Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sunshine state

Florida is hot!!! Fitness has been tested playing in this heat. 

Our Falcon team went 2-1, beating Denver, Utah, and then going down to Argentina National team 21-14. 

Overall it was a good day. The team has only been together for 7 days training and we came together quite well. We just played poorly for 9 minutes, and then did well to fight back in the last 5. Credit to Argentina of course, but we were the cause of our demise in that match. 

A huge semifinal against Canada, a team I've always enjoyed playing against. You can watch at 2pm EST on www.usarugby.tv

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Developmental Tournament Is Here: St. Petersburg, FL

It's been a rewarding week of training. I've been with a great group of younger rugby players, roughly averaging 22 years in age. Their youth and my experience will be competing together this weekend (they've dubbed me "Uncle Kev")!

We go together into the tournament with lots of challenges: never having played together, playing a new system, learning new tackle/ruck/passing techniques, to name a few. But each of my teammates (myself included I hope) have shown growth since the beginning of camp. There will be a lot to manage this weekend on and off the field, but wow am I looking forward to it!

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Full Circle

I'm going through my mental prep, as I typically do before big competitions or camps such as this, and I'm thinking about all the advice, experiences, etc. shared with me by teammates and friends who have been to a Mike Friday camp. The commonality said by everyone is basically as follows: "it's hard and they're gonna try and break you mentally and physically."

It's interesting because it wasn't until this moment, as I was circling my mind to find that place where I've been through something similar, that I remembered the hellish week of my first rugby trainings at Saint Mary's in 2004. 

Historically Coach Tim O'Brien holds a "winter camp" and it's meant to fit a lot of rugby, fitness and camaraderie-building in a short amount of time. It just so happens that my first week was the start of this camp; and even more so, it was the one year he decided to bring in a Navy Seal to run us through an amazingly challenging mental and physical grind 

We'd start at 5:30am with a nice winter warmup, crawling on the wet, muddy grass for a few hundred meters; Get into teams of four or five and run for hour(s) with heavy logs on our shoulders, up in the hills of Moraga; Carry 25lbs weights under water in the pool, in a relay fashion; run 2 miles with a 15 lbs med-ball...then turn around and do it again (mind you I had just come from football training and don't think I'd ran 2 miles straight since my elementary school's jog-a-thon). All this while a crazy man would scream obscenities (that were quite humorous for me, at the time). 

In any case, here I am reminiscing on this challenging, yet rewarding experience, and realize where I am today. Realizing what challenges are ahead. Realizing the mental anguish that will occur. Realizing the physical toll this will take. But more importantly, realizing how rewarding I know it will become and how much these  challenges will groom me even further. 

Am I worried about tomorrow? No I'm not. I'm excited! The unknown is uplifting and rewarding. If I knew what tomorrow would bring, I'd be bored by the time I got there. I'm ready to challenge myself again, to prove myself again...just like I did 11 years ago when it all started at SMC.