BE Ultimate sponsored athlete
by BE Ultimate
ewfoundland is a unique province. Full of history, rugged coastlines, and quaint towns, this beautiful region lies on the very eastern tip of Canada. The province, as one of the maritimes, was able to successfully lock down early in the COVID-19 outbreak, allowing athletes like Erin Daly to get back to gyms and training earlier than athletes elsewhere. The isolation is a blade that cuts two ways though, and while keeping cases low for the last year has been great for training, it makes competing with the rest of Canada difficult in the best of times. For Erin, that fact made the cancellation of Worlds 2020 a particularly tough blow after spending the time and effort to travel for tryouts and securing a coveted spot on the Canadian team, only for the opportunity to be ripped away. The Newfoundland native didn’t let this setback get in the way though, and she set her sights on the next competition.
“The biggest challenge was making Team Canada and then having it cancelled after the long journey to finally make the team.”
Competition has been a driving factor for Erin over the last year. Her motivation to play at Worlds and get back to USA Nationals kept her focused and ready. That focus had to shift in the early days of 2021, however. With further restrictions being applied as a result of rising case numbers, Erin found herself relegated to home once again. Not only that, but with Worlds cancelled once more, she was forced to reevaluate her motivations.
“Mostly thinking about future competitions has kept me motivated, when we’ll be able to travel and compete again. When we’re playing against really good players, I want to be able to match up well.”
The drive to stay competitive is still there, but exercising to stay happy, to avoid grumpy moods, and for pure enjoyment has risen to the surface in the last few months. A few sessions of yoga and getting outside for snowshoeing have been enough to feel good. It’s a lesson Erin would offer to anyone struggling with training at the moment: that pushing yourself to your limits just might not be possible right now and that’s okay. A walk, a yoga session, or any amount of movement is enough to feel good about yourself. Doing little things is enough.
“You don’t need to be worried if you don’t feel like you can train to the full amount right now. Going out for a walk for thirty minutes or doing twenty minutes of yoga and stretching is good, you can still feel proud.”
Doing little things applies to social aspects of life as well. For Erin, realizing the importance of her group of friends, making an effort to reach out to people she wants to keep in contact with—each little thing is necessary. It comes at a tough time for Erin particularly because she’s taken on a new role in the ultimate community of Newfoundland. With the population being small and isolated, Erin has had to overcome additional challenges to become one of the best players in Canada, one of which was getting recognized. That lesson needs passing down to other talented athletes coming out of the maritime province, and Erin is doing her best to help out and coach younger players who are trying to break into the ultimate scene.
“It’s a really new thing for me. I think they know it’s going to be a lot more challenging being so remote. The biggest thing for us is getting exposure, so we say ‘take as much video as you can’ because not everyone is gonna know who you are.”
One way or another, Erin is not done with ultimate, or it with her. With expectations high for the next tournament, be it the Canadian Ultimate Championships, USA Nationals, or Worlds, Erin plans on showing up and grabbing that elusive gold. The pandemic has undeniably been a setback, but Erin is used to dealing with setbacks, and this one is no different.
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