Happy Holidays!ย 

I’m on my way back to London, Ontario to visit my family for the holidays and I’m so excited to spend a week taking part in all of our family holiday traditions! I love all the little things we do as a family every year that make this time special. From going to cut down our own tree to baking and decorating our favourite homemade Christmas cookies, we make the most of the week we have together.
Through the years there’s been a shift in how I think about Christmas, that I hadn’t really noticed until I was reflecting on what this time of year means to me. When I was a kid I just loved getting to eat lots of sweets and get presents and be out of school for a couple of weeks, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate other things about the holidays more. I mean, I still love all the food, but I care more about quality time than I do material things. I’ve come to think the best presents you can give those you care about is your presence. It sounds very clichรฉ, but we live in a world where people are spending more time online and less time face-to-face; where people get together with their friends to mutually stare into their phones. I’ve taken a bit of a break from social media this fall and it was definitely hard to break the habit. I had a few sporadic posts, but I wanted to take a step back from posting every day and compulsively checking my feeds. I’ve been trying to enjoy what’s happening in my life without posting about it, without feeling the urge to create content, and letting my life be a bit more private without needing to share everything I’m doing with the virtual world. 
I found my biggest challenge with this withdrawal was F.O.M.O. – Fear Of Missing Out! Being connected is like an addiction and the thing that kept me coming back was this irrational anxiety that I was missing something if I didn’t check my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. It can feel isolating and a little lonely at first, not being in constant contact with the social network system that’s been created. I’ve been working on changing my mindset around that. So, apart from wishing everyone a Merry Christmas right now, I’m going to be staying off my phone while I’m home for the holidays. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday break, from my family to yours: Merry Christmas!

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What I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow Canadians celebrating with their friends and families this weekend! I hope everyone gets to enjoy all of the delicious food and good company that surround this holiday โค๐Ÿฆƒ๐Ÿ

This is a time when we get to reflect on and celebrate everything we are thankful for in our lives. I am thankful for a lot in my life, but I wanted to take this time to express to some of the most important people in my life just how blessed I am to have them on my journey and thank them for everything they’ve given me. 

Firstly, I want to thank my mom. She has been my role model and support system and she has taught me a lot about values and how to be in the world. Most importantly though, she has loved me unconditionally which I have come to realize is rare and precious in this world. I got to talk a lot about how awesome my mom is in my Mother’s Day post so I’ll keep this one brief โค I love you Mom.

Second, I want to say thank you to my best friend. I couldn’t choose just one photo of us so I made this collage of some of our memories over the last year and a half. I’m thankful that I have you and for everything we’ve gotten to do together. I can’t wait to make even more memories with you by my side. You always have my back and you encourage me to grow and improve in everything I set out to do. All you have to do is re-read our books to be reminded of how much I love you and appreciate you. Of all the love stories in the world, ours is my favourite โค๐Ÿ˜š

Next, I want to express my gratitude to my coach. I know you’re not great with the sappy stuff so I’ll keep it to a minimum. Over the past eight years you’ve been a major influence in my life and you’ve helped me grow immeasurably as a wrestler and athlete, but also as a person. I’m thankful that I always have you in my corner, metaphorically but also literally! You’re always in my corner when we’re at a tournament together and even when you’re there as a delegate, you’re still mat-side supporting me. I can’t thank you enough for being behind me and supporting me in all of my major challenges on and off the mat. I truly cherish the memories of being on the top of the podium and making history for our club and our province as you are there to give me my medal and stand beside me as our national anthem plays. I promise we’ll get there; that we’ll both get to accomplish our biggest goal together. We’ll make it happen and there’s no one else I would rather have coach me through it all.


And of course I want to thank all of my awesome friends! It means a lot to be surrounded by such positive, driven, and awesome people! I wish I lived closer to all of you, but I’m thankful for how much fun we get to have when we do see each other. I’m happy and thankful to have people in my life who understand me, to share in the struggles and the triumphs, and who make this journey fun and memorable.

Happy Mother’s Day 2017

First of all, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you all have a wonderful day with your kids, you deserve it.

Second, Happy Mother’s Day to my number one fan – my mom โค

mom2

Before I sat down to write this I realised that I really don’t have enough pictures of you and I together. I’m sorry about that. Last year I made this collage for you:

collage

But half of these photos I had to find by digging through our old family photo albums at the house. I tried to scroll back through my photo history to times when I knew I had been home. Unfortunately, I am infamous for taking way too many photos of food… So I have lots of photos of all of the delicious meals you made me and the yummy baking you’ve treated me to when I visit, but I’m making it my mission – setting a goal – to take more selfies with you!!

bluejays

I really wish I could be home to celebrate Mother’s Day with you. Instead of spending the day in 20+ degree, sunny weather in London – trying to install a new pool pump – I’m stuck at work all day halfway across the country… I can’t wait to come home for a few days in June. I know I don’t visit enough, but I try to whenever I can afford it โค

Everyone says they have the best mom, but thank you for being the best mom to me! You taught me how to be strong and confident, to fight for what I believe in and never give up, to set goals and how to go after what I want in life, and to follow my dreams relentlessly. I owe my work ethic, dedication, and who I am as a person to the example you set for me. Being a single mother of two, working three jobs while putting yourself through university and still finding the time to walk us to school every morning and pick us up every afternoon, and making sure that Al and I have nothing but fond memories of our childhood – thank you! I know you don’t need it, but I feel like you don’t get enough credit for everything. I know that you’ve made a lot of sacrifices for my brother and I, and that you continue to put our needs above your own. Thank you for still looking out for me and loving me unconditionally. Thank you for being there when I need you, you’re my rock and I know you will always be there for me; a shoulder to cry on, to help pick me up when I fall, and to give me a loving nudge forward when I’m scared to take the first step. And thank you for being my number one fan and cheering me on no matter what I’m taking on. Thank you for coming to every single national championship I’ve ever wrestled and screaming in the bleachers for me! I know I act all embarrassed that I can hear you screaming on all of my wrestling videos, but I love that you do that! That you scream so loud you lose your voice and clap so hard you get bruises on your hands. I love that about you. I love that you don’t care that everyone else in the stands is cheering for my opponent – you just squeeze into the center of it and make them all look at you when you cheer the loudest for me, when I get a takedown! The looks on their faces must be priceless when you shriek “pin her Sam!” right in the middle of their cheering squad. I love that you recruited half of the stands to cheer for me with you at the Olympic Trials. You were the only fan I needed in the stands that day, but you made sure there was a crowd of people cheering loudly from the sidelines for me. You believe in me more than I believe in myself at times and you have no problem recruiting people to your cause. Thank you for loving me more than anything else in the world and making that love known to everyone you meet. You’re more than just my number one fan or the woman who raised me, you’re my best friend โค I love you mom.

mom

 

Jeux de la Francophonie – Cote d’Ivoire 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve written an update and what better time to sit and write than on a 13hr flight to Africa, right? So here I am, en route to the Ivory Coast for the 8th Jeux de la Francophonie.

For those who don’t know, the Francophone Games occur every 4 years and celebrate French culture and heritage. It’s the largest multisport and cultural games in the world. That’s right, there are cultural events! So along with sending a number of athletes to compete at the Games we are accompanied by a number of artists, dancers, and storytellers to name a few. I’m a part of the Canada-Nouveau Brunswick delegation, as the only bilingual province in Canada we have a number of spots at the Games. There is also Team Canada and Team Canada-Quebec. This is the second Games I have been fortunate enough to compete at. I was a member of the Canada-Nouveau Brunswick team in 2013 for the Games in Nice, France as well where I won a silver medal. It was the first medal ever won in wrestling for Team Canada-Nouveau Brunswick and the only silver medal for our delegation in the 7th Games in Nice. It was an awesome accomplishment, but of course there is always room for improvement. I’m looking to improve on that performance for this games and I hope to be on the top of the podium this time around. I have grown a lot over this past quadrennial and I’m confident that my performance will reflect that. 

Of course, it’s only Wednesday and I don’t compete until Sunday so it’s going to be a busy week of training and soaking up the atmosphere of the Games and the athlete’s village. I’m hoping to have some time to write again to share my experiences of the opening ceremonies, but after that I’ll be on a social media blackout until after I’m done competing. In my next post I’ll also share links for the livestream of the event for those who want to tune in to watch. That’s all for now! But stay tuned and watch for updates on the Equipe Canada-Nouveau Brunswick social media outlets! They have a Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram account! 

Deutschland 2017 – German Grand Prix Recap ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช

I’m currently on a plane back to Canada after spending two weeks in Europe. Two weeks, two tournaments, two training camps, and two medals! What a couple of weeks it’s been! 

Last week I wrote about my tournament and training in Italy, so here’s my recap on the German Grand Prix! 

I arrived in Germany last Thursday, a day before the weigh-ins. As soon as I got off the plane I headed to the training center in Dormagen to meet up with the rest of the Canadian team. From there we headed to our hotel and I went for a run with a couple of teammates. I had a snack afterwards but went to bed pretty early; despite being ajusted to the time change already, I was pretty tired from starting my travel day at 4:30am. 

I woke up on the day of weigh-ins feeling great. I had some breakfast and was ready to go. Weigh-ins weren’t until 6pm so we had some time to relax before the bus left. When we got to the venue weigh-ins went by quickly and we had supper in the dining hall before hopping back on our bus to the hotel. 

The tournament was a two day format. On the first day I wrestled three matches. My first was against Germany where I won 10-4, my quarter-final was against Poland where I won 9-0, and my semi-final match was against a fellow Canadian where I lost 3-6. This meant I was wrestling for the bronze medal against France on day two where I won 12-2. 

I was happy with how I wrestled overall at the tournament. I got to work on a lot of things I had been practicing and be successful in some of those situations. I also got to identify some areas that still need improvement. I’m happy to celebrate my successes, but I’m always trying to focus on how I can get better. 

The Canadian team did awesome and we won 7 medals overall; 5 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze. 

It was a lot of fun to compete with this group of women! Breanne said it best when she said how fun it was to catch up with close friends in far away places. 

After the tournament we headed to Hennef to the Sportschule for the training camp. It’s an awesome facility; the food is great, the rooms are comfortable, there’s wrestling mats and a weight room, and there was a recovery room with a sauna and tubs. Not to mention, the view was beautiful. 

The training camp had a lot of talented wrestlers and skilled training partners. Tuesday we did a lot of situations and live wrestling and it was super challenging but also really beneficial. We also did some technique and tactical practices on Monday and Wednesday along with some weight training.

 There was over 100 wrestlers from at least 15 different countries at the camp. It was great to have so many strong and successful women all in the same room training together.

On Monday Kirk treated us to traditional post-tournament pizza!! It wasn’t directly after the tournament like I usually do, but it was delicious and much appreciated! Thank you Kirk for the pizza, the car rides, the ice cream, the pictures, and for being awesome ๐Ÿ’ช

On Wednesday afternoon we took a train into Cologne for some sightseeing and shopping. I finally got to have ein Berliner! It was delicious ๐Ÿ‘Œ The Cathedral wasn’t bad either ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now I’m headed back to Canada for the CPA Conference in Toronto! I have a poster presentation on Saturday and I’m hoping I’m not too jetlagged ๐Ÿ˜‚ Thank you to my coaches and teammates for making this trip awesome! I can’t wait for the next adventure. 

Italia 2017 Recap! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

I’m in Germany now for another competition tomorrow and Sunday, but I figured I would post a quick update on last weekend’s tournament and the camp I was at all week in Italy. The tournament was the Sassari City Matteo Pellicone Memorial held annually on the beautiful island of Sardegna, just off the coast and about an hour’s flight from Rome. It’s a gorgeous place to host a wrestling event! 

Pictured above is the beach in Stintino near our hotel and the training camp venue. 

We arrived last Thursday afternoon, May 25, and were greeted with hot temperatures and lots of sun. As the day started to cool off I went for a run by the edge of the beaches. The cool wind coming off the Mediterranean Sea made for beautiful running weather in a picturesque landscape. Pictures don’t do it justice. As the sun began to set we ate dinner as a team and caught up with everyone we hadn’t seen since Nationals. Then it was time to retire and have a much needed sleep after a long travel day. 

I slept like a rock! We didn’t set an alarm and I was surprised to have woken up naturally just before 8. It was time to check our weights and have breakfast. I was most excited for the cappuccinos! They’re amazing in Italy and at the hotel we were at, the Cala Rosa. 

After breakfast we caught some rays and Hannah brought spike ball, so we played that for a bit. Then I went on a road trip to find the sauna. The scenery where we ended up was gorgeous!! I feel like everything about this island is so beautiful. I took a panoramic photo before we went inside to sweat it out. 

I had an awesome weight cut and my recovery went really well. It was nice to have early weigh ins. 

The next day we were up and had breakfast. I followed my usual routine and had my favourite pre-tournament meal of choice! I was ready for a day of wrestling. The venue was warm, but not too unbearable and we warmed up in a seperate space than the competition surface. It got a little crowded, but we made it work. The tournament went very quickly, with most of the weight classes being round robin. I had four matches in total. I won them all and won gold. I’m happy with how I wrestled overall. There are always improvements to be made, but you have to also take time to celebrate your accomplishments along the way.

We celebrated with pizza! It’s my favourite post-tournament meal! Especially when you’re in a country that does pizza as well as Italy does! It was delicious. 

Sunday we got to go sightseeing! This year we went to a castle museum with WWII historical displays, a park with hiking trails and a waterfall, and to an old Nuragic site. It was a fun day and it’s always great to look back at history and take in the beauty of the local community. 

Monday morning we started training camp. There was a lot of situations and live wrestling. The intensity was great. We definitely got a couple great workouts in and we’re sweating buckets from the heat! 

Soon it was time to say our farewells though, and Thursday morning before the sun was up we were on our way to Germany. 

I got here yesterday afternoon. I went for a run and had some dinner. I’m following the same routine as last week and I’m looking forward to continuing my progress. I’m excited to wrestle tomorrow and I want to perform well, to keep working on the things I’ve been practicing, and keep improving. Then Monday I’m here for a few days of camp. 

The event will be livestreamed. You can look for the link on the United World Wrestling website! 

Happy Mother’s Day 2017

First of all, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you all have a wonderful day with your kids, you deserve it.

Second, Happy Mother’s Day to my number one fan – my mom โค

mom2

Before I sat down to write this I realised that I really don’t have enough pictures of you and I together. I’m sorry about that. Last year I made this collage for you:

collage

But half of these photos I had to find by digging through our old family photo albums at the house. I tried to scroll back through my photo history to times when I knew I had been home. Unfortunately, I am infamous for taking way too many photos of food… So I have lots of photos of all of the delicious meals you made me and the yummy baking you’ve treated me to when I visit, but I’m making it my mission – setting a goal – to take more selfies with you!!

bluejays

I really wish I could be home to celebrate Mother’s Day with you. Instead of spending the day in 20+ degree, sunny weather in London – trying to install a new pool pump – I’m stuck at work all day halfway across the country… I can’t wait to come home for a few days in June. I know I don’t visit enough, but I try to whenever I can afford it โค

Everyone says they have the best mom, but thank you for being the best mom to me! You taught me how to be strong and confident, to fight for what I believe in and never give up, to set goals and how to go after what I want in life, and to follow my dreams relentlessly. I owe my work ethic, dedication, and who I am as a person to the example you set for me. Being a single mother of two, working three jobs while putting yourself through university and still finding the time to walk us to school every morning and pick us up every afternoon, and making sure that Al and I have nothing but fond memories of our childhood – thank you! I know you don’t need it, but I feel like you don’t get enough credit for everything. I know that you’ve made a lot of sacrifices for my brother and I, and that you continue to put our needs above your own. Thank you for still looking out for me and loving me unconditionally. Thank you for being there when I need you, you’re my rock and I know you will always be there for me; a shoulder to cry on, to help pick me up when I fall, and to give me a loving nudge forward when I’m scared to take the first step. And thank you for being my number one fan and cheering me on no matter what I’m taking on. Thank you for coming to every single national championship I’ve ever wrestled and screaming in the bleachers for me! I know I act all embarrassed that I can hear you screaming on all of my wrestling videos, but I love that you do that! That you scream so loud you lose your voice and clap so hard you get bruises on your hands. I love that about you. I love that you don’t care that everyone else in the stands is cheering for my opponent – you just squeeze into the center of it and make them all look at you when you cheer the loudest for me, when I get a takedown! The looks on their faces must be priceless when you shriek “pin her Sam!” right in the middle of their cheering squad. I love that you recruited half of the stands to cheer for me with you at the Olympic Trials. You were the only fan I needed in the stands that day, but you made sure there was a crowd of people cheering loudly from the sidelines for me. You believe in me more than I believe in myself at times and you have no problem recruiting people to your cause. Thank you for loving me more than anything else in the world and making that love known to everyone you meet. You’re more than just my number one fan or the woman who raised me, you’re my best friend โค I love you mom.

mom