Sunday, June 17, 2007
On tour for the past two weeks, living out of a suitcase and waking up in a different city every night makes me appreciate that the road trip for a professional athlete, actor or musician can be extremely stressful.
Some background. On June 1, the Blue Planet Run left from the UN in New York to begin a relay around the world that will last 95 days, cover 16,000 miles and raise money to supply safe drink water to the billion people in the world without it. There are 20 runners, representing a variety of countries around the world, running 10 mile segments so that the relay continues uninterrupted 24 hours a day. I signed on as part of the medical support staff and spent the past two weeks seeing Europe at 7mph in the back of one of the support vans.
Every morning, I had to be reminded what country I was in, where we were going to be traveling, and where we would end. My comfortable routines at home were displaced and the news and sports of the day were lacking in North American content. Baseball, basketball and hockey were nowhere to be found in local papers, replaced instead by football (soccer), rugby and depending upon which country, golf, tennis, cycling or cricket.
Still the sports issues were the same. Controversies continue to abound with doping infractions in cycling. Head injuries are the order of the day in soccer and assorted bumps, bruises and fractures are prevalent in most sports. What I didn’t read was much about the private lives of athletes, except David Beckham of course. It seems that the readership is much more interested in play on the field.
So back to the rock tour and the road trip. We perform much better when routines are established and the body remains in the same time zone, the same bedroom, and the same eating pattern. Once taken onto the road, small changes in environment require significant mental strength to overcome alterations in routine. After my two weeks on the road, playing a different city every day, I can appreciate how hard it is to win on the road. Home field advantage is more than knowing where the soft spot is on the field; it starts with getting up in the morning.