Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On Disappointment: Dealing with Selections

Eric Rush and I at Hong Kong Sevens

How have you dealt with setbacks in your rugby career in terms of injuries/selection disappointments?

Previously I wrote about dealing with injuries. I've been thinking about the selections aspect for some time. I've considered disappointments in terms of: not getting selected for tours/territorial teams, not playing on tours, playing a position other than the one I want.

The whistle blew. The final ended early and I would not get a chance to take the field. After the game and half a world a way, I was in the stall of a the women’s bathroom sobbing. I can recall the compassionate looks of the female workers as I emerged from the bathroom. We spoke different languages, yet they could sense something was wrong.

The day after the final, I saw an interview on CNN with Eric Rush, the Kiwi 7’s specialist. He talked about his experiences growing up playing rugby in New Zealand and was just as candid about disappointments and non selections as he was about his successes. His friends made age grade select teams earlier than he did. When he finally made his first select side team his father reminded him, “ It’s only one man’s opinion.” As great as it was to make that team this time around, someone else or even the same coach could have a differing opinion down the road. Listening to the interview was comforting. The next day I met and got to speak Eric Rush.

After that tour, I took several months off of rugby. Seeking answers I eventually called the coach to put some closure on that experience. In extreme cases, I have dealt with my disappointment by taking time off and taking stock of what I want from rugby. From that experience, I decided that if I were to play it had to be for the love of the game, first and foremost.

I have only taken time off in extreme cases. Otherwise, I generally deal with my selection concerns by talking to coaches and selectors. I want to know what they're seeing and thinking especially if there's something technical that I can work on. Often I find it's difficult to change others opinions. So the best way for me to deal is to just play.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Today I thought about the "Q" word. At the gym, there was the grey haired man on the treadmill and the twentysomething practicing left handed layups. In the yoga room, I could hear the clock ticking. I was feeling the pressure. Little Rock camp is 3 weeks away and I don't feel ready. On top of this, I've been fighting with my insurance about physical therapy visits. Matt, my PT, told me to stop running, prescribing the pool as a substitute. Since I haven't seen him since early December I'm not sure if I should start running again. I don't feel pool workouts are enough. Any running test, bleep or ten 100's, sounds especially dreadful.

Fitness, aside, I got to thinking about money. For a decade, I've been fundraising for rugby. Raffle tickets, raffle tickets, program ads, more raffle tickets, now calendars. What are the Men's National Team (MNT) players selling? I am fortunate and have worked hard to be in the current pool. As a benefactor, I've witnessed the improved funding of the Women's National Team since 2001. Emil, Al, Jules, and others have worked tirelessly to this end. Although, this WNT program may be the most funded in USA Rugby history, I still feel a burden of sorts. If I don't sell calendars how will I be affected? What does this say about my commitment to the program? Will there ever be a day when a woman can just train?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Due to a stop work order, the regular pub quiz spot on Smith Street was closed. This left X, Thunder Laura and I to seek out dry shelter on a rainy night in Brooklyn . Comforted by warmth, food, and drink, we entertained ourselves. I was gifted a wig which Santa left on her rounds the previous Saturday. We made up our own questions learning that geography is not X's strong suit. We watched busboys having snow fights. And the topic turned to the nickname question which became a focal point.

In the back room of a restaurant bar on 4th Avenue the Ty breaker was decided. Of the 15 plus contenders, Tynamite and Thunder Tys remained. Personally, I was leaning towards Tynamite. X and Laura disagreed as did the the Brazilian patron who chose Thunder Tys. When the names were boomed from deep within my lungs there was no doubt. Thunderrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Tys claimed victory over Tynamite.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My favorite Kooga Blues

Today I met a guy at the gym.
He asked if I play rugby.

Me: "Yes."
Guy: "For NYM?"
Me: "No, that's our men's team. I play for New York. How did you know?"
Guy: "Kooga."

Kooga, of course. Shouldn't every random Joe at the gym draw the connection between Kooga and rugby? I was sporting a familiar uniform, a heather grey hoodie with blue warm up pants, that read "Kooga" down the side of my leg. That was the only visible article of clothing that gave it away.
Their tagline is "Made for Rugby." It says so right on my pants. He did pull out the "NYM"* reference, which most New Yorkers would have no clue about. Apparently he knows Molly Dengler, a New York hooker, who's played every position in the scrum. For such a big city this goes to show New York can be a small world. Going to the gym this morning I certainly did not expect to meet someone who knows Molly. Who would have thunk it? Now if only I could find Gusty Ehrlich. Anyone know Gusty?

*NYM =New York-Manhattan

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thank God it's Monday

I blogged about TGIM two weeks ago. I'm really happy it's Monday. December has been a busy month for me with three weekends in a row of holiday markets and weeks of prepping. And it's finally over. This morning I woke up tired from the constant going, yet relieved because I can take a breather. Last week, I had the best of intentions of blogging once a day. But that didn't happen. There are quite a few things I want to share with you. But before I get too carried away, I'm going to the gym so I can cross working out off of my list. Signing off for now, but I promise I'll be back soon. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

Swimming in a sauna is NOT recommended

Steam rising from the over heated pool

The "D"amn fast train was darn slow this morning. So I arrived at the gym a little later than I wanted to. Lifting and plyos were on the menu. But I really wanted to go swimming. The pool has set morning hours for adults and they would end before I completed my lifting workout. Instead of rushing through lifting I opted for a swimming workout.

"This feels like a hot spring," said one swimmer as he tested the water with his hand. The pool which is normally 82 degrees read a whopping 92 on the thermometer. Who knew that 10 degrees could make such a difference? Apparently someone left the heat on over night. The life guard warned me prior to getting in, "It's warm." I thought that won't be a problem. I'm a wuss about cold water. Don't like it. Although, I'm usually right, LOL, the life guard was right in this instance. The water was WARM, a bit much when you factor in body heat. But that didn't stop me. I got my swim on in the slow lane, of which I am a serial occupant. It's where I can use the kick board, do the breast stroke, and it's the only lane where I can run. At that time of the morning I'm usally the only one in it. On occassion there's an older gentleman who splashes everywhere, always gets water in my face as his arm comes up and over to complete the crawl stroke. But really I can't complain as it's one of the least populated places in New York City during the morning rush hour.

According to the life guard, it will take a day for the pool to cool down to normal temps. I'm not looking for a repeat of sauna like temperatures. I hope it's back to the normal 82 degrees on my next visit.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Many people are waking up today thinking "thank God it's Friday." I woke up thinking "Shit, it's Friday," while feeling slightly run down. A long list of things to do ran through my mind. With two fairs this weekend, I spent the week adding to my inventory, screen printing t-shirts and labels among other things. I wanted to have more zipper bags on hand, but I haven't even touched my sewing machine this week. Oh well. Last night I managed to cook a real meal, pasta with sauteed vegetables. That was exciting! By default, I spent precious time making calls to my PT office and insurance company. After the phone calls which didn't resolve my issue, I received some good news from the insurance company in the form of a letter. They denied my claim, but the good news is that I can go through an expedited appeal which will take 2 days instead of 30. In 30 days or so, it will be time for National camp. Ideally, I'll have PT before then. Today's SAQ/Lift session will be abbreviated, but I'm pleased that I got all of my workouts in this week. Foam rolling before workouts. Brilliant. Why haven't I done this before?
As expected my next three days will be long. Hopefully, the weekend will be full of sales and at least one interesting Amy Sedaris story. My booth at Sunday's Craftacular is across from hers. Looking forward to TGIM.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Apartment Therapy Holiday Giveaway

One of my Red Bridge Studio pillows was selected as part of the annual Apartment Therapy Holiday Giveaway. AT selected 101 products from some big names in the design community including Martha Stewart, Williams-Sonoma, Thomas O'Brien, and Pottery Barn. I'm proud that one of my products was chosen. Submissions for today's items open between 12:00pm and 2:00pm.

And the winner is................

I need a Ty-breaker. There was no clear winner. "Tynamite" and "Thunder Tys" remain in a dead heat. So how do I decide? I could imagine what they sound like over a P.A. system or come up with some other deciding factors. Will mull this over in between printings. Feel free to chime in.

Thanks to everyone who voted.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Last day to VOTE!

Some did not have a chance.
(Chicken) Pad Ty
Ty Thunder
Ty-ouch my Body
Macho Ty Randy Savage
Outlaw Dog
Ton of Smackdowns
I'll Make Yo
u Crazy
Tysh Your A*

Though not serious contenders some garnered marginal votes.
Angry Ty Taco
Ty-rannasaurus Rex
Yes Ty Can
Your Mom
Ty Pung Pow
Starship Destroy

But here are the contenders. As it stands two options are in a statistical dead heat, with a third close behind. So what should it be????
Thunder Tys

While The Bushwick Three have weighed in on the matter on how to resolve in the event of a tie, I’m holding out that a clear winner will emerge. Get your
vote in!

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's Monday morning and I'm tired. I'm sporting my uniform of choice, Kooga blue warm ups with my new favorite long sleeve t-shirt, NY 7's 50th Annual. I just caught the "D"amnfast to the city (aka Manhattan) and I didn't even have to wait. I'm heading to the gym for a workout out. With the start of week four, in the latest fitness program, I'm at the point in this cycle where "routine" sets in. When I wake up in the mornings I have the mental and physical expectation that I'm going to the gym or going to do a workout. I find it easier to work out consistently and maintain a routine than starting, stopping, and starting up again. When I miss workouts I struggle to find my stride. My motivations wanes and then I play head games with myself to get going again. For this reason, I try not to miss work outs.

At times I can not help it and have to reschedule trainings due to work. In the case of December, Saturday is a selling day. This month I'm vending at holiday markets every weekend leading up to Christmas. I kicked off my first one last Saturday at the
Knitting Factory, a music performance space turned into a one day shopping wonderland. There were a few familiar rugby faces in the crowd, Kat and friends and JD and her mom stopped by. Thanks for visiting. I spotted NYRC alumn Jen Epstein who was doing some holiday shopping. This coming weekend, I have two events, one Saturday, one Sunday. What was I thinking? Before booking the second event I thought, Santacon sounds like fun, but I'd rather make money. So I have a local school fair on Saturday followed by the big one the next day. I'll be at the Bust Holiday Craftacular. The name may sound funny, but with over 200 vendors, people apparently line up around the block to get in. This will be the largest market I've participated in to date. I had several sleepless nights last week preparing for the Knitting Factory event. I expect more this week too.

With the expectation of long work days, I find I'm eager to do my workouts, for the reasons mentioned earlier. More rest coupled with better food would help my cause. But I'm hoping the training will somehow boost my immune system to keep me going through the holiday work season.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cast your Vote

It's not American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. No hanging chads here. Your vote is important and will be counted!

As a citizen of the world, I implore you to exercise your right to have some levity in your life or at least add some to mine. So please
vote for your favorite professional wrestling name fitting of my style and personality. One Vote.
Your choices are:

(Chicken) Pad Ty
Angry Ty Taco

Ty Thunder

Ty-rannasaurus Rex



Yes Ty Can

Ty-ouch my Body


Macho Ty Randy Savage
Your Mom
Thunder Tys

Ty Pung Pow
Outlaw Dog
Starship Destroyer
Ton of Smackdowns
I'll Make You Crazy
Tysh Your A**

Thank you to everyone who submitted a name.
Voting closes 12/9/2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Question of the Week: On Disappointment

Sometime ago I asked a few teammates, readers of the blog, to submit questions. If they could ask three questions what would they want to know. In reading over them recently, one seemed particularly fitting.

How have you dealt with setbacks in your rugby career in terms of injuries/selection disappointments?

For the past 12 plus years, I've played rugby with a hiatus or two mixed in. During this time, I've played at the club, territorial, and national team level. I have experienced hi's and lows playing at all these levels.

With regards to injuries, I've been pretty lucky- knock on wood. Most of my injuries have been relatively minor. The last time I missed a game due to injury was in 2001. It was the national semi-final Berkeley vs. New York. I was playing for Berkeley at the time. As Truehart harassed me from the sidelines, I collided with a New York player going into touch. Took a hit on my knee suffering an exploded bursa sac. I was out for the final.

Honestly, I have not experienced a major injury that has sidelined me for an extended period of time. At the club or TU level, I've played with injuries. The only times "injury" has been a setback, at the national level, decisions not to play me were based on medical opinion.

The most recent injury was a hamstring pull. It kept me from the recent 7's tour to Dubai. I felt I could have played, but that decision was not mine. So instead I played at the 50th Annual New York Sevens. And we, NYRC, were victorious! More on that including photos-hint hint- later. 

I could write at length on dealing with disappointments on selections. But you'll have to wait for part two.