Who are we?

•October 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I was inspired to write this by a video by a company called Twelve Productions, the video is called ‘This is who we are’

We dedicate a large chuck of our lives to it, we live and breathe it, we strive to improve. We put ourself through pain, both physical and emotional. And at the end of it …… we smile?

I guess this is the same across any sport but few have the changing of the environment and the course so regularly, when asking people why they did, said sport, one replied ‘it’s a good unpredictable challenge that keeps me fit,it gives me a focus, a drive, to achieve the best I can’.

Do we strive to win or do we strive to improve? Do we compete against other or ourselves? Is it reward or mastery which motivates us, I know this is different to different people, Ken Langford says ‘we should aim to do the best we can’ to ‘cream’ everything and the results will follow.

Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t. As the new Nike advert says everyone gets knocked down, but how quickly to we get back up. This is the same in my sport everyone has poor results and we should be disappointed but it is how quickly we recover from this that defines us as an Athlete.

We put ourself through pain, both physical and emotional. And at the end of it …… we smile?

We are a Canoe Slalom Athlete. I am a Canoe Slalom Athlete



•September 11, 2010 • 1 Comment

Finally! Somebody has given outdoor teaching and experiential learning publicity. For anybody who didn’t see it Gareth Malone has a new program called Extraordinary School for Boys, it is on the BBC. This program highlights the need for boys especially, to not simply be taught in classrooms. Malone takes the boys out of the curriculum for 3 days a week and shows other ways of teaching,¬† including increasing the boys confidence. I have had this idea for ages and finally someone is giving it some publicity.

Giving Up?

•September 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

‘A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.’ (Loa Tzu, 600 BC-531 BC)

This is one of my favourite quotes and one that I think everybody especially myself should take more notice of. It’s all two easy to say ‘I won’t tidy my bedroom today there’s too much to do’. If we took this approach to everything in life nothing would ever get done.

It is the people in this world who put this thought aside who can achieve, Steve Brown fell of a balcony when on holiday with his girlfriend. He broke his neck and was paralysed from his chest downwards. Most people would be depressed, not Steve, he took up wheelchair rugby.

Q: How did you get to be so good at wheelchair rugby?

A: “My Dad and my coach took me to see the GB team after my accident. I was very nervous and very frail, and they were aggressive, violent, full of testosterone. I thought to myself ‘Well, if they can get on with it, then so can I.’ Two days after I left hospital I had my very first training session. The more I played, the better I got. The better I got, the more I wanted to play…”‘

He is now on the GB squad. As his body was paralysed from the chest down his muscles that help him take full breaths aren’t affective making it nigh on impossible to have a high VO2 max, with intense training, getting up in the morning and training, eating right, not giving up when times are hard he has managed to improve his vo2 max so much that he could compete with an able-bodied person.

Wheelchair Rugby is not an easy sport either: ‘During a match in Germany in 2009 my wheelchair was hit by two players at the same time. I broke my sternum, six ribs and bruised my heart. I was in intensive care for three days and in hospital for six weeks. I was out for six months, I missed two big tournaments – they were my chances to prove I deserved a place in the GB squad

Yet he still managed to get back up and continue. Next time I think I’ll leave that job or training session till later I will think about Steve and think, I still have all my body intact, don’t let it be an accident that forces you to train hard or stop being lazy.

Simples Part 2

•August 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

After writing my previous entry I was stuck with one over-riding question, what happens if it all goes wrong? Well this question haunted me for a bit. So I asked a few people, the majority of those people said ‘it’s best not to think about that’ or ‘well I don’t know’.

This made me think, why do people in outdoor sports avoid this idea that mistakes do happen? Firstly obviously the idea is to minimize the chances of it all going wrong, so we train hard, we scout a rapid, we put as much gear as we can in. But if all of that fails then what?

I have recently been reading a book (the longest climb) by Paul Pritchard. ‘Paul was climbing in Tasmania, when a TV-sized boulder falling from 25 meters inflicted such terrible head injuries that doctors thought he might never walk or even speak again. Pritchard has spent his time since the accident in contemplation of the hemiplegia which has robbed his right side of movement and played tricks with his speech and memory.’ (Pritchard, 2009). While everything that this man has been through is amazing the bit that really struck a cord with me in his book was how his accident was not the end it was the beginning. ¬†After his accident he took up tricycling and regularly shot up pen-y-pas (not an easy feat).

This clarifies what happens if everything goes wrong, number one question we either live or die. If we die then we start a new adventure (in heaven or re-incarnated depending on your beliefs). If we live do we have injuries? If yes we start a new adventure to recover from those injuries. If we don’t have injuries then we are very lucky and our new adventure could be to conquer the fear we have found or even to find a safer way to do it.


•August 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This post was intended to be a short answer to a question I have been pondering, however it turned out to ask more questions than it answered.

After reading a number of blogs over the past few days they have posed some interesting questions. In all activities we like to take risks. I was once talking to a slightly drunk fellow who was sure he never took risks, no matter how I reasoned with him he was sticking to his story. I believe that everyone takes risk, getting up in a morning is a risk, you may roll an ankle. Crossing the road is a risk, you may be run over.

The outdoors is perhaps a perfect medium to prove this why we want this risk, we all know that there are some dangers associated with these activities we partake in. Yet we still do them, we put ourself in increasing danger the higher our skill level is. But why?

I believe as humans we all have a wild instinct, exactly the same as we all have a sex drive or the desire for shelter. This wild instinct wants use to be in the outdoor trying new things. We strive for that buzz, for some this buzz may be entirely selfish a craving almost an addiction, for some it is spiritual, feeling at one with there ‘God’. Once we become to feel comfortable in that environment we no longer get that ‘buzz’ so we push ourselves further until we end up pushing our bodies close to the edge where one failure of our psychology or physiology means an end.

Or does it?

Hello world!

•August 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

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