Tuesday, August 23, 2011


A lot has happened during this month of August including a handful of things that were completely what I would like to call...fate. Since returning home from the Western Canada Summer games (with the gold, might I add) I have taken my life and completely turned it upside down. Not to say that the way it was before was necessarily a bad thing but this is something different and offers me an opportunity to develop in other areas of my life and career.

I am on indefinite hiatus with the National team and will not be competing in Mexico at the Pan American games. Unfortunately, I felt a need to return home and focus on other areas of my life. Fortunately, opportunities arose almost faster than I could have even hoped for. I have been accepted to take on the role of the Communications and New Technologies Assistant at the University of Victoria, home of the UVic Vikes...aka my second home.

I couldn't be more thrilled to not only be working in a field that I am so passionate about but to also be back in the Vikes family helping ramp up support for a University that gave me so much. UVic has been more than instrumental in my life and successes over the years. I dedicate so much of my success to my career at UVic and in fact, that experience is my measuring stick. The bar was set so high when I was at UVic that so far no other team or program has matched what I felt like coming out of that program. It's a pretty great feeling to be back there with that "family."

It's going to be a tough transition going from a physically working "job" as an athlete to a more office and hands on 9-5 type job! Either way, it's going to be what I make it. So, I am excited to work with new and familiar faces, learn A LOT and have fun covering sports and doing what I love!

I am not sure how prominent this blog will be as I am not currently training or reporting for the National team but I will do my best!

For now check out some of the stuff I will be posting throughout the upcoming months at www.govikesgo.com

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hot, hot heat in Kamloops!

This week in Kamloops has already flown by. Tonight is our last night in the TRU residences and tomorrow is our final game. We played Saskatchewan (9-0), Manitoba (7-0) and Alberta (3-0) already and tomorrow we will play Alberta again for the Gold Medal! It's very exciting to be back at my fourth multi-sport games, second as a coach. BC and Kamloops has done a fantastic job of hosting. The venue has been spectacular and all the volunteers even more spectacular.

Last night caught up with an old friend, fellow Vike and Olympic super star Steph Dixon and we caught up for an hour or so out on the patio of our residence. She was swimming at UVic (and for Canada) while I was at UVic and we were on Varsity council and volunteered for numerous community events together. She recently took a job and is now coaching swimming full-time in the Yukon. She was here coaching them at the WCSG! It was so insightful and inspiring to talk to someone who has achieved so much in life and still has so much more room to grow. I loved picking her brain because I feel like she really understood where I was coming from. We talked about how others see athletes and olympians and put them on some sort of social pedestal when they win medals. It's not just about winning medals and the sport though. It's about all the little moments and the journey towards those final moments - win or lose. I think it's something that only those that have journeyed it will fully understand. Stepping down from a sport is not a decision the world can understand. It has to be for you and those around you that truly support you, will. It was just a casual conversation about sport, careers, boyfriends, school and the future. It will be a conversation that I know I will remember, though. Sometimes you need someone to humble you and she sure did that for me. Being an athlete is one step in a person's life and career. It's not the only step. I can't wait to see what the future holds for both her and I! :)

Our team had this afternoon off and the games hosted a carnival outside and it ended up being a blast! There were a lot of games, activities and even a great magic show. We are getting ready for the big gold medal game tomorrow and then its an awesome bus ride to Vancouver and a ferry the next morning home!

TEAM BC looking good in BLUE for their game at Hillside Stadium, Kamloops.

This is the most sought after pin at the WCSG and Steph gave me hers in return for a pair of awesome Team BC Shades.

The view from our residence of the River / downtown area. So gorgeous. 

spotted: wolf at TRU campus

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Who Rocks the House?

I took a 3.5 hour bus ride yesterday from Burnaby to Kamloops for the Second Week events at the Western Canada Summer Games. I was asked a few weeks ago to assistant coach the U18 BC team at this event and so far everything is looking pretty good. We had a good bus ride to Kamloops and the venue looks spectacular. We are at Thompson Rivers University playing at Hillside Stadium on rubber based turf. It's pretty hot here but not nearly as hot as last week, so we're told.

The field hockey games start tomorrow with BC kicking off against Saskatchewan at 8:30am. The girls are getting up at 5:45am to do their morning jog and stretch. It's going to be a very long day because we also play again in the afternoon.

We had a team skit night tonight to get the girls bonding and laughing. I know I certainly enjoyed it. Like any multi-sport games there is food available around the clock and that's pretty much keeping me content. It's hard to fit work outs in and around the girls' schedule but I seem to be managing. Also, there was a Team BC coaches recognition ceremony tonight where some past-Olympians were present as coaches and several familiar faces including my soccer coach from when I was 8 years old!

I love the multi-sport atmosphere and even more the TEAM BC atmosphere!

I look forward to game 1 tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Personal Finance for the Elite (Canadian) Athlete

PF for the Elite (Canadian) Athlete – Part 1: PF Overlook

This is the start of a potential blog thread between myself and my cousin, Krystal, a very popular personal finance blogger at www.givemebackmyfivebucks.com and www.moneyville.ca
I got this idea because after reading several of her blog entries. I’ve realized that so many people can relate to her situation. Unfortunately, for me, being a “professional athlete” as a career, hardly puts me in the same financial categories as her. So, I thought I would lay it out for the world to see and then get Krystal’s advice posted in response. Once she gives me some advice, I plan on continuing to write about how those tips help me and impact my situation.

Pay or Passion?
I can’t think of very many people that would turn down the opportunity to represent their country in a sport at the highest levels. You’re looking at a chance to head to the Olympics and participate in highly respected events such as the Commonwealth Games, the Pan American Games, World Cups and World Championships! Who wouldn’t want that? As ideal of a life as it seems, it has its (financial) draw backs. In a sport like field hockey, it is hard to really consider this as a career since we don’t get paid much, have little to know sponsorship and three quarters of the country still calls our sport “grass hockey.” (It’s played on turf now people!!) Anyway, Sport Canada offers AAP carding money to all nominated athletes. You will either get Senior carding at $1500/mo or, in my case, you get Development carding at $900/mo and than all depends on how long you are carded for – set by the coach. Since we are sport with little money, our NSO (Field Hockey Canada) actually “taxes” us levies so that carding money is never as good as it seems. The one great thing about AAP carding and AthletesCan funding is that you can put money away for Post-secondary Education and you can get your cell phone plan paid for. Those are two high-cost expenses that do pay off in the end. Regardless, you have little time for part-time work and you have to rent a place in Vancouver ($$), close to UBC ($$$$$). So, it’s pay to play and although we are passionate about representing Canada sometimes, you have to step back and really look at the pros and cons.

As an elite athlete (in the sport of field hockey) your biggest expenses are rent, food and transportation. Sounds pretty standard, doesn’t it? I am currently in a two-bedroom basement suite that houses myself and two team mates. Now, my roommates share a room and altogether we were paying $1595. That’s over $500 each and about how much I can handle. I get $900 a month, some of which is going to Field Hockey Canada ($300 Bi-monthly) as part of our levy agreements (mandatory). As much as I would love to play the First-Year University card and eat KD for breakfast, lunch and dinner, that is just not acceptable. Our bodies are our careers. Our nutritional requirements up the cost of our grocery bills for things like: FibreOne Cereal, Liberte Greek yogurt, Soya Milk, organic produce etc. Eating healthy is not cheap. There are ways around it but you’re looking at definitely breaking even. Don’t forget to tack on other expenses, in my case, gas for my car, parking at the field or equipment.

I am very proud of myself because I have done a lot of work in this category of my PF. First of all, bursaries and scholarships that were supposed to go towards University were able to go straight into savings thanks to our AAP money covering the majority of my Bachelor of Science degree. In addition, I spent just over $200 to put together 109 sponsorship packages that highlighted myself, my team and my goals as a national team athlete. These packages were sent nation-wide requesting one of three levels of sponsorship per year for three years leading up the 2012 London Olympics. Thanks to Olympian Anna-Marie De Zwager (ex-field hockey player and Olympic rower), I was able to get these packages out last year in a few short weeks and get a response soon after. Penn West Exploration, of Calgary, signed on to sponsor me $1000/mo for three years in support of my campaign to 2012. So, my revenue is basically my Penn West Sponsorship money, my AAP carding money, savings from University scholarships, and any contract money I get from graphic, web or media work or coaching/umpiring.

Personal Life Financial Decisions
My savings post-University are not allowed to be touched and have been in savings for a while now. Recently, I decided to invest it in real estate. Call me a first time home (condo) owner now at age 24! Maybe not quite yet. I’ve only put a quarter of the down payment down but I’ve signed some official documents and had a mental break down about money so, I think that about qualifies me. Without that back up savings, I’m going to be tight for extra cash for living since I have to afford my living expenses while playing with the national team (sans job) and also worry about affording my next 3 installments of my down payment. In addition, I’ll have to apply for a mortgage before 2014 and somehow need to show that I am financially stable enough to handle that. It’s frightening now but I am very confident for the future and what it has in store for me. So, I'm doing alright but of course, no where near where I'd be had I been working and saving the past 5 years like a normal person. I don't regret playing for Canada but looking forward now, I'm starting to contemplate my next life decisions based on my financial future. Keep in mind, I've done a lot of hard work to generate sponsorship money and get flexible contract work. Several athletes on the team either have help from parents, work part-time, live at home, etc.

That’s the ground work for my initial look at it. I would like to write more about day-to-day expenses/revenue not just for myself but more about my team. First, I want to hear some advice from Krystal!

Krystal's Personal Finance Blog

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My week of R&R is almost up and it has still somehow been quite busy.  I took 3 or 4 days to enjoy being at home and spending time with family, friends and of course, Leo! I took Leo to Parker Beach last week and he had a blast in the water. I bring a great water toy for him to retrieve but of course he just wants other dogs' toys! Anyway, he really enjoyed the hot weather and the cool water and I wish I could go to the beach every day with him!

I was also experimenting with some of the camera apps on my iPhone (Hipstamatic, Instagram, Pro HDR) and took a cute photo of Dan's cat "Tank" and also behind the scenes at the Pizzeria Prima Strada in Cook street village. It's no Da Michele in Italy but it's pretty close!


This week I returned to Vancouver to catch up on some MORE hockey. I was umpiring at the Under 16 Canadian National Championships - boys and girls! I did three men's games and got rated so that now I am a Regional umpire! That means higher certification, more money and brings me closer the Canadian rating. So, I've been really busy umpiring and learning all the technicalities behind the games. In between umpiring I have been busy coaching the Western Canada Summer Games BC team. The girls are so talented that I am really excited to see them perform in Kamloops next week.

I'm heading home tomorrow night just for a day or two to get a few things done before heading off to Kamloops. This 22 day break has sure sped by really quickly! Next week we get our new training programs from our trainer, Jason. I'm a little nervous but also really excited to get started!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Home for some R&R

I've finally made it back to the island after probably my longest stint from home for awhile now. We finished off our series against Japan yesterday with a 4-0 loss to Japan. We have a lot to work to do as a team but playing a 9th ranked team in the world gives us a lot of exposure to things we need to work on. It's exciting to see the road that we can be moving forward down.

The game went well in the second half. We generated a bit more attack this game than the previous two and we held them to 1-0 in the second half. They had 3 quick goals in the first half that we choose not to re-live at the moment.

I'm really happy to be home for a few days to see family and friends but mostly just get the R&R I've been waiting for or my body has been waiting for...

I'm going to take a few days off and do nothing... but probably eat some good food... and then I'm going to get back on the fitness train on Monday, the 8th! I'm off to Kamloops on the 10th with the Western Canada Summer Games BC team and so, I'll get to do some acclimatization training there while coaching.

That's all for now :) Short and sweet.. off to get that much needed rest... Have to say though, I"m so happy to be back playing!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rolling in the Deep

Entry title comes from one of my favourite songs right now, Adele's "Rolling in the Deep", and it sort of fits with what's been happening with the team right now. I'm not sure how to describe it but when is Canada ever going to catch a break and jump on a hot streak? We're forever trucking along, working hard, putting in lots of effort but never actually showing it on the score board.

Today we played Japan in Game #2 of the 3-Test series and we lost 5-0. The scoreline is quite large but we did do some good things out there. We were punished very quickly for bad turnovers on the field, though. We need to learn how to punish opponents like they punish us.

It was a bit of a mental challenge at the start of the game because I was on the starting line-up after not dressing the game before. I suppose I need to stay tough and confident in my own abilities because selections are happening right now for Pan American games and everyone is getting a chance to play. So, hopefully I did my work today because I for sure felt like I was working really hard and I made a lot of good tackles on the field. There is obviously a lot to work on. I want to make sure that I get my fitness right up to par so I am not super tired mid way through the second half and so I can join the attack!

I'm excited because tomorrow we have the day off and I haven't figured out what I want to do but I'm excited to have some time off. I have to coach at night. I'm heading to the Western Canada Games on August 10th for four days. The competition should be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to just helping out and also checking out the interior!

Day off and game day on Saturday and then home for a few days !!! Can't wait!