Post-Grad, Take Two

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Hello Friends!

The day has finally come. I’m officially graduated from Stanford University. And as such, the umbilical cord of institutional education has been severed. What a blessing it was to be able to return and revamp my understanding of college life and continue to hone my volleyball craft. I can’t begin to put into the words the amount of support I received from family, faculty, the team, alumni, teachers, classmates, and those I’m failing to remember in the whole process of coming back to earn my undergraduate degree early this year. I’m eternally grateful for being let back in to your warm embrace so I could grind out 18 more units and put the academic part of my Stanford career in the rearview officially. The past two years have been a lot of mental back and forth, resulting in a lot of physical back and forth. That’s to say I don’t think I’ve ever done more running around physically in the last 28 months than any other span of that length in my life. Nonetheless, the struggle has been so much fun. Yes I said it. School is FUN. But alas, I am on to other big things. Education is a lifelong journey, anyways.

What is next? I plan on taking my noodle arm all the way to other side of the rotation and pursuing my professional career as an opposite. Yes, I said that too. The time has come to pivot on this career path, and I’ll give you a few honest reasons why. First and foremost, like I’ve said before, I have always wanted to play a big part in the success of our national team. I feel at this point and going forward that the best way for me to positively influence the team is as an attacker. Secondly, Americans looking to play year-by-year overseas in the top professional leagues, such as myself, have many more opportunities in attacking positions, given many leagues’ foreigner-limit rules. Most importantly, though, I’m doing it for the joy of the game again and everything else is icing on the cake. I’ve always enjoyed attacking more but simply wanted to keep with setting because I felt that’s where my future lay. This switch is already affording me an excitement connected to the constant learning curve involved and this is one big avenue I’m sourcing energy from nowadays. Though I’m not new to the position, I have yet to play a professional match at opposite and have MUCH to learn from all the great opposites playing internationally today. This is what excites me most, and has excited me through the past few months getting to train with the Stanford MVB squad (shoutout to the boys, who are on their way to a comeback season). This opportunity to learn, to work smarter every new day, and to climb from the bottom of the barrel again is one that I’m relishing as I transition back to training in Anaheim. 

Now that I’m back in professional athlete mode, I have found myself with a bit more free time to pursue projects outside of my own playing exploits. For those of you reading this while still in college or high school athletics- prep yourself for loads of free time after you’re finished school. The lack of homework is a deafeningly beautiful silence, which leads me to the main crux of this blog post. For those of you I’ve been in touch with over the past year or so, you might be aware that I had been putting myself through online classes in the behavioral nutrition field. Well, I finished the certification and am now a practitioner in behavioral nutrition! If you, or someone you know, is looking for a guiding figure or mentor in correcting some preexisting eating habits or maybe just optimizing some already solid ones, look no further. I am deeply passionate about finding ways to improve how we, humans, relate to food. Eating disorders, binge eating, but most prevalently, uneducated food consumption decisions, have plagued us since the dawn of time. With so much information at our disposals now surrounding the world of dietetics and nutrition, I have found that the best way to begin to understand and solve our problems is to focus on the psychology of eating. And though I love to work with young athletes in educating them in a way I would have loved to be when I was their age, I will certainly work with you if you’re not a high-school/college-aged individual or a competitive athlete. I’m looking to give others a knowledge base on how to eat to become higher-performing human beings, first and foremost. Getting an edge in the athletic arena comes next, which brings me briefly to my next point:

I’ve begun taking 12-22 year-old volleyball players (from beginner to the most advanced levels) for private lessons starting in the new year- so if you, your friend, your sibling/cousin, or your child is in need of some extra reps with high level coaching, please get in contact! If you might be interested in both behavioral nutrition coaching AND private lessons, just let me know on one of the contact forms on either application page (which you can find in the navigation bar above).

That’s all for now! Peace and Love and Happy Holidays.

James

"Plans"

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Hi friends,

Thank you for all of the love and support you have given me, consciously or not, in the past two years since the start of my professional volleyball career. Whether you have been following along with me throughout my whole career, amateur and professional, or have recently found my sporting or otherwise exploits interesting, I want to tell you how grateful I am that I have provided some joy for you all in watching me do what I do. 

For those of you left wondering and waiting until Perugia made their announcement not only that they’d be signing my buddy-ole-pal Jonah as the second setter, but also that I’d be staying in the U.S. this Fall… it’s true. I have decided that I will not be returning to play overseas in the Fall. Instead, I will be returning home to Stanford to finish what I started. What I dreamed of having and what my family supported me towards for so long. My undergraduate degree. Following my senior season as a Cardinal, I rode the wave of success rolling into the national team gym and decided to forgo my spring quarter in order to fight for a spot on the 2016 Olympic roster. Now, obviously I didn’t achieve that goal but I still wouldn’t trade that choice for the alternative if I had a do-over because it’s led me to being here, now. So that leaves me with a quarter’s worth of school experience left to be had, and I intend on making that happen in the Fall of ’18. In case you were interested or wondering, I am a Science, Technology and Society major! Ask me what that means! (still don't have a good answer for you)

Where that brings me to next? I have ideas. But I’m not necessarily committed to any of them. Life is too short to plan it all out and live in reacting to the chaos that inevitably unfolds in response to those plans. I’ve told those closest to me with a glint in my eye that this is the first time in my life that I’m not really sure of what I’m going to do next. That glint, I think, can be explained by the newfound love I’ve found for stepping into what I recognize as fear. It’s true that there really is nothing on the other side of fear.

With this all said, I am still 100% committed to being a contributor on the on the National Team. Truthfully, I’ve never been healthier mentally or physically, or more capable of contributing, in my 5 summers with this team. I’m still learning and working my way up the depth chart, though. This can be a tough process, but I still enjoy it all and find wonder in the everyday as a professional volleyball player. Yet and still, there are never any guarantees in a place that is this competitive and filled with high stakes. Any opportunity I am afforded in Anaheim I will always be grateful for, which is why I’ll be working hard on the court and in the weight room from September to December, staying focused on my goal of being one of the 12 who travel to Tokyo in the Summer of 2020. 

At this point, I could tell you all of my positive and negative thoughts on how my perspective on playing overseas has changed in the past two years, and what it has meant in making this decision. I could go into everything that made this decision an easy one, a hard one, one that I went back and forth on, and then one felt so firmly in my heart. I could, but I won’t now. That’ll come later on down the line.

For now, I want to say thank you to you, for staying by me and being a fan, a friend, a loving member of my family, or whoever you may be. We would all be little without the strength of the village. I'd love to hear from you if you're in California and I haven't seen you in a while, too!

Peace, love, and gratitude,

James