Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thoughts on Excellence

As many of you know, I am borderline obsessed with sports. I love to watch sports, play sports, train for sports and bring others to sport. Recently I've been gaining interest in sports I've never before followed. I've been playing indoor soccer with a guy from my ward and his work friends. While I'm not great, I hang in there and make some plays. Yesterday, I was watching Euro2008 and enjoying watching soccer, something my 5 years younger version of myself would have never believed. The Olympic trials were also on and I watched diving and gymnastics. I found myself very interested in both. And last week, with Tiger's knee ailing and Rocco Mediate finding a place in America's interest, golf was similarly engrossed.

Some of you probably know also that I'm a trainer, pursuing a career most specifically in human performance as it relates to athletes. Watching these high level athletes does two things for me: 1) it fills me with regret for never having seriously pursued sports (unless you include now, but I'm kind of past my time) and 2) it leaves me amazed and inspired by their pursuit of excellence. I will probably work someday with lower level athletes, either junior high/high school or college athletes. I want them to believe they can reach excellence with their abilities and work. Obviously, not all lower level athletes can or will become elite or professional athletes, but I would hate to see someone not try because what they perceive as "not-good-enough" talent levels. I like the Nike commercial where Michael Jordan is talking about his basketball game

Maybe it's my fault.
Maybe I led you to believe it was easy, when it wasn't.
Maybe I made you think my highlights started at the free throw line and not in the gym.
Maybe I made you think that every shot I took was a game-winner,
That my game was built on flash and not fire.
Maybe it's my fault that you didn't see that my failure gave me strength,
That my pain was my motivation.
Maybe I led you to believe that basketball was a God-given gift and not something I worked for every single day of my life.
Maybe I destroyed the game.
Or maybe you're just making excuses.

I think it's a powerful commercial. I wish all the kids out there realized how hard these athletes work to get where they are. I work out and train pretty regularly and pretty intensely and even I, who really am nothing in sports, hate it what people say things like, "Yeah, if I were as fit as you, I could dunk too." I want to work with kids and help them catch fire and understand the work required to pursue excellence in sport.

And even if they don't make it in sport, excellence in everything else is the same. You've got to push. I don't think anything just came easy to anyone who's at the top of their field, their discipline or their proverbial game. I wish this could have been instilled in me when I was young. I think people tried but they couldn't get through. Now it's my job to try to do it with all the young people I work with.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

We went to the drive in for Kelsey's birthday celebration a few Saturday's ago. Usually we are like the last ones there and we are driving through everybody trying to watch a movie and our lights are one and we are a major disturbance, plus we don't get a very good view! But this time was so awesome, we were like the 2nd car in the screen #3 lot! Mom always sets up a sweet view from the back of the van, we had lots of good candies, and the movie we saw was Indiana Jones.

Father's Day

Erica and Andrew came up from Provo for Father's Day on Sunday. We had dinner and I gave my Dad Dilly Bars from Dairy Queen! It was a fun night.

Monday, June 9, 2008

USA Weightlifting Sport Performance Coach

The Olympic Training Center
This past weekend I reached a milestone in my career (nothing like Ken Griffey, Jr. hitting 600 homeruns, but still, respectable). I participated in and completed USA Weightlifting's Sport Performance Coaching Course. USA Weightlifting is the organization that trains and develops the Olympic weightlifters. They offer courses in how to train these athletes and really it was amazing. I stayed there in Colorado Springs, CO from Wednesday night to Saturday afternoon. We were there with the Olympic hopefuls and were able to enjoy the facility.

The course essentially took us through basic, core lifts of Olympic weightlifting, assistance lifts, and jump and medicine ball training in order to help the athletes and clients we train to improve explosion, power, and functionality. It was broken up into lectures and practical portions. We spent most of the time in the practical portions working on the lifts ourselves, coaching each other and getting help from the instructors. We don't have an Olympic platform at the Sportsplex so it was cool to be able to just drop the weights from overhead without worrying about damaging the floor.

On Friday night while we were there we were able to go watch the Olympians train. Both the girls and the guys were so powerful and were lifting crazy weights. To give you somewhat of an idea (keep in mind I'm not particularly strong) everyone in there, both guys and girls, could lift more than me except the lightest girls, with whom I was about even. It really was a treat to watch them train and see how hard they work to get there. Olympic weightlifters train about 10-12 times a week for about 2 hours each session. They are strong and dedicated. It was amazing.

In one of our sessions, the guys' 105+kg lifter, Casey Burgener, and the girls' 63kg lifter, Natalie Woolfolk, came around and helped us correct and improve our technique. Casey can back squat more than 600lbs., clean and jerk around 490 lbs. and snatch close to 400 lbs. It was so cool of them to come to our little wimpy sessions and help us out. I learned so much and am really excited to work with this stuff both for myself and my clients.
The Olympic Torch, only it wasn't lit because, you know, Beijing and all
The Strength and Conditioning Room with platforms
The USA Weightlifting training room

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Memorable Memorial Day

One interesting aspect of starting this blog is that we are putting up some stories and entries almost in a retroactive fashion so this will probably be front loaded. That and the fact that today is Fast Sunday, meaning we need more distraction time, has allowed us to type quite a bit.

Last Monday, as it was Memorial Day, the tradition of waffles at Grandma and Grandpa Adams house and the a quick walk to the cemetery to refresh family history was in store. The morning was fun and, although it rained, the cemetery trip was as delightful as a trip to the cemetery can be (depending on your tolerance for light rain and old stories). My hands were cold so I invented a way to use my sweatshirt as a holder for the umbrella I was using so my hands could stay warm and my clothes relatively dry. The cemetery is close so we all walked and enjoyed a little spring rainfall.

Afterwards we were all headed to soccer games featuring Marianne's brother and cousin, Clark and Dallin (Landon was injured), respectively, that afternoon. Marianne, her mom, her sister Erica, Erica's boyfriend Andrew and I got into the van to head out. In front of the house there is a semicircle driveway and Marianne's mom had come in one way and another car was parked in the driveway so we would have to back out. Not a big deal, backing out is a part of life. As Marianne's mom began to back out, her phone was passed up to her and distracted her. The curve in the semicircle driveway turned more sharply than her memory recalled. Grandpa Adams had been working on the water pipe stuff in the front yard and so there was a pretty large hole in the ground. As luck would have it, we backed directly into that hole.

At that moment, we realized that we had backed out onto the lawn. The hole was muddy and we could moved forward back through the lawn the way we had come. We ought to have gotten out to see where we were and if our way was blocked or otherwise obstructed. We were already late for the game so that thought, if it came into our mind, was immediately dismissed. We said, "Just keep going back." As she did, we broke free of the hole and the lawn and we headed toward the street. As the front tires passed over the lawn to the sidewalk, an enormous fountain of water began to shoot from the ground. We hurriedly escaped the car and saw the result of our path of destruction: we'd broken a hose faucet on the front lawn.

I knew that water can be turned off with handy little levers and found the underground access point. I turned one lever, nothing. Another. Nothing. The third. Nothing. And that was the extent of levers I had found. I could do nothing but watch as the water sprayed uncontrolled about 15 feet high. Meanwhile, Marianne had gone inside and said, "Grandpa, my mom ran over something and it's spraying a LOT!" Everyone came out and Grandpa Adams knew that the house next door had built onto their property and so the main water valve lever was under a rock on their side. Andrew smartly grabbed the green-plastic-underground-water-lever cover to shield the furiously pressurized water while Grandpa Adams closed the valve. He was soaked. Just the PVC had broken and seemed to be easily repaired. But we had quite an adventurous Memorial Day.

Chris' invention, no hands!

Gug, Andrew, and Grandma Adams

The Fountain

Grandpa the Hero

Good Memory

Spring Cleaning!

Yesterday I (Marianne) felt very motivated to do a little spring cleaning. I took the curtains off all of our windows and let some light in! It was great. I also cleaned out all the bugs and grossness of the windows. It's nice to actually be able to see outside from down here in the basement. I'm certainly not in a position to complain about our current living situation, but at an uncertain future time, I am definitely looking forward to being on ground level and being able to enjoy the outside sunshine.

How do people do it?

First off, we are aware that this blog won't be incredibly interesting until we have a child that people wonder about. Yesterday, I (Chris) worked a pro-style football combine at the Sportsplex in Kaysville. One of the other workers came up to me and said that a kid from Layton High died and it was of dehydration and heat stroke but I just read the story and it doesn't appear that that was the case. The medical personnel think it was something with his heart. I was going to furiously type about that but as it didn't happen, my anger over the event is none. It did get me thinking about starting a blog. It seemed kind of fun.

I will, however, talk about this. Young married couples that we know are having children and buying houses and cars and generally doing things we don't feel secure enough to do. They don't seem to have high paying jobs or mammoth inheritances. We live in Marianne's grandma's basement and get a lot of stuff free of charge (Marianne's dad pays her tuition) and still don't feel very secure. My job is kind of hit and miss with clients and how many hours I can work and Marianne works as much as she can but school and the need for breaks take over some of that time. So my question is: How do those young couples do it? What sacrifices are they making to make that work? We want children but it does seem sometimes that it would be so hard. I don't know.