It's a classic story. Everyone who plays sports or has seen iconic sports movies knows the scene. It goes something like this:
The protagonist wants to get better, so they put in extra work. This could be Timo Cruz from Coach Carter, doing push-ups and suicides on the sidelines to get his spot back on the team. In Rocky, this could be when he goes for runs in his gray sweat suit up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art-- throwing his hands up at the top as if he just conquered the world. This could even be Forest Gump running across the country, twice. All of these stories begin with the one player who does an extra something, alone. The stories end in triumph of a team, a group of people, or an ideal; something beyond the scale of an individual.
And then, there’s me. As a hooker abroad, I show up to practices 30-40 minutes early to practice my line-out throws. I stand back to the upright, take five large steps out, turn around, and launch. The uprights are covered in flakey white paint. Each time I hit the intersection of the cross bar, a white paint flake chips away and gently floats to the ground. Slowly uncovering a Bulls-eye of metal beneath. Conveniently, this bulls-eye is the height of Clare’s hands in a line-out. But, one can only throw so many line-outs before going insane. The first time I did this, I thought, wow this is so methodical, maybe I should write poetry about it. So I went home that day and tried to write poetry. After five minutes, I realized the folly. I really do not like poetry, unless it’s T.S. Elliot’s “The Wasteland” and I really do not like writing poetry. So that fad was short lived.
As the clock neared 17:00, I waited for others to show up for practice. I kept waiting, kept throwing line outs. As 17:15 rolled around with nobody on the field, I decided it was time to call it a day. I went back the next day, same thing.
The pitch, a place full of peace and solitude became a place of loneliness and disappointment. On and off for two weeks, I would show up and be stood up. It was time to make a change. Time for cross training.
I have still been trekking to the fields to throw, but supplementing with “Bon Physique”—the campus gym. Every day at 17:00, they have a yoga class. No, this is not where my sports movie becomes Eat Pray Love.
The first day I went to yoga, I expected the instruction to be in English. It’s a good thing I know how to count in Thai and I have “Poo Cow” (mountain) pose down because everything else was in Thai. Additionally, the instructor knew how to speak a little English and would say cat and cow poses in English (aside from my sarcasm, the instructor absolutely rocks, kicks my ass, and is so sweet). The other lost in translation moment of yoga has been the class set up. The yoga classes I have previously attended would have the instructor's mat perpendicular to the students. The students would then be in columns parallel to each other.
Here, the instructor and all student’s mats are parallel. Then, there is a line of beams that cut the studio in half. The yogis on the right face the beams and the yogis on the left face the beams. THIS MEANS THAT YOU GET TO STARE INTO THE SOUL OF THE PERSON NEXT TO YOU WHILE DOING YOGA. NOT RELAXING, JUST FREAKY.
So that was new. I have really grown to like yoga. It’s incredibly relaxing (once you get past looking into people's eyes), a great way to improve my flexibility and control, and add as many chattaronga’s as possible in my life.
Then, there’s the weight room. If some think Reily (Tulane Rec Center) is overpowered by testosterone between 15:00 and 18:00, they have not seen Bon Physique. The amount of grunting that goes on is bone chilling, ironic because there’s no AC. So, I fit in perfectly!!! Joking aside, Bon Physique is no Reily, but I am very thankful to have a place where I can people watch and successfully cross train amidst chaos on the rugby practice front.
I’m not in an iconic sports movie, nor will I ever be. I don’t know how the story line is going to play out. Maybe I’ll stumble upon people practicing again, maybe not. Maybe the next time I play rugby with someone other than the uprights will be with my dad, Trevor, and Mitch on a Vietnamese beach in December. Who knows.
Stay tuned J