Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Difference a Year Makes..

Almost exactly a year ago I was called into an room in Igls, Austria and told by the selection committee that I would not be representing our country in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.  As disappointed as I was with the selection and the process I knew that I wanted to continue with sports in some capacity.  I wanted to have control over how and when my athletic career ended.  At the time I knew that I would not continue to bobsled, but that I still had the desire to compete a little longer.  I didn’t know what that meant or in what way I wanted to compete, but I knew that I had worked very hard to build up my body and I thought I could still athletically contribute to some sport.

A few weeks after the Olympic Team was selected I stumbled upon the sport of rugby in while visiting friends in Budapest, Hungary.  I was blown away by the kindness of the women I met and practiced with in Budapest and knew that where ever I landed I wanted to surround myself with people like them.  I moved to the bay area in the spring of 2014 and immediately found a team in Berkeley to play with.  It has been incredibly humbling and at times very frustrating to learn a new sport, but my teammates have been patient and understanding every step of the way.  Rugby is a complex sport that takes years to understand and master.  The women in the sport are some of the most fit athletes I have ever seen.  It is a sport that has many working parts requiring speed, strength, fitness, and most importantly brains. 

My goal in rugby has always been to meet new people and have fun!  I emotionally struggled through the last couple years of bobsled and ultimately the fun was sucked out of the sport for me.  Rugby has been refreshing and has given me new perspective in my life.  My mindset has shifted and instead of putting extreme pressure on myself I have limited my expectations and am enjoying the experience. 

Ironically a year after the 2014 Olympic Bobsled was selected I found myself back at the Olympic Training Center, but this time for rugby.   The last time I was at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista was in 2010, a few weeks before departing for the Olympic Games in Vancouver.  I also trained in Chula Vista after my first bobsled season in 2007.  It is a place that holds some really great memories for me and I enjoyed reliving those experiences and walking down memory lane this past week.  Although I do not know what the future holds for me in any capacity I am finally starting to understand that the journey is truly the most important part of every experience.  I feel that rugby has given me a second chance to enjoy athletics again and has given me an opportunity to create my own ending. 

2 comments:

Jake Jefferies said...

Cool Emily, rooting for you.

Anonymous said...

Go go go Emily! U make us proud! Hope u make it!
xxx from Budapest
tom and the exiles girls