After over a year of silence I am once again writing a blog post. It is really quite shocking that it has been so long since my last post. I apologize for the silence! If you noticed from some of the posts leading up to this, I had been trying to do quite a bit. I ended up overwhelming myself and that is the primary explanation for the silence. I had taken far too many commitments and was flooded. But after quite a battle with it all, I am beginning to regain control– or rather I am finally submitting control to the Lord– and things have leveled out quite a bit.
I will try to give a quick recap of what has happened over the last year.
- I started dating an amazing girl (who has made an appearance on here previously when she let me bring my kayak into her classroom at The Children’s Center in Bethany and speak to her students.) Nov. 2011
- I bought a house…. (yes, my dad and I purchased a house – may have been overly ambitious but it happened.) Feb. 2012
- Blacked out from exhaustion… had to stop training for two week, and undergo a bunch of tests. Feb. 2012
- Won second place in the K1 1000m at the Olympic Team Trials, qualified for the Senior National Team (not Olympic), and U23 National Team. April, 2012 (I have sure relived this race a time or two over the last eight months.)
- Won a bunch of races at the Collegiate Nationals (7 all within a few hours of each other) and really screwed something up in my shoulder and haven’t been able to train on the water regularly since then.
- July 7, 2012 I proposed to Ashley Faye Baumann (She said Yes.)
- November 17, 2012 I got married to Ashley Faye Bond.
So today this finds me happily married; a Junior at Oklahoma City University studying Social Studies Education; and less fortunately, a crippled kayaker who’s training consists of physical therapy, running, spin biking, and physical therapy exercises. David Huslig has been amazing and has really helped me make a lot of progress over the last year, but I am still not fully able to train.
If you think that might be a little frustrating you are correct. It has been very difficult. I don’t know when I will be healed but I am hoping it will be soon enough to race this summer. I don’t mind not winning so long as I can give it my all on the water – something I cannot do right now.
I hope to give an account, over the next few months, of my return to health and training. My goal in this is to share the many ways the Lord has been good to me. Thus I will naturally include bits about Ashley and my life together and how we are growing. Marriage has been absolutely wonderful. The Lord is teaching me so much through Ashley and we are both growing closer to Him. Ashley has been very encouraging and prays very faithfully for my shoulder to be healed. Her prayers have mingled with those of many others and this has been a huge encouragement.
Please continue to pray for the complete healing of my shoulder and for a speedy return to the water.
Thank you all for reading! I leave you with a stanza from Anna Waring’s great hymn of Faith:
Father I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me,
The changes that are sure to come
I do not fear to see;
I ask the for a present mind
Intent on pleasing Thee.
Since my last post, just shy of two months ago a fair bit has happened. I left you all with an excited summation of the World Championships and thanksgivings for the wonderful blessings in my life. So, to catch you all up on what the Lord has been doing in my life lately, I’ll give you the run through.
I returned to OKC and hopped directly back into the routine of class and work and life. I took a much needed week off the water, and got caught up in my classes. After bumming around in a few of my friends rooms I got my housing situation worked out and ended up moving into the best rooming situation I could have dreamed of. I’m rooming with two acting majors and a rower, so we have two athletes and two artsy people – two cooks and two cleaners – two chill folks and two fast paced people and it’s been incredible! My roommates are Scott Jones, Brock Turner, and Nathan Goodrich and they’re all stalwart Christian guys. It has been so incredibly encouraging living with these guys.
My life has actually gotten busier than any other point. I’m taking fifteen hours of classes, working fifteen hours at Cuppies & Joe, training baseball players on Tuesday nights (more to follow), and training 20-25hrs a week. In between all the scheduled things, I’ve been cooking for myself, meeting with my new mentor, and living life with all of the wonderful people God has put in my life. For the first month and a half I was going strong but lately I’ve gotten a little fried. I need to make sure and let God do it all and not try to do it myself.
I mentioned that I’ve been training some baseball players on Tuesday nights, well it’s even cooler than it sounds. A friend of mine, Matt Floyd owns the company, Prodigy Sports OKC and it’s a training group for middle-high school aged baseball players to develop their skills and help them become the best baseball players they can be. But far more importantly, his idea behind it is discipleship and relationship. So I go to the gym, instruct them on their workouts, help them out with the mental side of sports, and lead them through a core workout, but ultimately my job description is to invest in these guys and point them toward Jesus. It has been an incredible blessing.
I’ve definitely hit “the grind” of training again. Time to push through and consciously decide to love the sport, even when it’s cold and painful. But even with through all the hard work and grind, I am still infatuated with the sport. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous lately, sunny and in the 60-80s with calm water.
I’ve also had some really cool media opportunities lately. Two weeks ago I was featured on the local Channel 4, in a little story about coming down from the Northwest to kayak in the middle of the country and how I work at a coffee shop and other fun stuff. It was a neat story and a great opportunity. Then that week I was also featured in a TV program called The Real Winning Edge, put on by Challenger Films Inc. They feature Christian athletes and their life and journey with their Savior. I really struggled with it a lot- why do they want to do a feature on me? But then I realized that it wasn’t on me at all, it was a feature on Jesus =) What a blessing to get to be a medium for telling people about Jesus!
In thirty minutes or so I am going to be speaking at a pediatric hospital/care center for handicap children in Norman, called the JD McCarty Center. I am so excited! I got to do this kind of thing twice this last summer and it was a remarkable blessing. Pray that the children will get joy out of this!
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma—If your perception of the Oklahoma River comes from your view of it from a car window then you’re missing something. The view these days is a lot better early in the morning when rowing teams and paddlers who actually live and train here take to the water just as the sun comes up. “We’re cherishing every second of this,” says paddler Cedric Bond.
Wow I had an incredible week. There is nothing like Sprint Kayak. I am in awe of my sport. The feats of strength, endurance, technique, determination, and power that I saw this week are unparalleled. Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to paddle a kayak, stop right now and thank the Lord for giving you such an opportunity. And anyone who has ever experienced Sprint Kayaking, don’t bother getting up off your knees, just live your live in constant gratitude. The craziest thing is that kayaking is just an extra gift God has given His children! If such gratitude is due Him for such a simple gift, how much more should those who know Him live their life in ceaseless gratitude. Haha and even better than that -if you are His, He is the source of that gratitude!
I am overjoyed to be a Christian, because I see the Creator in every stroke.
Looking back at these last three days, I have many highlights. I can’t say what I enjoyed the most, the K2 B Final 500m was a blast! We took 7th with our best time ever. I also really enjoyed the K1 200m. I made it past the Heat with a 4th place finish and even though I got last in my Semi-final I loved every second! David Petrovics did a great job stroking our K2 and I am so glad we got to race and train together this last month and a half.
But now looking forward, I have a much clearer view of what lies ahead. I can sum it up in two words: HARD WORK! I am going to lay it down every practice and if I’m not physically and mentally exhausted after every practice I’m not training hard enough. My Creator deserves nothing less than my absolute best and that takes complete focus every workout. I haven’t trained near hard enough – but finding my strength in my Redeemer – from now on I will.
I’ve said it before but I can’t say it enough, I am so grateful for the contributions of so many of you supporting me as I train and race. It is extremely humbling and it is so encouraging, that so many of you have faith in what I do.
Today was incredible! I saw several reigning Olympic Champions not make the A Final. There were at least 15 guys within a second of each other! The field for Sprint Kayak is so dense!
I am so excited to be apart of this sport! There are many sports that sit stagnant. I believe that as soon as the athletes stop progressing in a sport, that sport is not worth existing anymore! The sport of Sprint Kayak is so dynamic! Every year there are 5 guys breaking the last year’s world record!
This is such an incredible opportunity! Even though for some reason this sport isn’t popular in the United States, I am honored to be a Sprint Kayaker. The best sport in the World!
I am so motivated to train even harder than before!
That says it all! I’m just killing time till I can head to the start-line. I race tomorrow at 11 am (Hungarian time)! Root on TEAM USA! Follow my Twitter from the course and I’ll have an update here tomorrow night. There is supposed to be live streaming online at Szeged2011.com I haven’t found the exact link to the live stream but it will be up once the races are running.
I covet your prayers!
Thank you all so much for your support! A special thank you out to those who helped fund my trip over here. I can’t thank you enough!
Tomorrow morning we leave for Szeged. This is easily going to be the largest regatta I’ve ever been to. There is a good chance that there will be more spectators at this regatta than at all other regattas I’ve been to in my life combined. And that’s just one day of this four day regatta. I don’t know whether or not there will be internet there so if you don’t hear from me till Monday don’t worry- an update will be coming. I am extremely excited and actually a little nervous. This will be the best performance of my life. That’s the plan. Every stroke will be true, every stroke will be powerful and every stroke will be my best. Why because anything less “sacrifices the gift” and by giving my all I Glorify my Creator – which is more important than all the medals, glory, and acclaim the world can offer. Pray that I can do this!
I’ve been here in the small town of Pusiano, Italy for the last five days and am absolutely in love. There’s coffee everywhere and the food is both delicious and great fuel for training. I haven’t been anywhere I could so easily move too as here. Even the language is not that difficult. Between knowing Spanish and having taken some Latin, I can generally make out most of what is said. It is also one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, between the glassy lake, the Dolomite Mountains, the white houses with red roofs and the eighteen church steeples I can see from the lake- I think it may take the cake! That’s not mentioning all the Ducatis I’ve seen and how wonderfully efficient the European cars are.
As wonderful as all that is, the real reason I’m here is to get wicked fast before World’s next week! So far, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. David Petrovics and I trained together for about 3 weeks in Oklahoma City and fixed a number of kinks but we’d hit a plateau, we’d got as good as we could without a coach. Now we have Guy Wilding watching over us every practice and Shaun Caven and Stein Jorgensen have both helped us quite a bit with video review. We’ve been getting faster by leaps and bounds! Tomorrow morning we have a time trial so I’ll let you all know how the boat’s moving!
I am learning so much everyday! It is one of my favorite things to do- to perfect the talents given me from above. I thank God for every day I get to paddle!