I am a professional athlete. My career has had its ups and downs but has rewarded my beyond what I ever thought possible. The rookie years were learning times- being taught by those who had gone “pro” years earlier. I learned quickly that: I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought and that there is so much to learn in regards to proper technique and how it coupled with the right gear can make you so much better. And the opportunity to learn from and rub shoulders with some of the legends in our chosen “sport.”
As a professional athlete it has been gratifying to improve and occasionally score some big wins in professional events or on the daily field of practice. Those wins and the adulation, cheers, and recognition could have led to a big head and inflated ego but were kept in check by failures, mistakes, poor preparation, and running into competition that were better athletes than I. There have been the TV, radio, magazine, and newspaper interviews. The countless photos and comments of admiration are flattering and can stroke the ego if not for the many humbling reality checks.
Sure, there have been the tough losses and setbacks, physical and mental slumps and some injuries- cuts, stitches, tendinitis, and a concussion.
As the years go on you start to transition like many athletes into coaching and management but still relish the opportunities to show the younger crowd that you still have a lot to contribute and are not over the hill yet.
If I had to do it all over again, I would. My sport has been immensely satisfying, provided well for my family, allowed me to travel, and create friendships all over the world. My name is Mark Malmstrom and I am an arborist.