Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Life after Rugby: Working Out

Working out has been an intergral part of my rugby career. It has required a commitment of time as well as physical energy. To my surprise I have continued working out since returning from camp. Now,I'm even running. And I feel great! Honestly I will not miss two a days. Recently, my trainings have felt liberating. Maybe it's due to not thinking about fitness testing. I think I've also continued working out because it's easier for me to keep going than to stop and start all over again. Secretly, the vain part of me fears packing on pounds.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Moving on: Life after Rugby

Yesterday I had my final visit with my PT, Matt. Knowing I was away for try outs, his first question was "So, how'd it go?" "I didn't make it." It wasn't so bad telling Matt maybe because I readied myself for it. I'd been working with him since last August, so I knew he'd want to know. On my way out another therapist inquired too. "I didn't make it," I told her. Part of her response, "there's next time," struck a nerve.

I don't belive there will be a next time. My belief is never say never. But as far as playing international rugby for the US, I'm pretty certain that I will not have this opportunity again. In part, I'm ready for new challenges, experiences, and spending quality time with friends and family away from a rugby pitch.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's been a busy week. I arrived home from Little Rock early Monday morning. Then I headed to Washington DC for the Inauguration that afternoon. Back home and catching up. Admittedly, I'm winding down this blog. But hope to post again next week.

Monday, January 19, 2009

World Cup

My world cup dream is officially over. Best of luck to all who make residency and ultimately get to represent the USA.

signing off


BTW SAD- just finished your hat this morning.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

National Camp: Day 2

Just back from a day at the land aka The Greater Little Rock Rugby Complex. The first thing I noticed was the unusual number of cars in the lot. There were quite a few people out, including some familiar faces like Wilma and Brian of the Little Rock Rugby Club. There were also a few dogs running around, including Sheila, Zoe, Tasha all belonging to the sevens contigent.

We were there all day, having a morning and afternoon session. This morning we had ball handling and tackling assessments followed by the the Samoa tackling drill. Most of us had a lunch break inside, in the warm temperatures. Daniela, who arrived yesterday, got to do her fitness testing today. Sinkler said D had a four minute break following her testing, a banana and then rejoined the group for the afternoon session.

During the afternoon, we had set play scenarios, scrums, line outs, and kick offs from which we moved onto open field play. With fitness and skills testing done, it's nice to start putting the game together. That's what tomorrow will be all about: time to put it all together and play with each other.

Mixed Emotions about Testing

How do you think they're feeling?

Kirsten, Kitt, and Flatemen

Amy, Ines, and Teena


Friday, January 16, 2009

During the Bleep test

Today was the first day of National Camp in Little Rock. Earlier, we had morning testing, followed by lunch back at our hotel. This afternoon we took over a boys locker room at a local Christian school. We used the school’s track for the running portion of fitness testing. If you’ve spent anytime around me you know I have a penchant for talking to myself even in the company of others. The following conversation took place while running the bleep test.

Me to SBJ: You're awesome!
SBJ to Me: You're awesome!
Sinkler to SBJ: I don't think she is talking to you
SBJ to Sinkler: No, she is talking to me.

Little Rock Camp: Day 1

Greetings from Little Rock. The New York contigency that flew out of EWR made it safely. Sitting at Newark yesterday afternoon, I was thinking LaGuardia would have been so much more convient. Upon landing in Houston, I heard about the US Airways flight that landed in the Hudson. Most players made it last night. Daniela apparently was due to fly out of LaGuardia yesterday afternoon and will join us later today.

This morning, Group 2, had a quick dip in the pool followed by a nice breakfast. Group 1 started earlier at 6:30am. They should be on their way back to the hotel now, as Group 2 readies to leave for our first round of testing. Pull ups, juggling, vertical leap are some of the items on the menu. Following lunch both groups will go to the track for the running portion: 10m, 40m, bleep test, ten 100's.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Back with the kids

During the 2007-2008 academic year, I worked for Play Rugby USA introducing flag rugby to kids in New York City Public Schools. This year I got my first assignment at a middle school in Queens. My first foray back into to the gym made me realize that I miss this. In my current program ,I am partnered with a teacher, Ms. G who teaches rugby several days a week when I'm not there. Every other week, I serve as a mentor working with her and the students to learn the game. A goal is to get the kids learning and playing flag rugby so that they can compete against other schools in a championship event in March.

Ms. G introduced the game to the kids on Monday. They were happy to share their knowlegdge with me. Apparently, they saw some inspiring video clips of tackle rugby.

Teaching lateral/backwards passing is one of the most challenging concepts to introduce in the US. It's not a prevalent concept in major American sports. Ms. G is eager to get them passing laterally. So we try a three on three game. The kids shake their heads "yes," they understand they're supposed to pass backwards, then look at me funny when the starting whistle blows. That's Ok. They're energy is infectious. I'm excited about introducing this game I love to a new generation.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Jugglers during New York City Marathon, 2008

The New York City Marathon brings out all sorts of participants: your elite marathoners, wheel chair competitors, a heart transplant recipient, cancer survivors, FDNY etc. Last year, I noticed several jugglers in the field. There have probably been jugglers participating for a while. I'm sure I just happen to notice them because juggling is one of the skills players will be tested on at this weekend's camp.

At my gym, there happens to be a juggling class. Last fall, Flatemen happened upon it one Thursday before practice. I had the best of intentions of attending. But it didn't exactly work out. I did make it to one session, where I met Kyle, the red head juggler, kitted in a Mets Orange and Blue jersey. He tried to help quickly advancing me from one to two to three balls. Though he was supportive, offering constructive comments, this was a humbling experience. If all that is required is that I toss and catch two balls with varying rhythm and little synchronicity then I can be hailed a success. Throw in a third ball and it all goes down hill.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Preparing for Camp

Two days until I leave for Little Rock. The first sevens camp, I attended was in New Orleans in 1999. This year marks my eighth January sevens camp, which usually falls the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. day. So many camps later and I still get nervous. I had a great pool work out this morning, part of which I spent visualizing. Got Sadeana's email with packing and room lists. Last weekend I actually set some of my kit aside in anticipation of having to pack. The Khaki pants throw me. You'd think by now, I know that I should own a pair. But I don't. At least, I have the next day to find something that resembles khaki pants. I get to add rucking pads to my list of things to bring. As I think about this I should move them closer to the door so that I actually remember to bring them.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Expedite: to speed up the process

I reread my post from December 12. According to that, on December 11, I called my insurance to begin an expedited appeal regarding physical therapy visits. In theory, a patient is supposed to receive an answer regarding such an appeal within two days. Well nearly a month, twenty to thirty something calls, some of which contained copious tears of frustration mixed with a few expletives, and hundreds of minutes on my phone plan later, I finally got approved for visits TODAY, exactly one week before I leave for camp. Tuesday I called atleast four times. There was no crying that day. Today, Boris, a resolutions specialist, called and left a message. Eager to speak to him, I called him back. Well beyond the midway point of our conversation Boris said he hoped to have an answer for me by January 15. And that's when I lost it. The date was a trigger. "Boris, January 15 is too late. I go to Little Rock on January 15!" Boris couldn't get off the phone fast enough.

While in the middle of another call with a customer service representative from my insurance, Amy, another resolution specialist called. She was the one person who I could get on the phone over the last two weeks, a saving grace. Although it came a lot later than I wanted, she had an answer for me. I finally received authorization for visits.

I wanted a quick answer. I opted for the expedited appeal vs the 30 day so that I could get treatment well in advance of camp. The process was supposed to be prompt. So much for that plan. I figure this is all a big joke. As much as I "plan," there's always something out of my control. Guess that's just life.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2008: Year in Review

2008 was a pretty good year!

After a 2 year absence, I attended the
December 2007 and January 2008 camps

Stacy, Me, and Phaidra on lunch break during January camp

Represented the US at San Diego Sevens
Drove SBJ & Teena to Cold Stone Creamery before closing

Alison, Amy, Ellie, Christy, and SBJ before San Diego banquet

First time at Hong Kong Sevens since 2002
Played in Final at Hong Kong Stadium
Celebrated my birthday in South Stand
dressed as French Maid

Sightseeing at the Peak
Ellie, Ines, Amy, Me, Mike, Christy, and Teena

After the Final
Christy, Ellie, me, Teena, Amy, Pam, Kelly, Ines, Alison, and Sadeana

Started second 4 week peaking work out program
Worked with NYRC U-19s

New York U-19 girls, Big Apple Classic Champions

Represented the US at Amsterdam Sevens
Walked by the Osdorp windmill everyday while on tour
Started blogging in Amsterdam
Traded for clogs and jackets

USA v Brazil, Melissa on attack

Jess and Jenn as Brazilians

June, July, August
Summer of "Beefcake"
Played with the NRU
Coached NYRC u-19

Hanging with the horses during a weekend with the NRU

Recovery: Alison, Ines, and Kitt

NRU at ITTs, Pittsburgh

Went to two camps in one month:

Bronxville and Little Rock

Pink Cape traveled through the US

Chris in the Pink Cape at Little Rock Camp

Completed the 7 day food challenge
Completed fitness testing in Bronxville
Selected for Dubai 7's
Enjoyed Sweet Sixteens in St. Louis

New York Rugby in St. Louis

Finalists in Club National Championship
Champions of New York Sevens

Photo courtesy of Sabrina Asch
Champions of the 50th Annual New York Sevens
BR:Hoop, FOSL, X, Flateman, Jenny, Brafman, London, Me, Hedwig, Maura, Hobs, and Rosalie
FR: Carrie and Daniela

Chose a wrestling nickname
Tried out the Ty-breaker
Worked a lot!
Countdown to 2009!