Its been a long couple of weeks. As a veteran blogger at this point, I'm aware of the second rule of blogging...never apologize for taking a break. But I need a clean start and so, hanging my head in shame, I promise to provide quality content for the next two weeks.
We are just wrapping our fourth day in Manchester. The opening ceremonies took place this afternoon on the campus at the University of Manchester. I have always enjoyed these events - it’s a great opportunity to see some old friends and getting the tournament rolling. I was asked to read the "Players Oath" which was an incredible honor...and just as horrifying. Those who know me well understand my fear of public speaking. Combine this with my speech issues from surgery and a sore throat for working out the vocal cords for the first time in 4 year on the field. It was the perfect storm for a gong show. I attempted to pull the 'chute about ten times while waiting my turn. Thanks to the urging of my teammates and some "gentle" prodding from Brodie in particular, I got up there and did it. And you know what...it was an absolute gong show! Picture Kermit the frog with a stutter. I got through it, the boys all lied to me and said it went well and one of the Japanese players handed me a Qing Yan Bao Kou Han Pian throat lozenge when we got back to the dorm!
Personally, it has a crazy couple of days getting ready to play Japan in our opener tomorrow night. Physically draining from the two-a-days and nightly yoga sessions led by Junior.
As tired as I feel, I'm in a much better place emotionally thanks to the support from I have received from my teammates. Usually people avoid talking about my cancer - but the guys have recognized it, talked about it and have moved on toward our goal of winning the gold medal. Pretty amazing considering we have been together for less than week. Our meeting about expectations/motivation was something I had never experienced in any team setting. Guys sharing what it meant to represent their county, families, etc. Powerful stuff that will help us through this tournament. More importantly I found a guy who likes a good cry as much as I do. In fact Kevin Crowley (21yrs) and I have a number of things in common!
Last Saturday night, my dad Phil asked why I wanted to do this again. Battling cancer, having already won a gold medal, two all world awards, leaving the family at home, etc. I got really upset. There is so much involved in my decision to do this and I don't have loonies to process it with George the Shrink, but that meeting alone has made this trip worth it.
I promise more updates as the tournament progresses. Look forward to tales of John Marr, fish & chips, and the quest to find a husky 5’7 Swedish player to swap warm-up suits with.
For those interested, the games are streaming at: