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!