Wednesday, 12 March 2014
ATHLETES, GALLY AND THE FIRES BURNING WITHIN!
I am sitting here this morning in the quiet and dark thinking through my day and pondering the next few days. My thoughts are centered around workouts, hunting for some items for the Tour Divide, the weather (I want to get out on the bike today for a few hours!!), and family scheduling. My thoughts normally always revolve around three things: family, fitness, and hockey and all three are always a big part of everyday when off from work (March Break!!).
I had an awesome lunch meeting with a former player and good friend Blake Gallagher (Gally) yesterday. Blake is a recent grad of Cornell University where he played four years of College Hockey. Since that time he has played some pro hockey in Europe and is likely near the end of his playing days travelling to Newfoundland on weekends to play senior hockey there. He tried coaching at Dalhousie but couldn't get comfortable with it because it placed him on the wrong side off the ice and he was not ready to stop competing. There is no question that Blake is simply one of the most intense athletes I have ever coached or come in contact with. His hunger is contagious!
Blake noted that his competitive energy is higher than ever and he has realized that hockey is coming to an end for him. Fortunately his unbelievable drive, determination, and life-long focus on peak performance has led him into a state of being extremely physically fit. Blake is an elite athlete in every sense of the word - he eats, sleeps, drinks, and trains to be the best he can be and to push himself beyond perceived limitations.
You can't take that need for adrenaline and challenge out of the competitive elite athlete! Blake is now totally immersed in the world of CrossFit. He has taught himself, with the aid of great trainers, the techniques required to compete at a National level with the goal of qualifying for the World Championships in California. He has the hunger and passion to get there and I believe he will. Blake is presently amongst the top in Canada and is only a 'rookie' in the early stages of his development.
You can't take the elite athlete out of the person even after their competitive playing days are done! There is always a need for challenge and adversity. When I stopped playing University hockey I started coaching right away and drove my passion forward into that. I still needed to have something personal to challenge myself with, that is when I dove head first into Triathlon. Hockey player, meat-head, gym rat, bench pressing 315lbs, who sinks like a boulder in the water meets ultra-distance races that start with a swim and ends with a marathon....nice fit!! It turned out to be the extraordinary challenge I needed to feed the fires within.
The next challenge is only a few short months away...the fires are still burning!