It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with you guys here at The Pro-File. My profound apologies.
The end of season is always a crazy busy time no matter how you prepare for it. There are do-or-die type games and the fatigue that comes at the end of season after months of grueling physical and mental exertion. Outside of basketball, there’s the stress that comes with packing up your apartment and organizing your return next fall. And, of course, there’s the decision of whether you will stay with your current team or move on to a new team for the following season.
I’m glad all that’s over with for now!
After season I had a few weeks to spend with my loved ones and catch up on what we missed during our months of separation. I explored Prague and Russia for a few weeks before returning home to Canada just in time for my birthday. That was a special treat because I don’t remember the last time I was at home to spend my birthday with my family.
Now, however, it’s back to business! Training camp started with the national team about a week into May and it’s like we never left. Edmonton, Alberta is starting to become a bit of a second home considering the team spends most of our summer training here. It’s a HUGE summer for us. First, the Pan American games are taking place in Toronto, Ontario in July. I know the Ontarian athletes are especially excited about this tournament as we rarely play at home and this is so convenient for our family and friends to attend. Second, and even more important, is the Olympic qualification tournament in Edmonton, Alberta in August. As the name suggests, the winner of this tournament receives a berth to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is what we have been working toward these past three years since the London Olympics. The pressure is on and we’re ready to rise to the occasion!
As we move through the summer, I’ll be updating you with our progress as a team. I believe some of my teammates who write for The Pro-File will be doing so as well. So, plenty of updates to come! On that note, as a professional athlete who works with coaches, teammates and support staff, I sometimes find it difficult to share some day-to-day details as most of what I do is connected to a web of people who support my journey as an athlete. Casual comments about a “hard day at work” can be taken the wrong way or, worse yet, be taken the correct way but shouldn’t have been there to be read in the first place. I’ve found that a useful tactic for most social media posting is less “insta” moments and more reflective commentary. In the world of sports, as in a business workplace environment, there is lots of hard work, frustration, physical exhaustion, high tension and pressure that comes along with the job description (especially in important moments). Sometimes, in the moment, your head is not always in the place it needs to be. That’s the moment when you need to step back, center, and re-focus.
Throughout this summer, I – and I’m sure many of those around me, although I can’t speak for them – will be doing exactly this. In the face of large expectations and high pressure situations, I’ve found the best thing to do is simply BREATHE. To paraphrase what our brilliant and well-respected sports psychologist, Dr. Peter Jensen, said recently in a team meeting, we need to act like we have all the time in the world and that is when we will find the time we seek. Similarly, if you’re stressed, pressured or frustrated, ACT AS IF you aren’t, and you’ll find that your mind and body tend to fall in alignment with this thought. Amazing. Guess that adage that I picked up in college while running innumerable sprints then heading into a 3-hour practice was true: Fake it till you make it. Although I prefer the sound of “Speak it into Existence”. Here’s to a wonderful week of finding that inner strength and facing down overwhelming circumstances at work or in your personal life.