One Bite At A Time, Part II (12/10/12)

John Coughlin rehabbing injury
Call it a declaration. I’m putting the world on notice. 

Life happens. It tests your will when you least expect it and makes sure you possess the resolve you like to think you always have. Life rarely puts in two weeks’ notice, more often preferring to gut-check you out of the blue. Life took a shot the other day. I plan on pushing back.

My hip started aching after Rostelecom Cup in Russia. No big deal, right? I have been an athlete since before I could write my name. Pain comes with the territory, as all athletes know. But there was something different about this one. I went straight to my support team at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center. They treated me and tested me, got second and third opinions, and correctly diagnosed me. I saw Dr. Philippon, the world's final word on all things hip-related. It was crystal clear: If our goal is to impact the Olympics, we needed to address this immediately.

Just like that, it was done. Surgery: Check. Rehab: In Progress.

Now to what I want to talk about in this entry – Call it a declaration. I'm putting the world on notice. I'm looking at this as a twist in the story, the juicy details in the made-for-TV adventure we call life. An injury won't define me…but how I respond to it will. My whole career has been one big test of will. So, in truth, I wouldn't have it any other way. The first one in and the last one out, I'm looking for every possible angle to a quicker, stronger recovery. They say most people come out of this better than before, that I may have been unknowingly favoring and compensating for some time now. If that is the case, I look forward to re-discovering what 100% feels like.

The list of wishes turned dreams, turned goals has gotten short and lofty but I'm up to the challenge. Each triumph and defeat, win and loss has built me for this moment. And it is not just my moment. I love being part of a team. My dreams aren't just mine because I am part of a whole. My team deserves and will get my best. I do not quit, I don't tap-out. It is not in my nature to shy away from adversity. I know one thing, we better find some inspirational music this year because that smile I get in hot water for revealing too early in a performance will be pasted on my face. The road back will make the arrival that much sweeter.

My career has been facilitated by my family's unwavering support and by the doubters/critics always poised to take me down a notch. All athletes have a certain amount of "me against the world" in them – it keeps us sharp and hungry! We're never satisfied, always unproven and imperfect. Mine has always felt a shade more intense, however. There has been a line out the door and around the block waiting to tell me why not. I'm built the wrong way, got my foundation in a non-traditional skating city; too American, too affable and nonchalant; a smiling linebacker on ice.         

I guess what I am saying is don't let the smile fool you and don't mistake easy-going with a lack of fire. Get behind us or get out of the way. The desire to command our destiny, to skate for the stars and stripes with the five rings painted on the ice, and to create our own history out there together is something we're prepared to fight for. You see the relaxed peaceful state on the big stage because we have banked away our humbling sweat-covered sacrifice at home.

If you need us in the interim, we'll be right here. Our commitment to enjoying the process is leaving us unshakably united and still living in the moment. We realize that you almost always cover uncharted territory while chasing your dreams. Thank you for the kind words of encouragement, they mean the world to Caydee and me. We'll be back before you know it but trust that we approach everything, One Bite At A Time.

Happy Holiday Season!!!

John

John Coughlin putting handprint at CSOTCJohn Coughlin putting handprint at CSOTCLeaving my mark on the Olympic Training Center’s remodeling projects