More about Coach Melissa

We have all had our challenges with overcoming obstacles, right? Some have had more or higher hurdles than I, some have had less, but in the end, each of us has our journey.
My journey in physical activity started when I was a child. My earliest memory of sports is soccer/football when I was 5 years old. Before kicking the ball soccer ball, I remember wanting to do a summersault before kicking the ball. A summersault before kicking the ball – I have no idea where I got this from, but there I was, before each ball kick, I would somersault. I remember my coach’s words, “Now Melissa, you do not need to somersault before kicking the ball. You can just kick the ball.” But I didn’t want to just kick the ball. I think I felt like that was too boring and a summersault was needed to make this more fun!!

A few years later, one winter day – in Canada – there was an outdoor ice rink in my neighbourhood (of course, there is after all I grew up in Canada) and I felt the urge to learn how to ice skate. After school, I would take my skates and walk down to the outdoor ice rink and put my skates on. Getting on to the ice, there was no one around. Just me alone on the ice. I would then literally throw myself around the ice trying to be like the ice figure skaters I had seen on TV. There was no doubt, several falls, but I kept going and kept practicing alone after school. Finally, at the end of that winter, I could skate. I felt like I could skate well enough to play hockey. So I came home from school and asked my mom if I could play hockey. My mom being my mom, was concerned that I would get hurt playing hockey. So she did what any mom would do whose child does somersaults before kicking a soccer ball and enroll me in gymnastics.

I took to gymnastics like a fish swimming in water. I then spent the next several years in gymnastics and even moved on to the sport of Tumbling and skiing.

The sport of tumbling had now become competitive. I remember being extremely nervous about my first competition. I remember having the thoughts of “What if I fail?” And that thought did scare me. Pushing forward, I made it through my first competition. After a few competitions under my feet, the nerves were far less than ever. I continued in tumbling this until I was a teenager and can still to this day pull out a round-off back tuck – with a bit of pre-stretching beforehand of course!! 😀

Moving away from tumbling, I decided to try other sports. I started competitive swimming, began to learn how to snowboard (which I still love to this day) and played shortstop in baseball. I was quite an active child and teenager. But, I had been having pain in my hip area for the last few years. It was beginning to get quite uncomfortable.
Now about 19 years old, I decided to visit my physician to see if maybe there was something they could help with. X-rays were requested and it turns out I had hip dysplasia. This was causing all the discomfort in walking, running, snowboarding. There I was sitting in the doctor’s office, and my doctor telling me to stop participating in any type of sport because I won’t have long until I’ll eventually need a hip replacement.

No more snowboarding. That’s what the physician said. But was I really the type of person to take “don’t do that?” Like the soccer/football coach telling me to not somersault before kicking the ball? To stop learning how to skate when I had fallen once? No. It had been in my being since I was young. I wasn’t going to stop snowboarding. I wasn’t going to stop working out. I wasn’t going to lie on the sofa a buy my time. I continued to snowboard. I would ride a bike rather than run because I had found running to be the most difficult. I pushed on but managing in the interim.

In my later 20’s I began in fitness competitions. The training involved in the fitness competitions would bother my hip quite uncomfortably. Still, I pushed on even through the pain and discomfort. After three fitness competitions in Canada, I had moved to the USA. Still keeping up with working out every day, even if it was dragging my butt kind of workout, I still kept up the habit.

While living in the USA, I had started taking spin classes (indoor cycling). Enjoying the classes and the low impact on my hip, it was a great alternative.

Life then changed again, and I was now living in Dubai. Missing the spin/indoor cycling classes from the USA, I found a spin class in Dubai. Fell in love with this particular brand of spin. I was in Dubai waiting for my Saudi Visa to come through and was stuck in Dubai for 8 months.

Finally, my Saudi Visa was completed and I was off to Saudi. Luckily while living in Saudi, the compound I was living on needed a spin/indoor cycling instructor. And there I was, teaching what I loved to do.

Eventually, I moved back to Dubai and yes. If you’re putting it together now! I taught at the studio I had fallen in love with. I spent the next two years teaching and loving every class.

On the hips side of things, while in Dubai, I started to see a chiropractor and we had some new x-rays taken. I don’t know where and when exactly, but at some point, I started to feel less discomfort and pain in my hip. The doctor showed me the x-ray and I was blown away by the images. My hip was back in place! I am glad that I pushed through the discomfort and continued to pursue sports. It eventually sorted itself out. I still have mild discomfort today, but as long as I make sure to stretch, it helps a lot.

I know some of you are reading this and have had more serious injuries and might be recovering or have recovered. Or maybe someone has once told you, “You’re not going to be able to do that anymore.” Even non-sport-related, and you just know deep down that you’re not taking that answer. When you have that feeling, you’re in the right frame of mind!! And push on!!

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