Last night at dinner, I finally understood the cultural difference between Americans and Australians. It has become habit in my life, and the life of many Americans, that once we are finished eating a meal, we signal to the server that we are ready for our check. Once we had finished eating, I called the server over and asked, "May we please get our check?". He looked me straight in the eye and said with a smile, "Just chill". Why was I in a rush? I was in a beautiful beachside restaurant in Lennox Head, Australia. At that exact moment in my life, there were no problems, no complaints, and absolutely no reason to not "just chill".
This morning the group woke up early and had breakfast outside together. We had no commitments until 10am, so the morning was ours. I called my mom and told her about my days on the beach, ate the wettest pear I have ever had, and sat with my face in the sun until it was time to head over to the rugby field in town. The sun was out today, and we were all in a great mood and excited to learn about the sport that defines this country we are living in. Rugby is played by all ages, all socioeconomic backgrounds, both genders, and for competition and pleasure. We began with dynamic warmups- something we were all familiar with and the coaches were very impressed. We then discussed the importance of balance in the sport and we learned balance exercises. They were clever exercises and I would like to bring them into practice when I work with my athletes in America.
Then began the technique work. We learned spiral passing, tracking, and tackling. We also got a walk through of the "laws" (a word choice I am quite fond of for the sport. Rugby is a lifestyle- and we learned the laws of living it). Unfortunately after only two hours of rugby, I had to leave early to go to a surfing lesson that four of the girls and I had scheduled.
I was sore from yesterday, but super excited to take my surfing to a new level. My goal for the day was to ride a wave toe side- once up on the wave, turn my body towards the wave and dig the edge of my board through the water so that my toes face the wave, and I can ride the wave horizontally with the beach. After only a few attempts, I had gotten this technique down and I was very pleased with myself. The rest of the four hour surf lesson was great for me, being able to pick and choose my waves and ride them till I couldn't ride any longer.
My parents cannot get mad at me for "studying sports medicine" while surfing and playing rugby in this sleepy surf town, because during the surf lesson, a French lady in our group had signaled in the water that she needed immediate help (she laid face up in the water with her fist high in the air). I ran over with one of the surf instructors and we assisted her out of the water. I then completed a full knee evaluation on her. She is okay, just got the wind (or salt water) knocked out of her on a bad fall and had fallen on her knee.
After the surf lesson, the girls and I kept our shoes off, and walked to the cafe where we got strawberry banana smoothies and then walked back down the beach to our cabin.
Another amazing day in Australia. I am a little sunburnt, but no need to worry- "just chill!"