This week I got a new massage table, one that might be considered the sports car version of massage tables. Lightweight, easy to use and carry. After some of the great responses from the last blog post, I wanted to write a continuation of the previous post on those who helped me along the way.
In 2007, after my first training, I came back to my training facility and scheduled a “recovery Friday” which consisted of 4 or more athletes in my college prep group coming in to get treatment to loosen up their muscles. I didn’t have a table at the time, and proceeded to do them on the floor on an exercise mat. My knees and back would kill! These sessions were very valuable, as I found most of the athletes were extremely tight and the muscles were similar to rubbing the wood floor. I knew to achieve higher levels of performance, more therapy would be needed and I couldn’t do it all. I offered a parent-athlete massage clinic, teaching parents of my athletes how to so simple massage techniques to help their kids.
Later on, I recall one instance where athletes would come over my house, and not having a table, we used the floor, but without the exercise mat and I had to use pillows to brace my knees! While an athlete is getting my treatment, my oldest daughter, about 1 year old, would pat backs of people, put stuffed animals on and around them, and do all sorts of things innocent things. It’s quite funny, of course, but I was willing to do whatever it took to help those in need. And best of all, the athletes didn’t care, they were willing to do whatever it took on their end too, even if it meant coming on a Friday night at 10pm or lying on the floor while my daughter decorated them with animals.
Soon I was smart and was able to get a new table for cheap on craigslist, which I have used until this week. The table has been to 3 state finals for track and field, as we have been the only team with a treatment table at the event in those 3 consecutive years (and have had athletes place top 8 all three of those years as well). It has been to 2 national championships. The first one was in Baltimore where pre-race work was done in the parking lot of a grocery store because there was no room near the track and warm-up area for a table. The day before was done in the hotel room, and the table barely squeezed into the room! When I asked one of the runners about the parking lot in Baltimore, his reply was “Ya, I remember, that really shady neighborhood parking lot!”
I also recall when a Canadian athlete was driving to town for treatment and couldn’t cross the border, so I drove to Windsor, Ontario to meet him at 10pm on a Saturday night. We then went to the university student center building at 11pm and did treatment there (see the picture), while the dozen or so students were studying at various tables around us. Interestingly, in 2 hours, no one told us to leave!
In part 1 I mentioned Charlie. There were times Charlie would spend hours working on athletes in the hotel at international meets, barely having time to watch them race. Other times, athletes might come over and they would get treatments. He was the type of person who was so generous, he would give the shirt off his back to help his athletes. Situations are rarely ideal in coaching and therapy. You make the best of what you have and take advantage of the great opportunities given. Charlie started out getting a massage school to come out and treat athletes. Later, when the team had money, they hired a full time therapist, and later would hire Waldemar.
So this new table isn’t just a new table, but a symbol of doing whatever it takes to help those I work with. The same attitude and work ethic my mentors have done for years to achieve great success.