Sunday, July 26, 2015

Vintage Vest for a Vintage Athlete

This week I received a package from the lovely ladies at In the Arena.  I quickly ripped it open and was excited to see a puffy vintage L.L. Bean vest in perfect condition.  As I put on the vest I thought about how although this vest is not brand new it could definitely pass as if it is.  There is no thread out of place and it fits perfectly.  I am sure this vest has been worn countless times, yet I am confident it still has many more years of use in it.  I could not help but relate my vintage vest to my life as a vintage athlete. 

In 2014 after the Olympic Bobsled team was selected, I knew that although I was not selected I was not done competing.  At the time I had no idea what that meant, but I knew that I was in the best shape of my life and hungry to continue to compete.  I was sure I did not want to bobsled anymore, but I also knew that crossing over to a different sport at the age of 30 seemed unrealistic.  I thought about different sports that I may be able to compete in as I transitioned to a different part of my life.   Later that day as I was working out at the gym and I was approached and asked to play rugby.  I loved the people I met and the culture I was exposed to and knew this was the perfect sport to play as I searched for my next adventure.  At the time I did not know it was going to actually be my next adventure.       

I emailed Amory and In The Arena explaining that I was done with bobsled and that I was going to attempt to play rugby for the next 6 months.  I had not idea if I would be able to pick up rugby or if I would be able to have a chance to be good at it, but I knew that I wanted to at least try.  I had not expected In the Arena to support my next adventure, but was touched with the support I received.  My vintage vest proves that L.L. Bean is committed to quality products, just as In the Arena is committed to believing in and supporting their (vintage) athletes.
A year after picking up my first rugby ball I once again find myself as a full time athlete vying for a spot on the National Team.  At 32 years old I am one of the oldest athletes on the rugby pitch, but like L.L. Bean products and my vintage vest, I am hopeful that the quality of my performance will continue to improve as I age.  Rugby has been incredibly challenging, but has also given me an opportunity I had never thought I would have again. I am thankful and excited to have L.L. Bean and In The Arena experience it with me!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

When I meet kids at the Boys and Girls Club for the first time I usually ask them the same question; if you had a super power what would it be? So when I asked my new friend Isaac this question I was very touched when he responded that his super power would enable him to make food fall from the sky so no one would be hungry.  I really like asking kids about their super power because I feel like it opens up a conversation and gives insight into their life.  I have heard a variety of responses when I ask this question, but surprisingly a majority of the kids create a super power that allows them to help other people. 

However, I was concerned after Isaac told me his desired super power that he was having days at home without food.  I delicately talked with him about his home life and wanted to understand how he decided on his super power.  After talking with Isaac I learned a ton about his family and he even pitched his dad’s car washing business to me!  Isaac finally explained to me that he wanted the ability to create food because he had had a friend at school that would not have food at lunchtime.  Isaac said he shared his food with his friend daily and Isaac was concerned that others were also not given lunch.  He wanted to ability to produce food from the sky, so that people like his friend would not go without food.  The kids at the Boys and Girls Club constantly surprise me and keep me thankful that no matter what has been going on in my life, my basic needs have always been covered.  Isaac chose his super power based off putting his friend’s needs in front of his own desires.  He could have chosen any super power, but chose something that he thought would be able to help other people.  I am excited to continue to get to know Isaac and all of the other kids at the Chula Vista Boys and Girls Club.