Archive for the Off Hours Category

Pac-10 Conference Awards

14 Mar Sho 1 Comment »

Just got back from LA after a quick trip to receive an award from the Pac-10.  The name of the award I received was called the Tom Hansen Conference Award, which is presented annually to two athletes (male/female) from each of the Pac-10 institute “based on the exhibition of the greatest combination of performance and achievement in scholarship, athletics and leadership.” (pac-10).  While the trip was fun and exciting, the combo of having to leave early to get there and being stuck at the airport due to rain delay on the way back, made it a pretty hectic trip.

@ SFO getting ready to leave for LAX

I thought that it was awesome that they held the presentation in conjunction with the Pac-1o basketball championships. The Pac-10 even comp’d our tickets to the games, but what was more exciting was that they had all of the medal winners walk out to the center of the court of the Staples Center and introduced us one by one.  The next day, they held an awards luncheon that included a slick video presentation for all of us.

Staples Center at night

@ the Oregon State/Washington game before they led us out to the center of court

The Pac-10 also put us up at the brand-spanking new J.W. Marriot, which was literally right across the street from the Staples Center.  What was great about the hotel was that it included a full-blown workout gym so I didn’t even have to miss my rehab while I was away for the trip.

However, the best part of the whole experience was not the hotel I stayed at or being invited to go see the basketball games.  Instead, it was getting the opportunity to meet all the amazing student/athletes, and being able to hear about their life-stories and the paths they took to get to where they are now.  After all, a bunch of these athletes have accomplished so much already.  For example, the medal winners included an Olympic gold medalist, a Walter Byers scholarship recipient, and several NFL and NBA players.  Being able to be around those guys helped me remember that regardless of what sport you play/compete in, in order to become great, there is never an easy way to the top.  Overall, it was a great trip, and it got me fired up.  I’m ready to get back to the daily grind and continue to work hard!

Me and the Conference Award Winners (man, I'm short!)

Quick pic w/ Oski the Bear before he ran into the bathroom. Looked for the Stanford tree but couldn't find him. Got nothing but love for Cal though. After all, I grew up in the area.

Good Catchin' Up!

Yesterday was a somewhat exciting day for me.  For those of you that did not know, I’ve been helping the Japanese community at Stanford as an English tutor for the last 5 years. The reason why yesterday was exciting was because the first “student” (it’s hard for me to call them students because they’re usually older than me) that I’ve ever worked with came back to Stanford to visit, and we had an opportunity to catch up.  It seems as though not much has changed over the last 5 years but it was fun to chat for a bit.  My “first student” is working as a professor at a famous university (Tsukuba) in Japan.  As for me, I’m still doing the same thing, which is training.  The only big thing that’s changed since five years ago, is I’m no longer a student!

Looking back, I’ve worked with so many different people, and overall, it’s been an awesome experience.  Most of the people that come to Stanford to study are super established people in Japan.  I’ve worked with many professors, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, among a bunch of other people with respectable professions.  The only sad part is that they’re usually only here for a short period of time.  Most of them go back to Japan after a year or so to return to their work.  Hopefully they’re all doing well and have been able to catch up on my life through this website!

The Games in Full Swing

It’s already been about 2 months since the collegiate season started and we’re moving into the second half of the season.  In fact, this weekend is the final home meet (a.k.a. Senior Night) for the Stanford Men’s Team.

Can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I last competed for the Stanford team.  Things have been great though, especially because I’ve been able to stay involved with the team as a volunteer assistant coach.

Anyway, the winter Olympics is also in full swing.  I’ve been particularly interested in the life stories of the athletes and the different paths they took  to get to the Olympics.  Most of them had to overcome multiple obstacles in order to get to where they are and it’s been really inspiring.  I’m realizing more and more that there’s almost never ever an easy way to get to the Olympics, and that the journey is almost as, or more important than the final result.  Watching and reading up on these life stories is making me really fired up for the London Games in 2012.

First thing’s first, though.  I have to get completely healthy again.  Although I’m not 100% released to do full gymnastics yet, I’m inching my way there.  The final challenge is getting my left leg as close to the right leg in both size and strength.  I’ve been ramping up my workload in physical therapy and I’ve been enjoying the ride.  As my coach at Stanford used to say (and still does), “Strength Comes in the Struggle!”

Safe Travels!

The Pacific Coast Classic just finished yesterday, and as expectd, it was an excited meet.  At the end of the day, the U-21 Japanese team finished 1st ahead of Stanford, similar to last year’s results.  The thing I’m most impressed about the Japanese gymnasts is that they really know how to turn up the intensity when it’s go-time.  Sometimes if you watch their practices, it might look like they’re not fully prepared, but come time for the competition, they look a different athlete.  Anyway, despite some falls on the parallel bars, the Japanese team took the title over the Stanford team.

Me and the U-21 Team

After the meet, we had a chance to take them back to Stanford campus and hang out for a while.  For most of the night, I played the interpreter so that both teams could communicate.  It was a great time and I hope the Japanese guys made a lot of great memories during their time here.  Anyway, they leave to go back to Japan tomorrow and wish them safe travels.

Another great part about the weekend was the Champions Invite finished successfully.  It was a successful competition and it was great to see a lot of teams come out to the competition.  Definitely can expect the meet to grow over the next couple of years.

Pickin' Things Up

With my cold getting better, I’m off to Livermore tomorrow to help coach the kids at JDR Gymnastics at the Gold Country Classic.  For those of you that don’t know, the head coach of JDR Gymnastics, JD Reive, is also the assistant coach for the Stanford Men’s Gym Team.  Because the competitive season for the younger kids and the college guys overlap, I try and help out whenever I can.  I enjoy it though.  It takes me back to the days when I was a little kid.


The cool thing about Gold Country is that there is a college session as well.  During tomorrow night’s session, Stanford and Cal will go head-to-head in another Bay Area battle.  The good thing about these meets is that the younger kids could get a glimpse of what NCAA gymnastics is all about.  This is great considering the number of gymnasts and clubs across the country has been dwindling over the past couple of decades.  Whatever to keep the popularity up right?  I wonder what it would’ve been like to be doing gymnastics when practically every high school had a gym program (could anybody tell me about this)?  That would’ve been awesome.

It was a pretty slow week for me especially with getting sick but I’m hoping to pick it back up starting this weekend.  Plus the Japanese team is coming this Sunday to train for a couple days at Stanford before going across the bay to compete at the Pacific Coast Classic next weekend.  A bunch of my friends are coming and I can’t wait to see them!

Cold: Go That Way ===>

For the last day I’ve been in hibernation.  I’m guessing it’s that time of the season but I caught a cold and I sound as though I ate a frog.  It’s a bummer but I’m definitely getting better.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow though.  I’ll see the doctor for a check-up and I’m hoping that there will be some good news involved.  It’s been a little over six months since I had my ACL surgery and I’m hoping to get released for no-restriction, 100% gymnastics.  We’ll see what he says though.  One thing is for sure.  The knee is getting much stronger.  I’ve been working with my physical therapist twice a week and I’m starting to see more muscle developing around my knee/thigh.  Feels like I’ve come a long way from the days when my leg looked like a toothpick.  More training is needed though.  With my cold much better, it’s back to the gym again tomorrow.

Observing This Time Around

It was another busy week for me, both in and out of the gym.  The combination of my part-time tutoring job, getting settled down after coming back from Japan, and practices have kept me running around the past few weeks.  The fact that it’s also competition season is making things just a bit more hectic.  I’m pretty much on-the-go every weekend with either coaching or judging.  In fact, I just came back from judging at a local competition a little while ago.

However, the big thing that happened this week was that the Winter Cup Challenge took place.  For us, US gymnasts, there are two big domestic meets every year.  The Winter Cup Challenge is held every February, while the US Championships takes place every August.  Both competitions serve as re-ranking meets for the national team.

Unfortunately, given that I’m still rehabbing my knee, I was not able to participate this time around.  After all, I have not had enough time since the surgery for me to be safely competing again.  My coach and I figured that the best thing for me to do right now is to continue to keep the big picture in mind and take the time to fully heal up before returning to competition again.  Our expected return is in the summer for the US Championships.  Despite not being able to compete, the fact that the Winter Cup took place had a fairly large impact on me.  After reading the meet report online, I got even more motivated about returning to the floor again.  While I’m anxious about returning, I have to keep in mind that I need to stay patient and not get ahead of myself .  Nevertheless, training over the next couple of months will be very exciting.

NCAA Championships 2009

Was looking around on YouTube and actually found  some videos from NCAA Championships last year.

I think that this is a 8 part series so my p-bar routine is cut off but you would be able to find the whole thing if you searched for the username: collegegymvids2009

YouTube Preview Image

Stanford Open Concludes

After three full days of competition, Stanford Open 2010 is finally over.  It was a busy weekend, but as always, I had a blast!  There are many good things about the competition but I have to say that the very best thing about the whole thing is being able to watch the kids compete.  Every time I watch them, they remind of what gymnastics is all about.  The most important thing about gymnastics is to continue to enjoy the process no matter the result.  While it’s easy to forget about all of this when the going gets tough and things do not go as planned, I am always reminded when I watch the “young ones.”  This was a good thing for me as I make my way back to 100% after my knee injury at the end of summer!

I also wanted to say a quick thanks to all the people that helped me promote my website and my journey to the Olympics.  It was great seeing familiar faces and meeting a bunch of new people over this weekend, and I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to be a part of this close-knit community.  I felt so much support from so many people and all of this will turn into motivation as I train and make my push towards 2012!  Thanks again and please continue to check back in for updates about my training, competition, and life outside of the gym!

Stanford Open Weekend!

It’s been a really busy weekend for me.  Just got back from Day Two of the Stanford Open (there’s three days of competitions in all) but I’ve gotta say that I’ve been having a blast being able to coach, judge, and watch some high-level/entertaining performances! Like I’ve said before, this meet started waaaaay back when I was just a junior gymnast on the Stanford Club team (JDR Gymnastics today) so it’s always fun for me to see how much it has evolved over the years to become one of the biggest competition on the west coast.

Banner from the Stanford Open

As always it’s been great to see a bunch of familiar faces.  I’ve gotten to know a lot of the kids through coaching at clinics, as well as judging these past few years, so it’s been great to see them working hard and competing well.  It’s also been fun to catch up with the judges and coaches.  The great thing about the gymnastics community is that it’s so close-knit.  A lot of us have been involved with this sport for a long time so we are incredibly close.  The biggest surprise for me though was seeing my old teammate/roomate from the Olympic Training Center, Grant Osborne.  We were together when we were just teenagers so we’ve known each other for a while.  Anyway I totally didn’t expect to see him here, and as a judge!  Nevertheless, it was awesome to be able to catch up with him and learn that everything is going well with him.

Me and Grant!

For the competition side, the NCAA session on Saturday night is definitely one of the most exciting.  This is because the best junior gymnasts from the Fridays sessions have the opportunity to compete against the college guys.  Today, Stanford ended up finishing ahead of Cal Berkeley, however, both teams were resting their best guys due to injuries/preparing for a big competition next week, so both squads weren’t at full force.  It’ll be exciting to see them towards the end of the season though when they have the A-Teams going head-to-head!

Anyway, one more day of judging tomorrow.  I’ll be there the whole day but it should be a fun one.  Thanks to everyone that’s come up to me and given me words of encouragement.  Thanks also to everyone that’s purchased a patch to support my journey to 2012!!!