Working out the steps

Oh No. Not another one about dance?
This one’s about Multiple Sclerosis. Again.

Overall my health and physical ability have been steadily declining. The decline is because of inaction.

Disabled But Not Really

(sloth and laziness and for sitting and writing and planning and getting all up in my mental for far too long. Here, mentally, at least I am not disabled. My mind for the most part still works.)

Possibly due to a range contributing factors that include time management, MS, experiences of low mood and high frustration.

Noticing Selma Blair stand on the Black and White Carpet with a cane earlier this year, brought to mind the significant journey I have been invited to take part in.

(Unwillingly. At times kicking off. If I were to be 100% honest!)

There has been resistance. Lots of resistance. As the Borg in Star Trek have stated ‘Resistance is Futile!’ And so acceptance has been my next begrudgingly shrugging shoulders move.

Core Work
I would say I am limping into this one, with balance issues, drop foot, lowered centre of gravity, weakness in the back and legs, not to mention the burning pain in what feels like the spinal column near to the pelvis. It’s been an experience of ever diminishing returns.

The aim of writing this piece is to explain what I have done to check and correct the downward health spiral I have been forced to look at.

I contacted a personal trainer that I know and an osteopath. They both put me through my paces exploring my limits, stretching me beyond them and explaining what has been happening to my body. They have both then followed the assessment with the support to help me blow past the limits that my body was attempting to put on me.

Hand Written by Anna Snow, a comprehensive breakdown of what exercises to work on

An example of Anna’s outline.

The MS Treatment
As a 2nd rounder of Alemtuzumab/lemtrada treatment, I had thought that the physical elements of Multiple Sclerosis had been checked off and put behind me. After years of neglect, my body has come back screaming and yelled “Ahem, what about me? Uh uh, uh, that’s right if you don’t pay attention over here it’s gonna be pain!”

Both Daniel (Osteopath) and Anna (PT) in their own way stated that
we should be
(that’s you out there reading these words and me)
putting more importance and time to making our bodies work better. Just 10 -15 minutes a day. For pain free movement.

Daniel even suggested I do yoga. Yoga? I have been thinking about attending a local class for about 2 years. My thoughts are to help increase my body’s flexibility and overall brain body connection. I will let you know how this goes. If and when it goes and if there any of the desired gains made.

Flip It
So the point of all of this is to invite you to take a few moments to reflect on what ails you. Spend some time putting right what is going wrong or has the potential to and get moving to make what troubles you most – better.

As a Consultant, Coach, Counsellor, Supervisor, Writer there is help available for every situation that you would like to tackle so make that enquiry and ask for the help to get better.

Exercise Routine

Daniel the Osteopath further exercises and stretches.

So what did Anna and Daniel do? Anna helped me to identify the root problem – which are my core muscles in my back and stomach areas. She put together some exercises and routines that focus on improving my core strength. The aim here was to improve overall stability, flexibility and strength. As an MS client I found her approach enabling and supportive.

Simple tasks like crunches or lateral planks were broken down and carefully explained with what the benefits of getting into these positions are. As a Personal Trainer (PT) Anna also observed my gait, eating and other exercises I was doing to make sure the routine she had planned was not going to compromise me or add to my physical output load for the day/week. Which would be counterproductive.

Daniel was equally supportive and informative however as an Osteopath his approach was hands on and caused some pain. Okay, hands up who likes prodding a bruise or massaging a sore muscle? Well if you do, this is what I experienced. There were shouts and yells and then serene moments as the muscles bones and tendons were coaxed back from atrophy to life once more. There’s a glute stretch that was performed on me that did all of the above.

Daniel was patient and explained the 4 steps he was going to take to assist me working it out and back to health. The walking assessment and then the assessment of the tender parts of the spine with touch. The muscles that support to gain a sense of what is going on were also carefully reviewed. Not much pain here. Stages 0-1. This part was like a rudimentary vehicle check.

Stages 2-4 Pain and release and sore relief.
This is the part where my legs were stretched and pulled and massaged to ease fluidity of movement. Ham strings and quads were focused on as were my calf muscles. All of this to resolve pain in the back?

Daniel’s Outline
Yup. It’s hard to believe.

The back is the highway for everything you are. It connects the upper body to the lower body. My lower back is where I have been experiencing a lot of pain. Disabling pain. Pain that simply won’t leave. Ibuprofen lightly touches it but doesn’t nullify it. The help of Anna and Daniel have helped a lot!

In short don’t leave getting in to shape until the last moment. When all that can be looked forward to is the end of, the bike ride, swim, row, pilates, kickbox, gym session, walk, sail, kayak, surf, climb, garden, football, basketball, netball, volleyball, badminton session, horse ride, cross country run, tough mudder assault courses. Find enjoyment whilst doing them.

Set small achievable targets and No Matter What it! Do it, sign up for that event be it a park run with friends and attend no matter what, or surf event in SA. The point, your wonderful life is counting on it.

So do it.

When you do, share what you find!

Further thought/practice

Science of Success Hack Your Bio-Chemistry

Tim Ferris The Art of Getting Things Done

TED Talks NPR The Big 5

When Coaching gets it Wrong

My first introduction to American football happened as a result of Grid Iron on Ch4. I was already an enthusiast of Basketball and Football became a new sport to invest time with and learn about. I enjoyed the UK based commentators attempt to over explain the rules and various decisions that occurred throughout the game. This was in the late 80’s.

Choice

Due to Colin Kaeparnick’s non signing with a team last season I chose not to watch any NFL games. I am vaguely aware of the winners of last season’s Super Bowl but am not as up to date with trades and new signings for this season. Netflix and Amazon have been my go to’s.

Offering my NFL starved eyes initially Friday Night Lights – then Last Chance U, All or Nothing, Undefeated, Coach Snoop and QB1. Marching Orders has been a late addition to my TV watching that I have been fascinated by. The show has little to do with football as they perform for themselves and in competition with other bands. Each Last Chance U features a marching band intro and I have been impressed with their discipline and timing.

Defining synchronicity and Timing and Discipline

Netflix show Marching Orders

Losing It

In my experience great leadership can lead teams to phenomenal successes and some devastating defeats. As a former Basketball Coach I recognise the want for excellence from all, all of the time. The reality is that excellence and perfection are not always possible, no matter how much it is wanted, worked for or at times wished for. A number of years ago I had a moment at a London Youth Games tournament when for 30 seconds I lost it with my basketball team. I lost sight of what we had come to do, play well, play for enjoyment and play as a team. The Hurricanes had worked so very hard to get to the games and the 1st game had been a great example of what I enjoyed about coaching. The first game was a narrow defeat but they had gained learning from the experience and looked to have fun throughout the game. I had felt that they were ready to take on any other team and play well.

A meme that inspires

Friday Night Lights Coach Taylor’s advice.

1st Quarter Defeat

The second game out they were losing to another team within the first few minutes of the 1st quarter by 15 – 2. Stunned, appalled and amazed at the swiftness the other team from Westminster were dispatching us with, I called a time out. I wanted to rally my team and interrupt the flow of the game. In the time out my words were incendiary and raw coming from a place of hurt, anguish, disappointment and guilt. My ire was intolerable and according to the team lifted the roof on Crystal Palace’s main hall and painted it an array of colours. My several words of profanity put me in reach of Last Chance U’s Buddy Guy and Jason Brown coaches.

Story Book

The need to perform well and win against insurmountable odds must be a chip that gets inserted into a coaches sub consciousness at some point during their lives. The Hurricanes had trained well. The drills we had covered over the months leading up to the London Youth Games I and my co coach believed would provide them with chances to play well, be versatile, flexible on offence and decisive on defence. The pain of disappointment came as I realised that for some this was to be their last youth games. That their Basketball playing potential was not going to be realised that day, or any other where I were to coach them. The reminder of the story book ending slipped out of sight that afternoon. But life as always continues.

Last Chance Who?

Last Chance University Season 3

2 Shows and Out

Season 3 of Last chance U has underwhelmed me. I enjoyed the first season, it offered a behind the scenes look at another coaches habits and team building capability. The Editing of the  episodes watched may have miss represented Coach Brown’s input with this season’s show.

In season 2, Buddy’s past crept in and derailed his attempts at claiming inter state championship victory. A punishing disappointment that he seemed unable to let influence his decisions and mood. Coach Brown in season 3 appears to have not read the coaches charter. I find it difficult to watch his players be screamed at repeatedly with no information to guide their overall improvement. The coaching staff do not get off lightly either as they are viciously hurled abuse at. My mental health antennae have turned to on and I am starting to see Coach Brown’s ire as unsavoury and dehumanising.  I had not foreseen that such poor management, poor leadership and an unstable personality type could rip a team apart as resolutely as Coach Brown’s had.

The Islander

I am dismayed at the latest instalment of Last Chance U, yes it was never supposed to be as neat and as sewn up as Friday Night Lights, however I held out for something redeemable. A quality to the calibre of Coach Brown that young men were willing to put their hearts minds and bodies on the line for. Initially the spark and committment and energy was there but as pressure mounted Coach Brown started to retreat into a concentric circle pattern that had him be isolated, unlikeable and lacking connectivity. Good leadership drives hard, has unrelenting standards, knows how far to push and be pushed and then offer to those who they work with all the accolades and praise when they achieve what they are due. Marching Orders band director Donovan Wells is a great example of a person who is willing to have vision and inspire others to achieve it and not lose the respect of those he is working with. Once the likeability and the ‘I will run through that wall for you coach’ is gone, the team is lost and the game is over before it even began.

The leader of the field team

Quarter Back #1

Leadership

To lead one should be willing to listen to all voices especially those that dissent. An element in disagreement  may perhaps with revision could support attainment of goals desired. I feel that a good leader, coach, counsellor, mentor, should be willing to be led. Leaders cannot know all, do all or be all. At times it would be best to sit still, listen and learn.

Some Losses

The Hurricane members that I am still in contact with have forgiven my ire and curse words of that then. I am thankful of their resilience and patience with me. It has become a “remember when Coach Mike…”

Laughing plays an important part in dislodging, dissolving and supporting growth. I saw little laughter in last Chance U season 3, unless at the expense of Coach Brown. I am happy that I didn’t permanently damage the Coach player relationship with my team. I lost my temper and not the team.

Some losses are too great…

Ru n

Part 2 arrived whilst I was writing part 1. Energy and inspiration can be like that at times. Arriving when attention is paid to other things.

Pt 2…

Metaphor of Running Underground

Run

Ru n

I thought we would
Forever run
Together like a river

Running
It’s bed
Never running dry

As if running were
A sport of
Joy, run

Like pain, red
As paint, tracked across
Streets after bucket

Splatter and pedestrians and
Traffic and pigeons
And dogs exhaust

The wet tacky for many
Many metres

A picture of running

Running River

Expiring effluvia, you
Left as I ran at
Full pace, a while

After letting me
Run beside
But eventually you tired

And ran on
Ran faster and faster
And faster

Could not keep up
Cresting the next
Hill and disappeared

Running on
Hoping that
You wait for

Me still, there
Where last I saw
You Run

You’ve gone and I
Run on:

Coming over the hill

Running a Mountain

Glad of the company
Once I had had

The paff paff
Paff
A soft comfort

Unlike when you
Were here
Running

At

My

Wise

Side