Sports Perf. - Spain

  • "See You Later"

    Section: Sports Perf.

    Sports Performance - Spain

    Our motto for the last full day in Barcelona was, "Last day, best day". My personal motto for the real last day, the day we had to spread back out to our different states, was more like, "this is my nightmare"...or something along those lines. Trips like this force people to become like family, especially with such a small team. There is no room for cliques. They are pretty much the only people you know that speak the same language. You share the same apartment. You really have no choice but to get close. On this trip, that was no hardship. I personally laughed more in these past 10 days than I probably have all year. I laugh a lot...so that's a big deal. I loved seeing each person's personality come out. I loved figuring out their quirks and habits. I loved seeing them in their element while teaching their subjects at the seminars. I loved being a part of a team that loves life and loves Jesus. I truly do believe that the Lord shows himself to us through the relationships He brings us, and I am so grateful for that. It makes His love all the more tangible. 

    It was also hard to leave Spain in general. It was an honor to be able to share a testimony and the Gospel in Madrid after our last session. I am praying that it made an impact on those that were there, and now they have Kenny to ask questions to if they want to. In Barcelona, we were not able to directly share the Gospel because of cultural things. The staff have been trying to get a foot in the door for 30 years. Abe said that in order to gain credibility with the university and the students there, you have to have something to offer that will enhance the student's lives. Obviously, as Athletes in Action, we know that God enhances everyone's lives. Sadly, not everyone thinks that way. Abe said that even though we didn't directly share the Gospel, we were a game changer in helping he and Amy get on campus to do further ministry. They now have credibility, contacts, and friendships with some of the students that they can begin to follow up with. Abe and Amy are so intentional with every opportunity they have to bring Barcelona to the Lord, and I know they will take full advantage of this newly opened door. As Abe said at our last dinner together, "People are people and we need to take care of them."

    Please continue to pray for a full time staff member in Madrid. Everone there is techinally volunteer staff with full time jobs. Their lives often get in the way of what they want to do in ministry. If they had a full time staff person to organize things, their ministry could explode. So, if you want to live in Madrid for Jesus, here's your chance! Get in touch with us! 

    Also please continue to pray for the team, Lisa, Natalie, Sam, Rachel, and myself. Sam, Natalie and Rachel are about to be seniors, and with graduation comes huge, difficult change. They are all so wonderful and I can't wait to see where they all end up. Lisa is praying through some big changes in her own life, so be praying that the Lord will give her clarity on what He wants for her. I am finishing up with AIA in July and heading to Austin, TX, so that will be another huge transition and a lot of details that need to be worked out.

    I am so thankful for this opportunity to spend time doing ministry in Spain with such an incredible team. They truly did steal my heart. I couldn't handle saying goodbye, so I went with "see you later". None of us know when the next time we will see each other will be, but if all else fails, we will party in heaven with each other forever. 

    Until next time, 

    - McKenzie

    #GOAIAUSA     #AthleticTrainers

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  • Where Do Spaniards Change Their Pants?

    Section: Sports Perf.

    Sports Performance - Spain

    Sadly, Thursday marked the last full day in beautiful Barcelona. We decided to spend the morning being tourists. We hit some souvenir shops, got some ice cream, and finished up the last team time in a park full of pigeons. I've literally never seen so many pigeons in my life. 

    Here are a few quotes of the day: 

    "Where does "For Peet's sake" come from? Like...what about Bill?" - Sam 

    "Sir, that's not a bag, that's a washing machine." Rachel or Sam - after discussing the most ridiculous things to buy as souvenirs. 

    That afternoon, we met back at the university for one more day of teaching. We went through a workout (and the reasonings behind everything) that included a dynamic warm up, plyometrics, mechanics, agility, and a few other things. The picture below is a drill that works on the correct way to swing your arms as you run. I think the students really enjoyed how interactive the session was! They even got a little sweaty! 

    One of the strangest things that happened that day, and probably the whole trip, was when I asked one of the students to come demonstrate a movement for me. He said he needed to change out of jeans, so naturally, I assumed he would step out and change in the bathroom. Much to everyone's surprise, he whipped his pants off right there in the front row and put on some shorts. TALK ABOUT UNCOMFORTABLE! But, he was really cool and loved the things taught that day, so it's all good!

    After the session, we headed over to Amy's women's American football team. I had never heard of a legitimate women's team that wasn't just flag football, but apparently it's a thing! I led them through the entire speed workout that I touched on in the university session. They said it was tough, but they did a great job! It's not normal for them to do things like a dynamic warm up, or work specifically on mechanics, so hopefully they learned a lot from actually doing the workout and will incorporate some of it into future practices! 

    This was a really cool opportunity to help Amy build her relationship with the team. It was a very different experience for them, especially since we were Americans. They had a great time and one of the girls was even interested in potentially trying to come to Austin, TX to study and do a little bit of what I will be doing there next year! She wants to study Exercise Science at a university in America, so I'm going to keep in contact with her about coming to Austin! Amy said she wasn't sure if she was a believer, but she seemed excited about the program I'm doing being through a church! Keep praying for Amy as she continues to hang out with these girls, even with a baby on the way! 

    - McKenzie

    #GOAIAUSA     #AthleticTrainers

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  • How To Keep Non-English Speaking Boys' Attention for Dummies

    Section: Sports Perf.

    Sports Performance - Spain

    Thursday was our second day of teaching, and was a little more interactive! We went over nutrition as well as ankle and knee rehab. With the rehab portion, we brought lots of tools that are used in the training room, but instead of just doing the exercises ourselves, we brought the students down to practice for themselves. They loved being able to play with the equipment and get an idea of what they want to use in their own training!

    Afterwards, we played volleyball again and a few more of the students stayed! They seem to really enjoy our company and I think Abe and Amy are making some good connections! It’s really cool to see how intentional they are with everyone. You can tell that they truly are there to live as close to an example of Jesus as possible and share the Gospel through their words and actions.

    After volleyball, we went to a different part of town to work with a high school age boy’s soccer team. I have been learning a ton from Ignition, a sports performance facility in Ohio, so it was really cool to put some of that knowledge to use here in Barcelona! It was a little chaotic, mostly because the players were boys from ages 15-18 and OH YEAH also they didn’t speak English. BUT, they did understand our “watch me and do what I do” motions, so it all worked out in the end. They seemed to truly enjoy it!

    On an even more exciting note, Abe was able to have a great conversation with the coach about Jesus while we took over practice. That’s truly what it’s about. Yeah, it’s great that we can teach some sports performance related things, but we are here to help Abe and Amy with their ministry. Abe said that this particular coach has a mentor mentality towards his team. Apparently, not many people who live here think like that. They see their job as….well.…as a job. They don’t want to deal with their player’s struggles at home or at school or in life. This coach does. He is open to talking with Abe about Jesus, and he is going to have a huge impact on these kids. The fact that Abe was able to have that conversation with him was more than enough reason for us to work with them tonight.

    THANKS JESUS! Be praying that Abe’s relationship with that coach can grow and that he will eventually trust Christ! 

    - McKenzie

    #GOAIAUSA     #AthleticTrainers

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