February 9, 2022
Diary: Long live Jordan Nixon
A first-person account of working through adversity amid SEC play
(Editor’s note: Jordan Nixon is here to provide a diary of her time playing at Texas A&M. We’re thrilled to have her join us. If you missed it, here was her debut article.)
We are a whopping 3-7 in conference play – our cherished wins coming at the hands of Arkansas and Auburn, and most recently Kentucky – and I can’t help but to feel overwhelmingly responsible.
Granted, a four member coaching staff and 13 other women participated in each of those losses — even the ones who didn’t see as much floor time. But as a leader on this team (and every other team I’ve ever played on) I am not afraid to assume some of the blame. We’ve collectively decided that we don’t need to hit the panic button, despite prompting from the outside world. I can’t disclose too much because we’re keeping it in house, but I will say that we’re finding ourselves. I’d argue that those same people who are projecting their fears and judgements onto us, need to go and examine themselves instead.
As far as finding ourselves is concerned, it may appear as though we are on a short clock, but in fact the only thing we have is time. It is ticking, but 6 out of 7 days of every week for the next few weeks and weeks past, we have spent together—just trying to, as Coach Blair says, “figure it out”.
For instance, we don’t have true Saturday nights — those are nights before games. Those are “watch your film”, “look at your scout”, “get your mind right” and maybe fit in some homework as you calculate how far you can push yourself beyond fatigue while keeping the wake-up call in mind.
Our Saturday nights take place on Sunday evenings because every Monday, we hit the reset button; Monday is our lone day of rest. The cycle continues on Tuesday when we make our corrections and prepare for battle with Thursday’s future in mind. Friday’s are a lot like Tuesdays except there’s a different challenge ahead and they’re a lot closer to Monday, and for that we are thankful. That’s conference play, and needless to say, it’s a strain that only the strong will survive.
Sometimes, I question whether I fit into that category.
At the midseason mark, I have not come close to being my best, and the people around me deserve better. I know that and it hurts. I know that and it makes me turn inward and criticize myself in ways that you can imagine. When it gets bad — and it does get bad — giving myself grace flies out of the window.
One example of my inner thoughts: Jordan Nixon is dead, or rather, the one from last season’s storybook finish is gone.
After having a thought like that, I recognize it’s the pain, discomfort, and frustration emanating from a partially torn meniscus talking—not me. When results from an MRI in late December revealed the medical source of my quad, hamstring, and/or calf tightness, I chad two options: pull the plug or continue playing even if hobbled. On the first, I would have gotten a minor meniscus repair surgery done, and spent the next few weeks on the injured reserve. Choosing the latter, I lived out my COVID days – which, by the way, greatly benefited my swollen and achy knee — and resumed playing. I hazily remember running off of the court in Knoxville, Tennessee and saying something along the lines of, “as soon as possible”, in regards to me getting a steroid shot. The shot provided me with much needed relief and the confidence I needed to lie to myself and say I was who I knew myself to be. And in hindsight, it was exactly the problem.
I’m “the girl with the knee brace” — no shade to all of the beautiful women who rock a contraption on their lower extremity and thank you to my teammates who make light of this — so yes, I have noticeable difficulty performing mundane tasks on the court. And admittedly, I’ve handled it poorly. 22 games later and I realized that my abysmal play and inability to feel like the aforementioned me is not something to be “figured out”, but understood, accepted, and moved past. I am lucky enough to have an incredible support system around me and their “do your best”s and “you don’t see what everyone else sees”, “they need you”s are both abundant and consistent—I love them for it. But I know that I am not and can not be the player I remember.
So: Jordan Nixon is dead. May she be immortalized for who she was for Aggie Women’s Basketball in the 2020-’21 season, and for who she is determined to be, rather than who she has shown herself to be over the past few weeks.
I started off this essay with a grim, but true statement. We are not the Aggies from the years prior, and I am not Jordan Nixon, the redshirt sophomore guard suiting up for the Aggies for the first time in her collegiate career–those days have come and gone. I am Jordan Nixon, 21-year-old graduate of Texas A&M University, who spends her free time connecting people through stories and navigating the unexplored territory of playing with an injury.
If this time has taught me anything, it’s that we can handle the circumstances. I can handle the strain of my body and mind. And if we as a team spend more of our time remembering what was rather than what is and could be, we’ll lose out on the gift of the present.