But I’ve never… never mind. The story of a AT student.

“Kathlyn is going to do your hip-flexor work today, and then she’ll stretch you”

What I hear as I walk in the door to work on Tuesday.

“Are you good with that?” directed at me, with a smirk.

“Yeah uh, sure– but.. I’ve never done a hip massage before…” –Me, sounding super intelligent.

“Oh.. I know.” Walks away chuckling and leaves me in a room with a client.

And that is basically how SO many of my hours as an AT student are spent lately. Just yesterday at football a similar thing happened. Except with less details given and a little bit higher intensity.

In pre-game, pretty much as soon as we started taping we were over run by players wanting the perfect taping for their first play-off game- which meant Nikki was tied up with the QB and her form of dealing with the “swarm” is to shoot people off my direction. I normally cover ankles and thumbs, with the occasional wrist thrown in there. However today there was an elbow hyperextension that needed taping (a tape job I haven’t done since the very preliminary version they taught us a year ago in P&C- funny enough something they were reviewing in the part of class I left early from to make football), and NIkki asked if I knew how to do it. I kinda mumbled a sorta, I guess- and then promptly got thrown a roll of tape and was told to “go!”. The fun part about taping is that you can make a lot of stuff up on the fly, as long as it prevents what it’s supposed to prevent. What I came up with even got a compliment from Nikki when she saw it run by her on field later on.

Later on, a player had come off the field complaining of pain to the quad and iliotibial band just above the knee, and Nikki was running him through a quick assessment while I observed. His strength was good, and his movement was also fine- so we came the conclusion he just had a contusion (bruise) to the muscles in the area. She was just about to start compression wrapping and return to play functional testing when we hear “TRAINER, TRAINER!!!” from the field and see one our players rolling on the ground. All I got that time was Nikki throwing the elastic tape at me and yelling “compression!” as she ran onto the field. So, with an athlete anxious to get going standing infront of me I did my first on field quad contusion compression wrap (really not a big deal..) and ran my first athlete through functional return to play testing (bigger deal) and made the decision he was good to go back into play (and confirmed it of course). 20131025-144454.jpg The boys ended up winning their quarter final game, and so we head off to semis next week! At least one more week of shivering for us!

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Needless to say we didn’t have too many players lingering on the table last night… Little bit chilly..

Luckily, for me, I love learning this way. For one, it really prevents procrastination. When someone is throwing you into a situation, you can’t really put it off. Your brain is forced to recall information and put it to use, ASAP. Also, so far anyway, it has a way of giving  a little boost of confidence- which is often needed. A lot of what we cover in class is often hard to grasp when all you have to practice on is your pretty healthy and functional lab partners. The amount of times I’ve walked into work and had the AT there say “have you ever done this before” or “when’s the last time you did this?” and my response is “um.. never..” (highly educated response, I know) is off the charts- but equal with the amount of times he throws me in there anyway. Of course giving a super quick demo that looks effortless and easy- only to be the opposite for my rookie hands. It only took a few weeks of doing some deep-tissue work on clients to get a feel for what was actually happening underneath my touch. It took me months to get my angles right in some tape jobs. But that’s what this kind of learning does to a person like me- it fuels that dedication to get it right- and I took it as a great compliment when Nikki referred to me as a perfectionist when helping me prep for my Taping practical.

Those “getting thrown into the deep end” lessons, although terrifying, are also really good for helping to teach how to put things into context. I shouldn’t say they are terrifying, they used to be.. but now they are pretty much expected. It’s kind of like, oh- I haven’t done that before- you’re going to make me do it, aren’t you… well, why not. Each client/athlete is so different, and you can’t throw a textbook assessment, tape job, or symptom at them and expect them to fit the mould (but you still have to have a more than solid appreciation for what those textbooks have inside them). I’m really seeing the value of getting a variety of different experiences under my belt- working with different therapists and athletes as much as possible. The AT at work always stresses how each therapist has their own style, and how it takes learning from a few different people to really get a feel for how you want to work.

It’s very true, just having seen the way a few therapists work so far. They all have different ways of being in whatever they are doing- and no way is more effective than another. When the basics are there, everything else falls into place. It’s the trial of an AT student to try and keep the basics floating around long enough that they actually become basic, instead of this huge mass of information that seems incomprehensible and overwhelming at first glance. “Use it or lose it” might be a good phrase. “Practice makes perfect” and “Try, try again” are also applicable.

From the pages..

The internet here has been very slow- that’s why I haven’t posted anything in a while. I want to post some pictures of the beach and my wanderings the past week and bit, but the low speed internet won’t permit that. So I figured I’d put a little bit on from my journal- just kind of a reflection piece I guess- most of you have probably heard all these stories from me before. If so, the other point of this post is to let all you out there know I’m still alive! Yay! Pictures will come soon, I promise! For now, here’s some thoughts from the pages of.. me? There’s news at the bottom of this post. I give you permission to skip down to that if you don’t feel like reading  a novel first :). You’re welcome.

Nov 23- Change. It effects us all. Where were you 5 years ago? I was in 9th grade. A shy, reserved kid who dreamed of going to college in Alberta to study equine science. I played volleyball at school, but didn’t plan on playing many other sports- especially not basketball. I was bff’s with somebody who I never thought would leave my life, we were inseparable. Thinking back, this year had a few life changing moments I didn’t see coming. The first; Mr. Martin approaching me, asking (telling) me to come to JV basketball practice. After much convincing, I agreed to go. After all, Erica did it and I idolized her as the big sister I never had- and, if I hated it- I could quite anyway, right? Wrong. I came home from the first week of practices bawling. All the other girls were so much better then I, and I made so many mistakes and got yelled at so much. I can’t do it. I’m not going back! This idea ended quickly. Mom said I was at least finishing the season- no quitting- that was that. I’m forever grateful for this. Also for Mr. Martin including me in the team, tough love and all. I learned (started to) how to be tought and determined that year playing with the older “athletic” girls. This is where I first learned what being a true athlete means. That year I also got Will. He also was something that taught me how important confidence is.

Jump to 2 years ago. My grade 12 year. I now played every high school sport I could. Captain of volleyball, soccer, and basketball, as well as riding on average 4 times a week (often during school hours (spares.. of course..)). Through grades 10-12 I met Lyle Myers- who is definitely responsible for taking me to the next level of toughness. Character building as he would call it (I’m shaking my head as I write this). I remember when I first started training with him in the mornings, this would have been in grade 10. Joel, Pierre, Mackenzie, Garth and I would be in the gym every morning at 7am running sprints. Hell. Sometimes Mr. Martin would watch from his office. I always tried harder if he was watching. I swear this was why I got off the bench and got to play more Varsity in my gr. 10 year. As much as Lyle caused me physical pain and discomfort with his training- I can now see how much it helped and changed me as an athlete- and person. I’m sure anybody who knows Lyle, or has trained with him, would say the same thing.  What a crazy old man. Back to my senior year. By this time I’d made many new great friends, most of which were on teams with me. My best friend who’d been by my side for 7 years decided that I wasn’t putting enough effort into her and all but cut me out of her life. What would high school be without a little drama, right? Those close to me know how much this effected me. As it would anyone I’m sure. To this day I still get confused about the whole situation- and it took me a long time to get over it. It didn’t stop me from pushing myself in every way I could.

Our basketball team made Provincials that year, after an amazing season. I’ll never forget what it was like to be apart of that 2010 team, and it still inspires me. That was true teamwork. Every time we pulled a one-point win out of our asses it was because of pure heart and athleticism. On the court, it was like we were one person. When we were on, nothing could stop us. No matter how much taller the other team was, or how many more players they had (often close to double our team in both height and numbers). I draw from the experiences I had that season all the time when I need a little reminder of what awesome feels like.  I learned so much that year about people, myself, and life. But I guess that’s what high school if for. Setting you up to learn those things. I say “setting you up” because you re-learn a lot of things you thought you know as soon as you get into the real world. This same year, I was also faced with my coach of a year and a half pulling a giant con on Bluebear and in the process leaving me without a coach 3 weeks before my first time competing at a Gold (national) level show (Royal Manitoba Winter Fair). Putting on a brave face through this time was unbelievably hard. It felt like, yet again, I was being left behind and having to start all over.. again.  With the help of Sheryl Feller, someone who’s been with me since the beginning of my riding career, I was able to keep training up to Fair week- where Wilf McKay took over as my temp show coach- a role he has filled a few times over the years.

It certainly wasn’t my easiest show. I had the added pressure (that I put on myself) of making a good impression on my future coaches Mike and Charlene. The days leading up to and the first few days of Fair week I was all but a nervous emotional wreck. I remember one morning I was reviewing my courses by the ring and Charlene came up beside me and helped me dissect the course. No introduction (not that she needed one), just straight to the point in that calm tone of hers. I relaxed so much after that. And had a very successful first showing at RMWF. That same year, I applied for the Miss Manitoba Pageant as a joke. Well, it started as a joke. Then I actually got accepted. And followed through with the whole thing. Swim suit competition and everything. I remember telling my mom about it, and her first reaction was laughing for about 5 minutes and then saying “they actually accepted you?!”. Thanks Mom.  But also, thank you for letting me go through with it. To Dad too. I know how grateful you were when I only placed third (boo yah top 3!). I learned a lot from that. One that pageants are generally a money grab. Two- spray tans are really, really questionable. And useless. Three- confidence is beauty. It was something I never thought I’d do, but can now say that I successfully did. I’m very proud of winning 4/5 special awards, but also very very happy i didn’t win my category. It was just enough to remind me to believe in myself, because even when something seems insane chances are I’ll get through it, and learn a lot on the way.

Today, looking back on all the chaos that was the past few years- all the friends I’d gained, and lost, all the teachers and coaches who pushed and believed, all the things that cause me to break down, every lesson I learned the hard way- it all brought me to here and now. I have all of the above, and lots more (I could list everything.. but you’d be reading for as long as I’ve been alive probably. I’ll save you that), to thank for who I am today. So many memories, good and bad. I’ve grown and changed a lot since then. Made new friends, kept old ones, reconnected with some. I definitely couldn’t have handled some of the things I’ve dealt with in my first year of Uni, or in the past few months in NZ. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to come this far away from home if I hadn’t learnt how to believe in who I am early on. It just goes to show that everything-mo matter how devastating, amazing, hard, easy- benefits you if you let yourself learn from it. Living means changing constantly. We always have to be learning and adapting to keep up with our world. It’s okay to screw up, or to be different, or to be the rookie. How else do you gain experience? You gotta start somewhere. Live is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Well, there’s your novel for today. Gonna have to buy a new journal soon. Don’t worry, not all the entries are that.. thoughtful.

In other news, as I said up top- the internet is slow. Those of you that have me on Fbook will have seen my pictures from the beach and the area around where I’m living. Lucky you! I’m still unemployed (although I’ve applied for probably close to 100 jobs- including going into town and handing out resumes in person), and still unable to drive standard. Which leaves me at the house a lot of the time. Cooking, baking, cleaning, reading (‘Tis by Frank McCourt if you were wondering- great read!), going for walks, just chilling. I’ve been trying to add more working out to get some strengthening accomplished for the good ol’ back/hip situation. I’m backing off on that though, as it’s STILL consistently bothering me. So no change on that front. I won’t get started on that.

I just realized I’ve been here for over 3 months already. Wow!

I’ve booked a ticket to Christchurch for Dec. 7, where I’ll be staying with some more family connections for a few days- then going down to Dunedin for the 12th to do something that I haven’t spilled on yet. With the exception of a select few (whom I expect to keep quiet). My only hint is that it’s something I never EVER thought I’d do. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve said once or twice that this is something I couldn’t and wouldn’t ever do. Well, I’m pushing myself to a new limit. December 12th something crazy goes down. Stay tuned for more on that.

After my weekend in Dunedin I haven’t quite decided what I’ll do. I might visit some other family connections that live not far from there, in Alexandra, and then head farther south and do some exploring there. Then back to Cchurch and eventually back to the North here in Whangarei where I’ll be for Christmas.

I’ll stop writing now, because this post has now reached the word count of a research essay. Also, there’s no pictures. That’s no fun! I’ll post again soon with some pictures and hopefully some adventures. There will definitely be more on December 12th’s events!

Ciao!