Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Do Something Interesting

(photos of sprained wrist, sprained thumb, popped blood vessels, and a double tackle below) 
I love rugby; I think that most of you know this.  I have dedicated every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon along with Saturday mornings for practice; most Tuesday and Thursday mornings for weight training; and virtually half of all my weekends to games and traveling during season for the past 4 years to my team.  By very rough calculations, including travel and presidential duties, I estimate that that comes to approximately 1700 hours.  Wow.  Making minimum wage, that comes to over thirteen and a half thousand dollars.  If I had cheap housing, that would have been enough to pay for my tuition and rent for four years of Fall and Winter semesters!  Time is money, after all.  (I guess that’s why most college teams can justify giving their athletes free tuition- they demand a TON of time from them to represent their school.  Although, I really respect Harvard for not letting athletes on their football team who were not academically admitted to the University.  It is only fair that someone getting a free education actually deserves it!  Giving the spot of a hard-working and bright student to some fat meathead who will only pass his classes because of athlete favoritism is not fair and tarnishes the reputation of the degree he will be given without actually being up to par.  Boo to football!  But I digress…)  But that doesn’t matter to me nearly as much as the things I have gained by being a college athlete.


The BYU women’s team is really unique in several ways.  For one, we are all members of the LDS faith and this is manifested in many activities that other teams just do not have.  We pray together before every game and after every practice.  When we are on the road, we have devotionals where we sing a hymn and have a spiritual thought every morning.  We occasionally have team fasts.  We meet up with each other at Stake Conferences and sit together to listen to our church leadership instruct us.  We even invite one another to come to the temple.  We bond together through our common gospel values and this brings us together more than anything.  We see each other at our best, crying with joy and we say a prayer of gratitude after a successful game that means advancing to the quarter finals, and at our worst, stumbling as we attempt to run up the hill near the field for the tenth time with a teammate on our back, or getting taken out of a game, dazed, with a new concussion.  We experience everything together and see each other nearly everyday.  It is obvious why I miss them so much.


We also are not a sponsored Varsity team.  Meaning, we don’t get University funding.  No scholarships.  No monthly discretionary funds like the football team.  No new Nikes every month.  No BYU equipment without a pricetag.  We largely pay our own way.  Fortunately, we had a gracious donor help us with warm-ups and other travel gear and the National Guard gave us new uniforms and field equipment- we count those as major blessings.  The rest is up to us, either out of pocket or through our fundraising efforts {see to make a donation}.  The result?  We REALLY want it.  We work for this team, we fight for this team, we put our money where our mouth is.  Other teams we played against got to travel to Europe to play games, while we are still paying off our trip to Florida for the finals.  This perpetual fight for respect and legitimacy has given us determination, heart, and unbeatable cameraderie.


I also got a few other things from being on this team that were somewhat less pleasant. Besides the fact that I actually had to wear a walking boot over my broken foot at graduation, I have a lengthy history of injuries, that is actually mild in comparison to many of my teammates.  I have made a similar list of said injuries before (I think it was only my second blog post back in the day, but it has a photo of my neck X-ray and black eye if you want to check it out!), and now I want to conclude it:

-cracked rib

-massive black eye

-100s, possibly 1000s of bruises

-torn ligaments all over the top of my foot requiring years of PT

-cervical spine reversal (yeah, bad)

-3 lost toenails

-one VERY dead leg

-tendonitis in my shoulder

-bersitis in my shoulder

-impingement in my shoulder

-2 sprained wrists

-neck soreness ALL the time

-popped blood vessels all along my shoulders and upper back, regularly

-2 thumbs on the verge of dislocation, requiring lots of tape

-1 partially ripped off thumb nail

-2 inch scar under my forearm

-3 scars across my knees

-some awful blood blisters, and regular ones too

-supposedly a hairline fracture on my right foot

-sprains and strains all over my right foot

-and on & on & on


That was fun.  Dear parents of the world, take note- this list seems daunting, even abusive.  And yet in the process, I have made the best of friends, been able to travel all over the country, built my confidence, increased my fitness, expanded myself culturally, and helped define me as I grew through my college years.  Your kids may express a desire to do things that, frankly, scare you.  Tae Kwon Do, wrestling, fencing, rugby…but I would ask you to not get hung up on the stereotypes (everyone thinks that rugby players are beastly 300 pound aggressive man-eating Lesbians- not entirely true), but think of what they can gain.  If you want your kids (or yourself!) to learn new skills, be healthy, and develop team player qualities, then you might as well let them do something that they want to do so they don’t get burned out and decide that channel surfing must be the only sport for them.  No one wants that.


Take home message: go for it!  I have scared my parents many a time with sports injuries, traveling to Palestine while terrorist acts were occurring frequently, SCUBA diving with amateurs in another hemisphere, and so forth and I am nothing but better for it!  Try something new today- everyone needs a hobby!  Don’t let the mundane dominate your life; be that lone white girl in hula class, take that trip that you’ve always wanted, study that language you are curious about, paint your room that crazy color!


Keep it real.   


Ariel said...

woot woot! yay for doing interesting things!!!

Chelsey said...

That's some mighty good advice!! Haha and I loved the part about being the white girl in a hula class. :)

Betsy said...

So, I was just catching up and I've read this post before... but in looking at the photos- I think a girl is removing a wedgie in the picture where you're pointing at your thumb... check it out- it totally cracked me up! :)