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HordoN HEALTH LIVE

The Bird's Got Bend

The Bird's Got Bend

At eight in the morning my phone chirped at me to let me know that someone from the outside world wished to initiate communication  and as we humans have been conditioned to do over the past five years or so, I rushed to make sure I wasn’t missing anything that required my immediate attention. It was an email advertisement for tax software – apparently I can save ten
dollars if I purchase it now. However, as I
flipped through the digital scrawl of my Droid I encountered a text message from sent the afternoon prior that I must have somehow missed. Originating from the father of one of our BIF athletes it read, “Q – Guess who was the only lineman to pass his flexibility test at Towson?” I replied, with less-than-obvious text message sarcasm, “Was it Jay? It was Jay, right?” And indeed it was.

Against his express wishes, I call Jay “Bird.” There’s no hidden agenda behind this. Jay is transformed to Jaybird which is shortened to Bird. Although he has stood at 6’4” since his freshman year of high school, Jay’s football career has been one comprised of numerous obstacles; some he has erected for himself, others have arisen out of circumstance. One, by one, Jay has overcome them, although some have taken longer than others to recognize. His football career began at a small parochial school and its progression was inhibited by less than capable coaches who were unable to nurture his progress. Academically, it took Jay a solid three years to realize that it behooved him to put his intellectual capabilities (of which he has many) to good use and to extricate himself from the intellectual, social, and artistic apathy that plagues much of his generation. As Jay turned the corner into his senior year, a few colleges had showed interest, but it soon became apparent that Jay was not going to be getting looks from the D1 level – at least not yet. And so, disappointed, yet indefatigable, Jay headed into a prep year and less than a year later, his father and his adopted big brother/coach (that’s me) got to sit and smile at a local eatery as Jay signed a National Letter of Intent, receiving a full athletic scholarship to study and play at Towson University.

Jay had been introduced to the Boston Institute of Football and Renegade Training while still in high school (completing one of BIF’s first summer sessions) but I think, by his own admission, he was skeptical and lacked a complete understanding or what it was that BIF & Renegade could offer him. After experiencing a labrum tear and surgery during his freshman year at Towson (a medical redshirt), Jay returned to BIF with a willingness to defer to the knowledge of its coaches and philosophy AND the social and intellectual maturity that is REQUIRED of all who walk through our doors. The results in five short weeks were tremendous. With a specific focus on both static and dynamic flexibility (namely hip BEND), developing work threshold capacity, and reestablishing confidence in his shoulder capsule, Jay’s body and outlook began to change. Obviously, our knowledge at BIF played a large role, but more than that, it was Jay’s attitude of understanding that allowed him to return to Towson and dominate their initial offseason performance benchmarks. However, enough out of me – the proud coach. Jay’s own words, extracted from an unsolicted email exchange say it better than I ever could.

“Coming from where I was in the last couple months, when I was in the worst, awful-feeling shape of my life (pure hibernation working out wise). I cannot believe how far I have come in five weeks. It was to the point after surgery where I had felt complete loss of even balance WALKING. I felt different, I felt out of shape... it was awful. I’m just happier now...."

So are we Bird, so are we. Good luck during the spring component of your off-season. Go Tigers!!!

Coach Q, a.k.a Yann Kumin, is President of Operations for the Boston Institute of Football and Associate Head Coach for the Stoneham Spartans.

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