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Return to the Highland games
On a cold November day in 1997 in a field in Salado Texas I found the sport that would take my competitive spirit to a different level.
I was a Graduate Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Baylor University and was conditioning the softball teawhen saw a guy throwing stones and weights so I asked my girls about it and they told me that was Coach Boynes the volunteer throws coach and that he competed in something called Scottish Highland Games, they didn’t know what it was but they knew that he wore a kilt.
They must have thought I had lost my mind when I just walked down to the bottom of the hill telling them that I'd be right back then smiling and telling them that training was over!! It was as we were just stretching and talking about the next day's training plan.
I’d been a faithful and passionate subscriber to MILO magazine since the very first edition and saw article after article about the Scottish Highland Games and I had asked so many people how to get into these games but couldn’t find any information. I was leaving competing in powerlifting and wanted something new to challenge my competitive spirit so to see this man at the bottom of the hill that we were running thawing weights and stones I just gravitated towards him.
I introduced myself and Coach Boynes invited me to train with him taking time to teach me and explain the events and history of the Games. I remember this was a Tuesday night and he told me there was a Highland Games competition that weekend not too far from Baylor and that he could get me into the games to compete. I told him that I hadn’t thrown in some 15 years or so and he just looked at me and said “Yeah so…. You want to compete or not?”
Now it’s now early on a Saturday morning and the field still has its morning dew on it and the bustling of the festival getting ready to open had my senses on high. I was introduced to Earl Linza who was the Athletic Director (throughout Texas, Louisiana & Mississippi) and he was more than happy to take my $20 entry fee and tell me Good Luck and YES I had a kilt because …. well because doesn’t everyone own a kilt??!!
What a day I had and at the end of it I was hooked. I came into work on Monday morning and began planning my training exactly like I did for so many of my athletes. I went right to my MILO magazines to see what weekends games were usually on and I wrote to every athletic director for an entry into their games for 1998!!! Yeah back then you either called the AD or you wrote him to get an entry form that you filled out and mailed back with a check!!!
I competed until 2014 when injury robbed me of the joy I felt every time I laced up my throwing shoes and wiped the morning dew off my stone. I’ve struggled since then not just working to recover from 2 Achilles tendon ruptures and heart surgery but because my training has no focus, no motivation, no direction and Lord knows I have tried everything to soothe my competitive spirit that runs deep inside my heart and soul but I always come back to Scottish Heavy Athletics where I enjoyed every bit of the training and competing along with sharing the field with great friends and of course sharing a meal and a beer or 3 after the Games were over...truth be told if I had 3 beers I'd be face down on the floor!!! Yes I am a cheap date!!
I’ve grown tired (and a little angry at myself) of allowing my injuries to define or dictate what it is I want to do in my life…. I feel like I’ve lost my way a little for not doing what it is that I love to do.
I have decided to come out of the retirement that was forced on me and take my place on the field once again. I will be competing a few times this summer and early fall and then in November 2021 I will be compete at the Masters World Championships in Austin Texas, ironically not that far (in Texas driving standards) from where it all started in November of 1997 in a field in Salado Texas.
Now I don’t expect many of you to understand what goes on in my heart or head… hell I barely understand at times!! Especially when the voices in my head start arguing with each other!! I have other physical goals in mind as well all of it working towards Raising Awareness to Heart Diease in Strength Sports. There was always something missing after my recovery from bypass surgery and for me maybe not you, but for me it’s always been the training and the competitions. There has always been something special about getting on the field early in the morning feeling the grass beneath my feet and the weight in my hand or the stone pressed up against my head.
I refuse for another day that is left in my life to allow the injuries or circumstances that I have no control of to control my life!!!
You can cheer for me and/or follow my training on Instagram or here on my website where I'll post much of my training or you can do like most timid souls and not even try to understand and talk shit about my decision .... of course that' crap has never really worked on me
PLAY HARD... TRAIN HARDER... NO EXCUSES