October 15th, 2012 | Uncategorized
For some reason, prior to my arrival in Ireland, I had never envisioned a “colorful” Irish fall. I guess Google images and Wikipedia had conditioned me to assume that I would see green 365 days a year. Yet, while it may not quite look like an autumn in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Ireland has somehow become more beautiful in the past few weeks…the leaves have change
d color, and cold(er) weather is settling in….I attached a picture of UL’s campus in the fall.
After weeks of rest, rehab in the gym, and enough bags of ice to build a spacious igloo, I’m pleased to say that it looks like I’ll be stepping back onto a field this week. Today’s 7am run through the fog to the city confirmed that the knee and hamstring are doing well, and are almost match fit. The team has started the season with 3 straight wins (first two were friendly matches), and the level of play has been exceptional to watch. I’m looking forward to joining what seems to be an outstanding group of guys on the field soon…
My classes and research at the University of Limerick have offered an amazing perspective into a new field of study for me, as well as the unique experiences that come with studying in a foreign country. Regrettably, due to the rigors of college soccer back in the States, I was never able to study abroad, so this year has been a further blessing in that sense.
I was fortunate enough to find a program in UL’s business school (Work and Organizational Psychology) that aligns with my undergraduate work in psychology and my future aspirations to pursue a PhD in sport/performance psychology. The professors/advisors at UL have been amazing – the classes are small, and discussion based, and there is an obvious sense in which the faculty members are truly enjoying themselves – it’s been a rewarding experience to say the least.
After several meetings with my advisor, and a few weeks of research, I’ve settled on a still-to-be-refined thesis topic: a qualitative (interview) analysis of creativity and the “flow experience” in secondary school teachers. For those interested few, here’s a general overview of “flow” (it’s fascinating and applicable to athletes, performers, employees, teachers, etc.): http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html.
On the coaching front, I’ve been able to help coach a local u16 club soccer team…leading me to conclude that Saturday morning soccer games in the sun, with laughing kids, and hovering parents is as rewarding and magical in Ireland as it is back home.
I was also able to help Sarah with her u16/u18 girls basketball practice on Saturday (all the while, pretending that my 5’7” stature and soccer warm up pants, weren’t raising any suspicion concerning my basketball expertise). More importantly, however, it looks like Sarah and I will begin our community coaching this week, after much waiting and anticipation. We’ve partnered with the local semi-professional club, Limerick FC, and will be going to local schools in at-risk communities one or two nights a week to tutor/mentor kids for an hour, followed by soccer or basketball sessions with them on the pitch or court. I’ll also probably be helping to coach one of the Limerick FC youth academy teams on Saturdays. I can’t say how excited I am for this phase of the Sport Changes Life experience to start.
On a final note… we were invited to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with one of Sarah’s classmates last week (I had never heard of an alternative version of this holiday, but apparently it also comes with chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, bread, and apple pie – so, well played Canada).