Monday, October 31, 2011

"Legends are born in October" -Baseball World Series Quote

It seems like God tends to enjoy displaying His power and glory by using average people to do extraordinary things. He loves a good underdog story. After all, He used a small shepard boy named David to defeat a giant warrior and He used Gideon to lead a tiny army to a huge victory.

I've just had one of those experiences where the only possible expalaniation to my underdog victory is simply God's graceful awesomeness. Let me explain:

Bobsledding is set up kind of like baseball. Just like professional baseball has the minor leagues, bobsledding has the Americas Cup. Then you have Major League Baseball which is an entirely different ballgame, and the equivilent to MLB in bobsledding is the World Cup.

It didnt seem like there was a chance in the world for me to make the World Cup Team this season. Especially considering that I am viewed as the smallest and weakest athlete in the womens bobsled program. So when I was asked to go on the Americas Cup tour after Push Championships in September, I said YES! I was pretty stoked about it. Heck, I even quit my job for it.

But I wanted more. When I came to Lake Placid for Team Trials in early October I decided not to accept the expectations set for me. I knew I wasn't going to have many chances to prove myself and that when my opportunity came I had to make every moment count.  Afterall, I had nothing to loose.

I made the most of my opportunities, and praise the Lord, I was moved up to the National World Cup Team! The only possible explanation for all of this is God. Its all because of His grace and I truely believe He has placed me on this team for a reason. According to the bobsled world, I was not supposed to be on the National Team this season. However one thing is for sure, you can expect the unexpected with God.

There is still a long road ahead. The dream is not finisished and there is still work to be done. I don't know how long or far this bobsled road will last, but as long as I'm following Christ it will be an amazing adventure.

If you've seen the movie "The Rookie" then you've basically heard my story.  Just like in the movie, I was a coach who taught my athletes to dream big. Then I left my girls for my dreams. I just pray that others are motivated by my experience.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Curve 4...

We went to check out some skeleton races this past weekend. This is a skeleton athlete flying through curve 4, the famous curve where I crashed.

Thankfully my arm is healing fast. I even got back on the track last night and took two trips down the track. God is good!

Monday, October 24, 2011


If you haven't seen the movie "Miracle", based on the true story of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team, you are missing out. I posted a movie trailer below. I nearly cry just from watching this preview. The movie combines so many memories from my experience on the Women's Football National Team with my bobsled dreams for the present and future.

The amazing true life story took place right here in Lake Placid and this past weekend I went to check out the rink where it all went down. It was awesome to say the least.

I also got to check out the Olympic museum.  It was humbling to see exhibits dedicated to several of my bobsled coaches and teammates that I have been working with. It was also a  good reminder not to take a second of my time here for granted.

Friday, October 21, 2011


It's hard to believe that I have been in Lake Placid, NY for almost two weeks now. I feel like a college kid again; living in the dorms and spending hours hanging out in the cafeteria joking with freinds. However, the best part is that this is not college. This is the Olympic Training Center and I don't go to class, I bobsled!

In my last post I said that Gods timing is perfect. That has most definitly been proven true over the past week! Due to a short amount of bobsled drivers and a whole lot of brakemen, I have only taken two runs from the top of the mountain this season. Understanding the circumstances I knew I had to make every opportunity count, and glory to God, somehow I did. After the first two weeks of training, I currently have the second fastest start times out of all the U.S. Women this season. I have to give all the credit to God, becase none of this has been by my own ability. Plus, there is still alot of work to be done. I'm just trying to take this day by day, and enjoy every moment.

Wednesday night was pretty wild. I was taking a run with one of the best bobsledders in the world, Elana Meyers. In the first three curves I thought things were going as smooth as a bobsled run can go. Then all of a sudden I realized my head was scraping along the ice. Next the sled was completely upside down, then  we were on our side again and I was just struggling just to try and get back in the sled. Apparently this went on for almost a minute and for about 3/4 of a mile, down a mountain, on ice, at very high speeds, and through lots of gravitaional pressures. It was insane. Elana did a great job of repoisitoning herself so that she could turn around and hold me in the sled. Eventually the sled came to a stop the emergency workers immediately pulled us out and began to make sure we were okay. I just had to lay on the ice for a second and asked, "what was my start time?". All I can say is that this epic crash was definitely worth the start time.

Glory to God we both survived without any major injuries. No concussions, no broken bones, only a burn on my left shoulder. That's right, a burn, the friction of the speed of the ice along my shoulder actually melted my skin. Don't worry folks, the medical staff has been taking great care of it. And after all, its just a part of a day in the life of a bobsledder.

The burn on my left shoulder.

Here is a video from the view of a German bobsled pilot on our track here in Lake Placid. As a brakeman, I don't get to see this view, however Wednesday night I got to experience it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rain Check...

I arrived at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center on Monday afternoon with hopes of jumping right into sliding. However warm weather and rain have been delaying the opening of the track. This has left all of the luge, skeleton, and bobsled athletes anxious for colder weather.

After much delay, we finally got some sleds on the track last night (Thursday). Opening Day had finally arrived! We have a rotation for brakemen that includes recovery/off days. Last night happened to be my off day, so I helped out with the sleds and just tried to soak up as much bobsled knowledge as possible.

Unfortunately it's raining again today and sliding is once again postponed. It has been frustraiting waiting around for days to get on the ice. I just try to remind myself that Gods timing is perfect and that I will get plenty of opportunities throughout the season. So until my time to shine arrives I'll be preparing to push fast by sprinting and lifting.

-Mt. Van Hovenberg Sliding Track at Sunset-

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


This bobsled adventure quickly got to the point where I had to make a decision.  It wasn't fair to keep leaving my girls for extended periods of time to bobsled; and I wasn't going to get any further in bobsledding unless I committed myself to it full-time. Deciding between coaching at Augusta High School or pursuing my dream as a Bobsledder was probably one of the hardest decisions I have had to make.

This school year had started out a little more frustrating than normal so it was easy to find reasons to choose bobsledding. But I didn't want to make excuses and focus on the negative. So I started to look for reasons to choose Augusta over New York. I found about 15 of them - just pull out any lady devil roster and you will see the reasons clearly listed.

Saying that I had the privilege of coaching the best high school girls basketball team in the state of Arkansas would be an understatement. I'd take these girls up against any high school team in the nation. Most coaches spend their entire careers waiting to get a group of girls like I have. They are young but experienced, unselfish on the court, and they love to play defense. Not to mention, these girls can just flat out play ball. But that's not what makes this group special. Its not their talent and potential. Its the fact that I simply love them like they are my own children. They have grown on me in ways I never expected or imagined. Although I hope I have made and impact on each of their lives, they have all made a great impact on my life as well.

But then I realized my reasons to stay, were actually reasons to leave. Ever since my very first day at Augusta High I have been teaching these girls to dream big, take risks, work hard, and to go out and conquer the world. What kind of a lesson would I be teaching them if I didn't do that myself? Will they learn more from hearing me preach everyday, or will they learn more by witnessing me take a leap of faith?  I feel exactly like Jim Morris (they made the movie "The Rookie" about him) who left his high school baseball team to follow his dream in professional baseball. I just hope my story has a Hollywood ending.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In the beginning...

Many people have been wondering how a girl who claims to be from California but lives in Arkansas got into bobsledding. I'd like to say that the simple answer is that I dream big dreams and follow them. But the reality is that God is faithful and He seems to enjoy giving His children the desires of their hearts, especially when those desires are used to spread His glory.

I have wanted to give bobsledding a try for what seems like forever. I don't know what exactly triggered this desire. Maybe it was the movie Cool Runnings, maybe it was watching the Olympics on TV, or maybe it was a little bit of both. I do remember one particular instance during my senior year of high school when my dream was solidified and I started to tell everyone that I was going to be a bobsledder someday. Of course everyone thought I was crazy and told me it wasn't going to happen, but I didn't listen. After all, the two ladies I had just watched win the first ever women's bobsled gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake Games did it. I was hooked.

I did my research over the years. I sent my athletic information into the Bobsled Federation, but nothing ever came of it. I planned to go to a tryout, but it never happened. After I graduated college I figured that my athletic days were over so my bobsled dreams started to fade away. And I just tried to keep my athlete days alive by following my football dreams (and that is a story for another day).

Then God brought me to Augusta High School (also a story for another day), where I am the Head Girls Basketball Coach and a PE Teacher. I started to work towards being the best coach possible and trying to make a difference in my athlete's lives. I was ready to completely retire from competition myself and focus on becoming a winning coach. Then during my first year of coaching, when I least expected it, I received an email about applying for the Women's Tackle Football National Team. Glory to God I made it! Through that experience I realized that maybe there was still some juice left in this old washed up athlete and maybe there was a bigger purpose in all of this. However at that point Bobsledding had almost completley fallen off the radar.

Then in my second year of coaching, I was spending a Sunday night doing what most coaches do: watching film and getting ready for our big games that week. When all of a sudden, something randomly popped up on my Facebook newsfeed. I must have clicked the "like" button on some bobsledding pages the year before when I was watching the 2010 Vancouver Games. The "Seeking Future Olympians: US Bobsled and Skeleton" Facebook page said something along the lines of "desperately seeking female brakeman". I think my heart skipped a beat.

It had been 8 years since I watched those Salt Lake Games in High school. And 6 years since I tried to try out for the team. I thought I was retired. But next thing you know I was e-mailing Olympic Bronze Medalist Elana Meyers about Bobsledding. And soon after I was in the back of a bobsled and hanging out at theOlympic Training Center.

But really, at that point I was still set on coaching. Still set on leading my girls to a State Championship. Bobsledding was just kind of another fun adventure.

That was last March. Since then I've been up to the Olympic Training Center for a combine, and then to compete in the National Push Championships. And now it's looking like I may be able to make one last go at this. It's crazy how things happen when you least expect them. Oh, and those two ladies that I talked about winning the gold in Salt Lake, I had the honor of competing against one of them (Vonetta Flowers!) at push championships.

I'm still very far away from my Olympic Dream. The truth is that it is not very likely for anyone to get there, much less me. But I'd be lying if I said that wasn't still my goal. And waking up every morning at the Olympic Training Center seems to be a step in the right direction. So next week, I'm headed to New York for hopefully a while. We have National Team Trials, and then it looks like I will be headed off as a brakeman on the Americas Cup Tour.

Live the Dream!