This article is part of the USA Women's Eagles Final in '14 blog. All entries are written exclusively by members of the women's national team.
Today was the first day of our pre-CanAm camp. We woke up this morning (pre-6:00 A.M.) and had our body fat measured, ate breakfast and then headed out to the gym at James Madison University, where we did some testing--broad jump, pullups, etc. The gym warm-up and testing was a great precursor to our training session and we went into it ready to go. However, just two drills into the morning session, I came out of a scrum with what I thought was a stinger in my upper/mid back area. Initially, the competitor in me planned to shake it off, but the muscles in me were in real pain, and my morning session ended early.
A couple of Athletic Trainers determined that it was muscular--a strain/pull in my rhomboid muscle--and it would be unpleasant for a few days, but I would be okay. While that's great news, being sore and having limited mobility in my neck and left arm for a couple of days isn't something with which I'm happy. I would've rather heard, from the trainers, "Turns out, you pulled a muscle, but you seem to have some sort of genetic mutation that allows you to exponentially cut down physical healing time; you'll be ready to go this evening" or "You're Wolverine; you'll be ready to go in five minutes." However, I didn't hear that, so I had to sit out today.
So here's the thing about having to sit out. You miss the reps. You cannot participate and so you miss the chances to train your muscles and brain to remember how to play proper rugby and how to run offense and defense. Watching sucks. Players come to these camps to play rugby, not watch it. I came to this camp to play rugby, to get better, to mesh with my teammates. Watching is frustrating. I have a new respect for Carmen Farmer, who had surgery on her hand a few months ago and has had to sit out the past two or three camps. I think it's a testament to her dedication that she's been so enthusiastic about coming to camp and instead of playing, posting pictures to social media and giving encouragement to her teammates.
Another thing about sitting out is that you feel like a big sissy-pants, a wuss, a crybaby, a thumb-sucker. That stinks, too. The competitor in you wants to stick it out, to say, "to hell with the discomfort," but you must let your rational mind (or the rational minds of your managers and coaches) take the lead on the issue of hurt and injury. Your competitive mind will always say, "You know you're okay, stupid. Don't you dare miss a session, a drill, a rep. Don't you dare take a breath. Breathing is for sissies." Your rational mind will lead you to the rational path.
And something I've discovered, in having to sit out, is that no matter how much you feel like you're missing out or feel like a sissy, your circumstances have dictated that you participate in another way--that you play the "recovery game"--and your teammates don't think you're a sissy. You get in your head because you have the time to do just that. It stinks, but I learned today, being in one's head is nowhere to live. The moment is the place to live, and though it may not be the moment you want, there's always something to learn and enjoy.