I was heading out in the dark, pouring rain this morning by 7am, as my Dad’s face portrayed wonderment, asking me where I was going at such an early hour.
Normally the thought of being in the cold, pelting Vancouver rain, before most people are eating their Cheerios, wouldn’t really appeal to me, but I had a session with my physio, Randy Celebrini. To get a better idea of how my broken body and subsequent physio trips have helped me evolve as a person over the last decade I have gone to see him, check out this article I wrote in the Province Newspaper last year that pretty much sums up how much he has helped me on and off the field: Click Here . His mentorship and what he has taught me on the physio field, and what it’s done for me in real life, is what I aspire to be to the kids that I am fortunate enough to work with.
So this morning, we were out at the field at the crack of dawn, my 5th session with him since I got home last week, as I try to get rid of some nasty scar tissue that has stuck around in my left foot since I had a traumatic foot injury last summer playing for the New England Mutiny.
In the meantime, I have been busy since I touched down, organizing the Western Canada Soccer Showcase, and all the events around it including a Charity Gala, the Canadian World University Games training camp and the Our Game Magazine Symposium. Needless to say its been busy and a constant challenge to choose to use my energy towards positive things, and focusing very intently on the process of making sure we execute 4 very successful events next weekend.
It’s funny because as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really realized, how much the lessons we learn in sport allow us to succeed in life; namely the biggest thing I wish I learned sooner is that the most important thing to focus on is the process and therefore controlling what you can, and not getting sidetracked by other things, other people or any kind of negativity. If you can do that, the outcome takes care of itself, usually in a far better way than obsessing over it will do.
Which brings me back to this morning and this beautiful criss-cross of life and soccer and physio with Randy. Randy is all about technique, and since technique is the first thing that slides with me once I start getting tired (hello, injuries!), immediately after he had me do some running and then put me on the line to knock a ball back and forth, my one touch passing with him started to slide. After a couple of bad passes he told me to “get in tabletop” Randy-lingo for the punishment of holding a plank. So as I planked in the rain, listening to myself breathing hard and staring at the little specs of black rubber that was lying in the turf I started to get annoyed with myself that I couldn’t hit a 10 yard pass with my legs tired. So sure enough I got up on his command and started knocking the ball back and forth again, and this time missed him by 10 yards wide. After chasing down the ball myself, and bringing it back, I was sent back into my “tabletop” punishment, and Randy started to lay into me for my bad technique, tendency to get frustrated and my lack of focus once I started to tire.
So as I felt the rain pelting me once again and checked out the little black rubber specs once more, I hopped up and this time, instead of focusing on the fact that I was tired, or getting frustrated at how un-perfect my passes were, or annoyed by the rain or the fact it was 8am and I was tired, I just focused on my footwork, the ball, and my core, and sure enough I got the result that I wanted, I got my feel on the ball and at the end of it was knocking perfect passes into Randy’s feet, to which I got his equivalent of a trophy at the end of it: a fist bump with a gruff, “good job Key”.
Later in the day today, as I was trying to get all the events together for the Showcase weekend I found myself getting tired, frustrated and focusing on things and people outside of my control and snapping at people who are the good ones in my life. And then getting frustrated some more.
And I drew to the lesson I learned this morning at physio with Randy, when I thought about the differences between focusing on a) the outcome instead of the process and b) getting frustrated by things outside of my control instead of focusing on what I could control. Just like this morning I got up, started over and focused on doing everything in the process to the best of my ability and trusted that the outcome would take care of itself.
Some bad habits are hard to break, and sometimes I feel like I need to hire a watchdog for my mind, but I am grateful for the lessons that I’ve learned in the quest to become a better athlete and how that has influenced my evolution as a human being.