Oh how I ache. Not sure exactly what it was, but if I had to guess I would say it was from the digging, or the fence building, or the cement mixing and pouring of the week. I’m working on a project close to my heart and when I get going on projects I become borderline obsessed.
When I was a kid I always pictured myself as an X Games athlete, and at the age of thirteen I told my parents I wanted a half pipe at home. My Dad saw the glimmer in my eye, but knew the mass of the project might be more than I understood at such a young age. Unwisely, he attempted to call my bluff and told me that if I built it myself, he would provide materials and advice. I got plans together from an old Thrasher Magazine and long story short I erected a 10 foot tall, 24 foot wide, 42 foot long X Games style half pipe in one summer (at the age of 13). I worked from sunrise to sunset almost everyday. When I wasn’t satisfied with the progress of the day I set up construction lights and worked through all hours of the night until my Mother had to physically remove me from the site. My hands were bloodied by the work, my muscles destroyed, and my mind even more damaged, yet I chose to ignore these facts. The heat of the summer would take its toll to the point where I would hear voices and suffer hallucinations. Falling sleep or fading in conversation during dinner was a regular event. My parents growing concerned for my health began limiting and putting restrictions on my work load, but they had jobs, and in all hours of there absence, I continued to work. I still have scars from that project, but I still have all my fingers. This is how I act when I get excited or passionate about a project or an idea.
I didn’t pursue extreme sports as a profession because they didn’t offer college scholarships, and even at such a young age I was wise enough to know that an education is important when your body eventually gives out on you and your athletic career comes to an end.
While I’m taking this tangent through yesteryear; sometimes I think that the catalyst for my life as a pole vaulter comes down to one simple memory. I told my high school coach it was a stupid event, and he basically called me a pansy, telling me I was scared. I assured him that I was afraid of nothing and took the pole from his hands in defense of my ego and attacked the event with the same passion that erected the massive half pipe in my parents backyard.
I’ve lost the point I had originally sat down to write about. I think that I was going to complain about how beat up I am at the moment and how I was having doubts about the upcoming weekend. But complaining is not my forte and neither is doubt. I’m taking a day off and doing everything necessary to take care of my body so that I can accomplish my goals for the upcoming weekend.
Something I was trying to get across is that I do get a little crazy about some things, projects, etc. Although they all have purpose, sometimes you need to step out of your own skin and look at how much of your valuable energy you are wasting on something that is not bettering you as an athlete. In an Olympic year, especially, everything must come second to your body’s health, your state of mind, and the ultimate pursuit of your dreams. This is why I have set everything else aside, projects, business, coaching, career, and so on. I have placed myself in a bubble that hosts a semi permeable membrane allowing access only to substance directly related to the betterment of my athletic. I need all that energy for one thing, and losing sight of short term goals is a problem. Looking straight ahead, Saturday is right in front of me, and what matters most.
So the rest of the week I will focus on me, and the project can wait for idle time. Even though it falls right in line with the pursuit of my dreams in the long term, it is still a detriment to the short term and its view blocked by an upcoming competition. Being an injured athlete, you have to be a master of prioritizing. Decisions must be made on the fly and each day reevaluated with care.
Here is a picture of the old ramp before we tore it down this fall.