A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to have dinner with a good friend and former roommate from Boston College and Olympic Snowboarder, Tyler Jewell. It had been a long time since I last saw Tyler. We wanted to catch up before he moved back east for the fall.
First, Tyler talked about his endeavor of trying to just make the Olympic Snowboard Team. Tyler explained he had to take odd jobs just to make ends meat to be able to train properly and buy equipment. One job was being a sausage vendor – CRAZY! He went on to explain that essentially that his back was against the wall and had to do anything in stay in the game. His story just made me think how focused he was just to take some ridiculous jobs. He even lived out of his car for a few months to save money for equipment. I remember the story he told me how he lived in a tent at Steamboat, Colorado and ate meals at a local hospital for less than five dollars.
For a while, the Olympic Snowboard Team was tied in with Home Depot, which helped support his endeavor financially but dropped him in favor of other racers. He still pushed on, knowing his ultimate goal – getting to the Olympics.
Tyler said he grew up being a top youth rider in Sudbury, Mass, but went to Boston College to get a degree and appease his parents. His father a vascular surgeon paid for his schooling but wanted Tyler to make his snowboarding his ‘thing.’ Tyler knew at any moment he could go home but once he did his dream of winning a gold medal would falter.
Impressive as I heard most of these stories before, they were just so inspiring to hear again. Tyler finished 11th in the parallel giant slalom at the Torino Games and 13th in Vancouver. He recounted how he could have been a bit more aggressive in his last Olympic Race. Even as hard as that was for him take, Tyler was honest about his mistake.
What impresses me the most is his dedication to the sport. I always knew he took things seriously and he knew this is what he wanted to do – Snowboard. You never know we could see him in the next Olympics. Regardless, Tyler is a student of the sport and is willing to sacrifice anything to make the next step.
Let this be a lesson learned, if you think you are having a back kicking day, stay the course. Become the ultimate student of kicking; immerse yourself so deep in the kicking game that you are willing to sacrifice anything to make your goals.