A cornerman, or simply corner, is the term for a coach who assists a fighter during a bout in the ring. While watching a fight you will notice that a cornerman will get the boxer liquids, towel him off, and apply ice to bruises and cuts in between rounds. These seem like requirements that could easily be met by a lot of people. Then why are boxers so picky about who is in their corner? Because there is more to the corner than meets the eye.
The cornerman needs to instill confidence in his/her boxer with passion and reinforcement. The words a boxer hears after getting knocked around for three minutes will directly affect the outcome of the next three minutes. The person in that corner better believe their boxer will win. No matter how battered the boxer is when returning to the corner, this belief should never waver. This is the kind of faith that can’t be taught or replicated. It exists fully or not at all. I truly believe that the words and expressions exchanged in that corner can determine the entire outcome of a fight. Most of us aren’t boxers but everybody is fighting for something. Everyone has goals, dreams, and aspirations. Everyone needs a cornerman in order to win his or her fight.
I feel blessed to say I have many people in my corner. However right now I want to describe one of these people in particular. His name is Dave Ceislowski. He works with Recharge/Focus Physical Therapy in Bend, Oregon and travels with our team in the winters. He also used to be a very competitive cross-country skier. I first met Dave during the 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden. I remember clicking with him right away. I loved his spirit and enthusiasm. Over the last year and a half our relationship has continually grown stronger.
A little over two months ago I felt a strange feeling in my right knee during a bike ride. This feeling continually became worse as time went on. I kept training but was losing the ability to partake in activities such as biking, weights, and plyos. I saw some physical therapists and doctors. I completed specified exercises and even received a cortisone shot in the knee. Nothing was helping. In fact, it was only becoming worse. I was missing training and losing sleep due to stress. I sent Dave a text message describing my frustration. He texted me back immediately and said, “Come to Bend, I’ll find you a place to stay and fix you up.”
I remember my mood changing drastically the second I received that text message. I was on board immediately. My mom said, “Why would you drive 10 hours up to Oregon when there are plenty of physical therapists A LOT closer?” To her it made no sense, but to me it made all the sense in the world. I trusted him.
The next day I packed up my Subaru and hit the road. Ten hours later I was sitting around the table with Dave and his family eating dinner. After dinner we went for a walk around the town and I was limping badly. After sitting in the car all day my knee was definitely the worst it had been. However, over those next two weeks in Bend my knee improved drastically.
Dave worked with me everyday strenuously. He woke up at 4:30 am to train with me before work and even set aside his lunch breaks in order to fit me in for PT. He worked with me on my mechanics walking, running, biking, and skiing. He even completed two brutal roller ski time trials with me. His knowledge and passion for helping athletes impressed me. For those two weeks Dave gave me everything he had. He was and will remain to be, my cornerman.
I have returned to Park City, Utah and am looking forward to getting back into all my usual training activities. I was able to continue roller skiing while injured and feel my fitness is in a good spot. The next step now is getting onto the ski jumping hill.
Thanks for reading. Today, be sure to thank all the people in your corner.