to make it through the year and to move on with my life, but having the success the team did and breaking the record felt great. All the hard work I had put in finally paid off.”
This season brought along a pleasant surprise along the way. During Olivet’s second time playing Calvin, in front of a home crowd, Washington beat the single season three point record, solidifying his name in the books for years to come.
“I didn’t know about the record I broke until my dad had said something to me. I’m more worried about wins and doing something Olivet hasn’t done in a while, which is making the NCAA tournament,”
Washington said. “With that said though, records are meant to be broken, and having my name down in the record books forever is something I will never forget.”
With Washington committing to his fifth year of playing eligibility, the sky seems the only limit. Having overcome so much in the past, the hard work and dedication Washington has shown gives hope for big things still to come.