Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Starting Point

Hello everyone! I'd like to thank you for taking the time to check out my new blog.  I had a baseball blog that I wrote on for a couple years, but I felt like I needed to start a new one.  I've truly become a new person since my last blog.  At the time of the final post, I was overweight and out of shape at 230 pounds, had zero to no hope of full time employment, and simply put, life was not going the way I was hoping for post-college.  I never had a set plan for life and don't believe in having every step mapped out, but I never envisioned I would be where I was at.

I was a four-year varsity starter, three year First Team All-Section, two time Second Team All-District, First Team All-District, and an All-State volleyball player in high school.  My junior olympic volleyball team took T-5th at Nationals after going undefeated the first three days of competition the summer between high school and college.  I was playing club volleyball at the school of my choice, Duquesne University, and we were nationally ranked after beating the #1 ranked team at their home tournament.

Tournament Champs!
After gaining national ranking, things starting not going to "plan."  I've always dealt with the knee, back, and shoulder pains, but when it got to the point where I couldn't walk down a flight of stairs after a simple practice, it was time to stop.  I was twenty years old and a sophomore in college when an orthopedic surgeon told me that my playing days were basically over.  I knew that day was coming because I've technically needed surgery on my knees since I was in the sixth grade, but I was really hoping to get through college.

Later during my sophomore year, one of my friends and teammates passed away from a ruptured aorta.  He was 19 years old and in better shape than anyone on the team.  Everyone was shocked and it was something that really shook me.  I've always been a live in the moment, spontaneous person, but when something like that happens, it really reminds you how fragile life is.

the old me at Niagara Falls
Although there were negatives, I did have many positives in my life.  I am blessed with wonderful, supportive parents that take care of me and help me out when I need it.  I started dating the girl of my dreams just before the OS laid down the verdict.  I went on to graduate from Duquesne with a Bachelor's in Secondary Education - Mathematics and continued on to earn my Master's Degree in Instructional Technology.

So how did I get things back on track? Well, I finally looked myself in the mirror and said enough is enough! It started in January; it wasn't a New Year's Resolution though.  I don't believe in NYR because if you truly want to improve yourself, why wait to next year? Do it now!

I started working out and eating right.  By the end of January, I had lost twenty pounds.  I didn't lose any in February because quite frankly, I didn't have the money to buy a whole new wardrobe and I knew that I wasn't done.  At the start of March, I decided to lose some more weight, but not as drastic.  I lost ten pounds in March, ten in April, five in May and five in June.  If you're keeping track, that's fifty pounds from 230 to 180.

180-185 pound me (not the gf)
Fitness has become a passion for me.  I work out three to six days a week depending on what my schedule allows me.  I'm constantly reading up on the latest fitness trends as I subscribed to Men's Fitness, Men's Health, and Muscle and Fitness.  I started leisurely biking late last summer and I definitely look forward to a lot of two wheeled transportation this summer.

As my girlfriend will quickly tell you, I am a very competitive person!  When I stopped playing volleyball, I didn't have an outlet for that competitive nature.  Sure, I had coaching and golfing, but it didn't fulfill that void.  Now as I get deeper in the fitness world, I now have a constant competition.  Not with other people, but with myself.  The only person I need to be better than is the person I was yesterday!

me/gf before my birthday dinner in October
As you can see, the dedication to fitness and eating properly is paying off.  I'm currently hanging around 195 pounds, but I feel it's a pretty solid number to be at.  My girlfriend gets mad because I always look for ways that I could improve my body, but hey, there is that competitive nature!!

I do jump in and play volleyball from time to time during practices, but I try to not overdo it.  If I play in a tournament, I am in a good bit of pain for the next few days and basically out of commission from any physical activity.  As much as I enjoy playing, I just don't feel like it is really worth it.  Is it frustrating? YES, but such is life.  I have plenty of other activities to enjoy!

You're probably wondering about the whole employment thing and I am happy to tell you that I currently have a full time teaching job.  Although it is only a one year position, it's just another example of things getting turned around as I got myself back together.

I realize none of this post was about baseball, but I figured it'd be nice to give everyone some perspective of the author.  Almost all of my posts will be baseball related whether it is MLB related, cards, memorabilia, books, movies, etc.  I look forward to writing many posts and hope you will enjoy!

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