After an 18 month journey, myÂ wife and I found out onÂ Wednesday, Â March 12th, that we were selected to adopt a 4 monthÂ old baby boy. Â Â It still seems bittersweet after the long journey this has been.Â Having 6 short weeks to prepare for our son is going to be a whirl win, but it makes the entireÂ journeyÂ well worth it. Â The “juice was worth the squeeze” as they say. Â The feedback, support, joy, and warmth we haveÂ receivedÂ has been almost too much to take.
Speaking soley from my perspective regarding my athletes, Â I was shocked at the amount of texts and phone calls that IÂ receivedÂ from my athletes. Â These are 16-24 year old “kids”. Â I haveÂ congratulationÂ texts from ex-athletesÂ that I haven’t talked to in 3 years. MANY, Â MANY people “liked” our Facebook posts and commented on our great news which is/was heart warming and generous. Some of “my guys” went the extra mile to drop me a line, Â leave me a voice mail, or keep calling until they reached me. Â I can honestly say that I’m not sure if I would’ve have theÂ maturityÂ to do that at their age. Â I don’t think that I would’ve been aware of how much time and emotional investment that those that areÂ adopting go through. Â Those random acts of reaching out to meÂ make what I do worth every second of it. Â Spending 80 hours a week running the business, coaching, studying, etc can get over whelming when you aren’t living the lifestyle that you want. Â The “success” texts, newspaper articles, the scholarships, and phone calls make what I do rewarding. Â Cultivating the relationships that I’ve created with these special athletes isn’t something that I was aware would go as deeply as it has. Â A truly lucky man am I. Â I guess being “raised right” forced me to surround myself with outstanding people. Â In my 36 short years, I have been fortunate to know some very remarkable people that I have learned from, grown with, and have simply enjoyed L-I-V-I-N’ with. Â The relationship with these special athletes isn’t something that I saw coming, and it is a tremendous surprise. Â They just better be around when we need a baby sitter! haha!
The End of an Era…..
This week marks the end of Ryan McGrath’s collegiate hockey career. Â He was my “first” major player that I trained coming back to Pittsburgh. Â The guy he was training with toldÂ himÂ that “he would ruin his hockey career” training with me despite helping grom my cousin RJ since he was 12. Â Ryan had just finished as Holy Cross’s Team Captain, which is not bad for a 5’8” “fullback looking” hockey player. Â In a sense, he did get the short end of the stick his first three years at Holy Cross. Â To support my belief, “If he was good enough to be the senior captain, why not start as a junior and get more playing time as a senior?”
As I’ve told Ryan and his parents, “I don’t know how he stayed at HC for as long as he did. Â I would’ve been gone way before my junior year. Â He didn’t play college hockey to watch lesser players play for four years”. Â I’m not a hockey coach, and I don’t pretend to be an expert on the X’s and O’s of Ice Hockey. Â I do know that Ryan could’ve been the team captain as a freshman if given the opportunity. Â Ryan was focused on academics and the opportunity that HC provided him after his playing career was done. Â He kept his head down, shut his mouth and worked his tail off. Â The results is that he accepted an investment banking position at UBS in Manhattan (NYC) before he sat for the first class of his senior year.
Ryan has been like a little brother. Â He’s been with me through opening my dream facility that is Umberger Performance through the devastating flood that happened 2 months after our grand opening. Â My training time with him consisted of me literallyÂ arguingÂ with him for two hours about what he was planning on doing that training session which was 200% more than what he was actually going to do. Â That grew into a negotiation. The concept of overtraining was as real to Ryan as a unicorn or Santa Clause. Â TheÂ argumentsÂ were a source of entertainment to the rest of the athletes. Â “Here we go again…”Â Â Any coach will agree, I’d rather have a team full of hard pushing Type A’s instead of a bunch of passive type BÂ laissez-faire players. Â Ryan’s success on and off the ice comes to no surprise to me or anyone that knows the real Ryan.
The stories over the years could be told in a book and most aren’t fit for this venue. Â Many of his quotes have been immortalized on the UP video version of “Shit Athletes Say”. Â I can honestly say that there isn’t an athlete that I’ve trained for a year that I don’t think is an awesome person. Â Ryan wasn’t any better than the rest, he was different. Â The mood of the entire facility changed when he walked in. Â As Andrew Stimmel, former OSU Lax Captain and current D1 CollegiateÂ Lax Coach said of Penguins Craig Adams, “I love when Craig walks in. It’s like a punch of intensity right in the face.” Ryan was the same way. Â Your ass better be working hard. Â He was either going to call you out or make you look stupid as he saturated the floor with his sweat. Â Many stillÂ consider his sweating problem a Public Health Safety concern. Â He is a larger than life character that expected everyone to simply workÂ theirÂ asses off because he was. Â We always laughed that Ryan even “slept hard”.
One day he asked me about an new athlete. Â “What’s that guy like”. Â I said, “He’s a good dude. Â He shows up everyday and works hard.” Â He said,
“Scott, isn’t that what a D1 athlete is suppose to do?”
I tell that story to every athlete and person looking to achieve a sport, fitness, or health goal. Â You want to earn a scholarship? Â You want to drop 15-40 pounds? Â You have to dedicate yourself. Â You have to act professional about it. Â Do what you are suppose to do and do it every damn day. Â Winners don’t take days off. Â Â Another Ryan quote,
“Food is fuel. Â I don’t eat food for the taste. Â I eat to to fuel my performance.”
That intensity and passion will be missed. Â I don’t have to wish him the best. Â I don’t need to. Â He’s going to crush life and he’s going to “Earn it Everyday”.