Wednesday, September 16, 2015

And so it Begins...

Follow my story as I embark on the unlikely comeback and pursuit of the Olympic Dream! Retired in 2012 from international rugby, broken both physically and mentally, it's been a 3 year process of rebuilding my mind, body and soul. 

Currently I'm having the most fun I've ever had playing rugby and while I'm still working on getting to the best physical shape of my life, this blog will follow my journey through moments of pain, suffering, jubilation, fun, excitement, commitment, and accomplishment.

There's no better way to summarize this process than with the quote, "Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction." - Al Bernstein

My life over the past 3 years, let alone the past 12 months, was somehow leading me down a path I would've never guessed. Everything that has happened: the creation of resiliency, the reinvigorated passion and love for the game, the humbling attribute of humility, becoming innately self-aware, leadership and attention to detail, the exponential gain in rugby IQ, the reality that life (or rugby) can be more than just about winning, but your competitive edge doesn't have to drop off a single iota; all this has been highlighted and enhanced for me over the past 40 months.

My training started in late August and it has been the hardest work I've ever put in to date...which is exactly how it should be. The goals are different this time around and so is my mentality. When I was captain of the US 7's team in 2010, I knew what my athletic ability was, and that's what gave me the confidence to play well. Now I know what my rugby ability is, and that creates something far greater!

Staying healthy is the biggest concern in a sport like ours and what I'm doing now that I never did before is body management. This entails: two Chiropractor and Physical therapy sessions per week, one acupuncture and massage per week, and stretching every day. All of that added to a training routine of 4 fitness, 3 weights, 3 skills, 2 speed, and at least 1 Pilates or yoga sessions per week, makes for busy, busy days. 

I'll still be working at my amazingly supportive job, USI/Kibble&Prentice, in the commercial Insurance industry. This is made possible by a second to none management team and support staff. My colleagues have rallied around me and will take on extra loads while I travel for camps and possible tours; I can't thank them enough for their support, they're incredible!

The next hardest thing about all this is stepping back considerably in my role with the UW Rugby club. Beginning my fourth season, and what looks to be the most successful yet, means I'll miss far more than I want to. But thank you to the coaches and players for understanding. Thank you to those who have stepped in and stepped up to fill the void. Mike Alfstad will be the head coach and with Shawn Pittman and Ian Franks stepping into Assistant Coach roles, the club will hardly miss me because of their great leadership. And Even more so, thanks to Brian Schoener for being the catalyst that got me involved with this club to begin with. The nice thing is I will train and play with the team twice a week so we can enjoy this process together.

Here we go!