18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why Minnesota?

Over the past few months I've been having a similar conversation over and over again. Why Minnesota? People ask. I felt like i did my best to answer that question time after time, but now when I look back, I didn't. There are several great reasons for me to move to Burnsville, MN. After months of debating with myself about it. It just made too much sense on so many levels. Now I'd like to take a moment to explain.
This will be the third time I have sat down and tried to write about this major life move. Each time I've tried to write about it, I've failed. The emotion that comes through proves to be to difficult, the details are overwhelming and almost vast. So please bear with me. I feel like to do everyone involved, on both sides, justice, I would have to write a novel. I don't have the energy for it, this is hard enough, but I feel obligated to try. So i've decided to address as many main points as I can without leaving any important details out, or dragging it on for pages and pages.
I'm trying to heal.
I'm returning from what could have been a career ending injury or batch of injuries, and training outdoors in the cold is not as easy as it once was.  ISU goes outdoors, the second week of Feb. For those of you that don't the area, it has been known to blizzard there, in May. I need to make training as easy on my broken old body as possible. Training indoors year round seemed like a logical solution. The Facility here has everything you need to be a great athlete all in one location. Poles, pits, straightaways, runways, a weight room, and extremely flexible hours. I wish I could have packed up Dave Nielsen and brought him with me, he is beyond amazing as a coach, and a caring human being of the highest caliber. I feel like we've come all this way together and being forced to leave him broke my heart. Now as my eyes well up, I must change pace.

Fuzion Athletics is fantastic. 
Jamie Steffen has put together a company, facility and situation not to profit greatly himself, but to create opportunities for a wide variety of athletes in track and field. Being a post-collegiate vaulter is far more difficult than most people understand, and he strives to fill the large gaps left in peoples lives after college. People who dream bigger. Jamie is the definition of a die hard fan, business man, and heart of gold. He combines those three characteristics in his company to create a potent and unique mix of success that has a positive impact on anyone within range of his grasp. 

I'm broke.
 I'm so helplessly broke. I don't have material things to show for it. I have a life that has been full of friendship, love and adventure. It was worth every penny......that I borrowed. At some point the monster of debt grows to large, and goes from knocking on your door, to kicking it in and trying to devourer your entire existence. Pocatello, ID is a great place to live, full of great people. But you need a full time job to survive there. Pay is low, really low. Working part-time, coaching part-time, and training part-time, just wasn't working out for me. Things will be similar but different out here. And if all goes to plan, the debt monster is getting punched in the mouth next time he comes a knocking. 

Travelling is essential as a post collegiate athlete. 
You need to compete at high caliber meets against high caliber athletes to stay sharp. In Pocatello, there are two major airports nearby you can fly poles out of. Nearby? Well, not really. Salt Lake City, UT airport is two and half hours away by car. That's the closest, and Boise, ID airport is three and half hours away. That is a whole lot of driving and gas money stacked on top of flights, 5 to 7 hours, round trip, extra, every time you travel to compete, if the weather is good. Guess what is 13 miles and about a 20 minute drive from my new apartment? If you guessed the the 15th largest airport in the US, Minneapolis/St. Paul International. You guessed right. That is so dam convenient, I can't even begin to get into it. 

Medical help. 
Out here, I get chiropractic work, massage, and I can see a great doctor, free. Anytime I need. There is even talk of getting me insured. Wow, wouldn't that be amazing. 7 years I've survived without medical insurance. Survived through, pulled muscles, torn muscles, a broken hand, a broken foot, a severe ankle sprain, torn ligaments in my leg, ankle, wrist, and shoulder, a fractured vertebrae, two herniated discs, two bulging discs surrounding those, bacterial infection, concussion, food poisoning, and that stupid flu that killed people but couldn't take me out. The list goes on and on. Having affordable insurance, would be like winning the lottery. 

A smooth transition into the next stage of my life. 
As an athlete, retirement is a word that forces its way out of your mouth about as easy as an old rusty butter knife would slide into your heart, and it feels about the same. But that's something that's creeping up on me pretty quick, and may have already needed to happen. But I'm not satisfied yet, as you all know. Being a part of successful growing company, who's passion is lined parallel to my own, seemed logical not only for the present but for the future. I feel like I can help have a huge positive impact not only in peoples lives but on the entire sport of pole vault nation wide, and eventually world wide. Out here, I see a much larger picture, which shows me how I can make use of my skills and knowledge outside of just being an athlete and coach. 

The woman I love.
Words cannot describe my feelings and dependency for Britney. I'll skip all the other normal cliche's, that would be true no doubt, but I will say this, without her I would be lost. We were getting by in Pocatello, but's that all we were doing, and that's all we could do. Everyday I had to watch her force herself out of bed to go to a job that she despised, wasting her potential working for people with half her brain capacity and skills, and coming home depressed and miserable on a regular basis. I can remember several times where, after talking about her day, I was seconds away from storming out of our house to go on a violent rampage through that place that would have landed me a nice little vacation, in prison. Cheering each other up day after day became necessary to our psychological survival. That's not the way life should be. I knew she deserved better than that, and I knew I could do something about it. The economy is down the toilet. I know your tired of hearing it, but its true. Pocatello is a waste land for employment, and wasn't much better before. Minnesota is in a lot better shape, at least in this area. There is so much more business and opportunity. Some out here may disagree, and I understand why, but go try to make it in Pocatello, and you'll be singing a different tune real quick. 

There are things about the state of Idaho I won't have. 
Rocks to climb, cliffs to jump off of, huge mountains, sweet mountain bike trails, and lots of open space. But I feel like I did a great job of taking advantage of all those things while I had the chance, and won't have the regret of not doing so when I could have. One of my main outdoor outlets is more than fulfilled here however. That is, 37 different disc golf courses, within 30 miles of my apartment. That's no joke, check it out http://www.pdga.com/course_directory/zipcode?filter0=55306 these guys love to disc out here!

Generally I have always attacked people in the past who are prone to say, "the grass is always greener". I can think of a few of them right now, and still value my arguments against them. I have never been that person, and always try to make the best of every place and situation. This move by definition, was a "grass is greener" move. But the future is looking brighter each day I wake up here. I still struggle with what I left behind, but I don't want that to go away. I carry it with me always, and it motivates me to succeed. 

This was the short version...

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