While in Flagstaff, Arizona while I was riding down the main drag (street) I spotted an SUV with a huge surfboard on the roof. What made this unusual was the fact that I was almost 500 miles from the closest ocean waves. I could not tell immediately if it was a tandem surfboard built for two people to ride the waves or a surfboard built for one person who always stands on it and uses a large paddle to paddle into waves or to explore lakes, etc.
In the car were Minda Simmons (49 years old) and James Holeman (43 years old). They are boyfriend and girlfriend and have been dating for about 6 months. Minda is from Phoenix, but now lives about 20 miles outside of Flagstaff. She is a landscape designer. James was raised back east and he moved to Oahu, Hawaii 13 years ago. There he was the owner of a successful cigar store. He sold it late last year to come to Flagstaff to be close to his 80 year old mother.
The following is their individual views about their sporting lifestyle:
Minda has been an athlete all of her life. She was a big time runner until her knees finally starting to give her significant problems. She loves being outside and is an avid skier, mountain biker. She said she always has to be doing something outside relative to sports. She never goes to a gym. “Too boring and claustrophobic”. She never liked team sports because they were too competitive. She love individual sports that gives you the opportunity to compete against yourself. James and Minda were getting ready to go out to the lake for a two or three hour paddle that afternoon. Relative to diet she never eats fast food (nor does James) and they both eat very healthy. The do eat some meat, but mainly enjoy organic chicken, salads, and fish... She said she will always be involved in a sporting lifestyle because of the way it makes her feel. “It calms me down and makes me feel really good”. If she could have gone to the Olympics in Beijing she would loved to compete in the Long Jump and just being there would be great and the place she finished would not matter to her.
James feels a sporting lifestyle is the “fountain of youth”. He loves individual sports such as surfing, skateboarding, hiking, and also love running, but as he has gotten older he has moved onto to other activities. He too does not like team oriented sports. He recognizes that they are beneficial for many people, but he views them almost as a mob versus the serenity that one gets from doing individual sports. Both James and Minda do not particularly like big crowds so Flagstaff and their individual sports fit them well. Both he and Minda are beginning to get into “vamping” which is camping in his VW Camper Van. James said his sporting lifestyle makes him just feel good, calm, and helps to keep him centred. When I asked him about the Olympics in Beijing he said he would not even have enjoyed participating in any event due to the fact that there would be too many people there and too competitive. “Not his thing”. He is currently doing landscape work, but is planning on opening a cigar shop in Flagstaff by the end of the year.
Minda and James appear to be a perfect match for one another in their relationship based upon their obvious love of the outdoors, healthy lifestyle, and their focus on enjoying the same kind of activities. They were a lovely couple and I could see this relationship really lasting. Both looked very young for their respective ages. Maybe they are right that a sporting lifestyle is the “Fountain of Youth”!
I met a wonderful young sportswoman while I was in Boone, North Carolina. Her name is Amanda Greer. She is a 22 year old single mother of a darling 4 year old boy named Timothy. She is an avid lover of a wide variety of different sporting activities. Currently she works at a gas station and travel shop in her hometown of Boone.
With the encouragement of her father Amanda took up bow hunting about 5 years ago. She lives, breaths, and sleeps bow hunting in her spare time when she is not working or raising her son. For the first several years of her new sport she focused on archery practice and then began to hunt squirrels and rabbits.
Last year Amanda killed her first deer while on a bow hunting trip. She tracked the animal through the woods and her 40 yard shot was perfect (high behind the deer’s shoulder). When I asked her what she gets out of bow hunting she said that it gives her some badly needed alone time and she loves the concentration and patience it takes, being outdoors, and the sense of accomplishment when she makes a kill. Amanda wanted to make sure that I understood that her family loves venison meat and they now only hunt what they will eat. She is not real strict when it comes to her diet, but tries to avoid fast food and loves chicken and salads. She said she is very much looking forward to the start of deer hunting season again this year. Her entire face just beamed when she was talking about bow hunting.
Other sports Amanda enjoys include horse back riding, 4-wheeling, baseball, basketball, fishing and rifle hunting. She loves both team and individual sporting activities. Team oriented sports provide her camaraderie and the ability to meet new friends. She loves the competitive spirits of both individual and team sports.
I asked her why she seems to like only outdoor sports. She replied that she hates being indoors and loves just being outside every chance she can get. She said she is already raising her son to enjoy a sporting lifestyle and feels that being outside and enjoying a wide variety of sporting activity keeps her in shape and allows her “to embrace the wonder of God’s world”. Amanda feels that participating in all these sporting activities brings her peace in her life and gives her a much better ability to deal with the everyday stress of today’s world and life in general.
I came away from my conversation with Amanda feeling that she is very bright and squared away young single mom. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with her.
Martin Bell lives in Big Sky, Montana and heads the ski academy at the very exclusive private community called The Yellowstone Club. He is 43 years old, married, and has two daughters. Martin has been a sportsman ever since he can remember. For those of you who do not recognize his name, let me refresh you on some of the history.
He was born into a competitive sporting Scottish family in Dec of 1964 at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. He started skiing at age 6 with his younger brother close behind him at the Karl Fuchs’ Struan House Ski School in Cairngorm, Scotland. His racing career started at age 8 and he went on to become the all time most successful skier in United Kingdom history. Some of his achievements include the following:
1. He was on the World Cup circuit from 1979 to 1995
2. Martin went on to compete in the downhill at 4 Winter Olympic games (1984, 1988, 1992, and 1996) and finished 8th in the 88 Calgary Olympics
On the World Cub Circuit, he has achieved 8 top 10 finishes, more than any other British skier. He won 4 national ski titles.
3. He represented Great Britain in 5 World Championships (1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, and 1993)
4. In 1986 he placed 5th in the World Cub race at Are, Sweden
The bottom line, Martin Bell is the best UK skier ever and I had the opportunity to sit with him for over one hour and talk about his version of the sporting life. Here is what I found out:
1. He grew up camping, hiking, and skiing
2. He also really enjoyed track and field events and international football a great deal
3. He loves skiing to this day for a variety of reasons including the serenity that he gets from looking out and seeing nature and not buildings everywhere…it is very peaceful
4. He loves to hike, run, mountain bike and he goes to the gym only when it is too cold outside – his wife Laura says that she will catch him on a really cold day lifting his ski boots to get some upper body exercise…she just cracks up
5. He likes ski racing because it is a hybrid between individual and team sports – it is all up to you and how you do, but you still have the comradery of being part of a team.
Conventional team sports are fun somewhat frustrating – he does not like to depend on others
6. When Martin is exercising, he feels alive and can work out his current frustrations – it is almost cathartic in nature
7. He does not watch his diet, but says the great thing is he has always liked eating healthy which included a lot of veggies and salads
8. A business partner and very close friend (Simon Carradan) and Martin developed a new ski aimed at the luxury tier of the ski market. These skies are state of the art, aimed at those who want the best ski and best brand, and will sell for prices starting at about USD$13,000. They will begin with three different skies including a pair for powder, a pair for all around, and a pair for groomed slopes.
9. As for his children, he will not force the sporting life on them, but will encourage them to participate in what ever sporting activities make them happy.
Martin knows beyond any shadow of a doubt that he will always be involved in a sporting life – it keeps him happy and sane and encourages others to find their passion outdoors and just do it! He knows he is happier and healthier because of it.
Michelle Blair is a 19 year old recent high school graduate living in Holdrege, Nebraska. Over the summer she is working selling sweet corn and at Pizza Hut, but in the fall will begin attending Hastings Community College, Hastings, Nebraska. She wants to study Human Services (social work).
Michelle is engaged to be married and feels she leads a very sporting lifestyle. In high school she played on the volleyball and track teams. Today she likes to go jogging (usually 1 or 2 miles every two or three days). Recently she has been going on long walks with her fiancee because it is both exercise and gives them a chance to really talk without all the distractions of their day to day lives.
Michelle loves to fish for anything she can catch and she is learning to hunt for deer. She loves to watch basketball, American football (both the pro’s and college), and also professional volleyball.
Why does she like a sporting lifestyle…. it keeps her body looking great, reduces stress, and she just loves being outside. When she walks or bikes she just loves looking at nature. She would definitely go to the gym, but based upon her income, she simply can not afford it at this time, but plans to in the future as her income increases.
If she could go to the Beijing Olympics this year she would definitely like to compete in the tract and field events. Middle distance running would be her event of choice. What place would she be content in finishing? She does not care, just to go would be an honour and her intention would be to have a whole lot of fun as she takes it all in!
She loves team sports because it gives her an opportunity to become close friends with others and loves the companionship. Although her fiancee is not overly athletic, she will encourage her future children to find their own passion for a sporting life and to pursue it because it makes Michelle very happy.
Brian Backer is 26 years old and obviously into a sporting lifestyle. I figured that out when I walked into a liquor store and saw him working behind the counter. He too has been bitten by the sporting lifestyle bug.
Although very small as a child, Brian goes to the gym 5 days a week for a 1.5 hour workout. Although he used to be thin and kind of wimpy, today he is 6’3” and weighs in at 265 pounds. When not in the gym, Brian is always doing what it takes to get his exercise in. He eats very healthy, takes vitamins, and would rather have 5 or 6 small meals per day. This allows the body to process the small amount of food more quickly and keeps his body fat down to a very acceptable level.
Brian also loves to fish. He is not really a big team sports kind of guy. He loves the individual competition aspect of his sport. He really likes fishing…..man against nature and you only have yourself to blame!
Brian is single and loving it. He would also love to meet a nice Chinese girl to date. He will not force his future children into a sporting lifestyle, but feels it will happen as they see how much fun and enjoyment Brian is having with his life long commitment.
No doubt, if Brian could go to the Beijing Olympics he would like to participate in weightlifting. It is his life and his passion. He would only be satisfied with 1st place or why go?
What does he get out of his sporting lifestyle?
· Staying in shape
· And it releases all the stress and strain he is currently going through
Brian knows that he will continue to live this sporting lifestyle for the balance of his life because he remembers when he was thin and unhappy and now everything has changed for the better!
That's it for now folks, later gators!