Disc Sports, Thoughts

Day 2: Fresh Fruit, Ultimate, Tequila + Tacos

2 Comments 27 June 2011

When I woke up Saturday, I had no idea what an amazing day I would have.

I’m staying with Victor and his family – so his parents, him and his 2 brothers and their bird who sings a lot. I love their house – it’s wide open, gets lots of sunlight and is in a great neighbourhood which is close to everything. They differentiate between a grocery store and a supermarket – grocery store is more where fresh fruit is sold and is for the neighbourhood and the supermarket is much bigger and serves the city. I like the grocery store idea – very welcoming, open concept and the food is fresh.

Anyway, for breakfast, I had Guava and Papaya for the first time – a taste I’m not used to but I like it – and they were so fresh. Yummm!

One thing that’s totally surprised me is the culture here – I didn’t realize how important friends + family is compared to Canada. Victor and his 2 brothers live at home and they are very close. I feel that is a big thing we’re missing in Canada. I feel like it had it’s place sometimes but in Canada we seem much more focused on our careers and entertainment than something real like our friends + family. I’m very lucky to be staying with Victor and getting to see this side of Mexican culture.

We went for a little tour of downtown and it was amazing how many people have fruit stands along the street, and also how many people try to sell something when the car is stopped at a light. We stopped and I got to see the Mausoleum of the Corregidora which holds the remains of Josefa Ortiz Dominguez, a heroine of the Mexican war of independence, and has many statues representing and honouring important people from the history of Queretaro. It’s amazing how much history there is in Queretaro. It’s easy to be proud of your heritage when you’re able to see it and read about it so easily.

Later on, we bought some Tuna fruit (also called Nopales) from a street vendor and it was delicious. I wish we had it in Canada but cactuses are pretty rare!

After we played ultimate and ate some food, we went downtown and watched the Mexico vs USA Golf Cup final at Wicklow’s Irish pub. Their pubs + bars are tucked away so when you walk down the street you really don’t know what’s inside until you get to the door. It’s quite neat as it makes the downtown seem a lot less commercial.

After the game, we went to meet up with some of the players from Malaki and I got to drink some delicious Mexican Tequila. I was feeling mucho bueno and got to eat some real tacos from a street vendor which were also quite delicious. I’m getting used to the spice in their food slowly.

I hope all my friends and family are doing amazing. I didn’t realize how much traveling would open my eyes to so much – but I guess when I see the culture the way I am, I can’t help but be influenced and inspired.

Disc Sports, Thoughts

Day 1: Departure – Calgary to Queretaro

No Comments 27 June 2011

I love to write and I’m so excited to be in Queretaro, Mexico coaching + playing with Malaki UFC (Ultimate Frisbee Club) so I will be blogging about my trip. There will be lots of randomness – I’m very aware and pay attention to a lot so you might think some of it is weird but if it’s in there, I thought it was neat enough to mention.

Neat thing I saw on the ground: Baggage truck pulling a chuckwagon with wooden barrels on the runway at the Calgary airport.

Neat thing I saw in the air: The captain made an announcement when we were flying over the Grand Canyon so I got to see that from the plane.

Annoying thing: The flight attendant on US Airways giving a long speech about an air rewards credit card.

Nice little thing: Having an empty seat next to me on both flights.

Random thing: Watching other people try to sleep is entertaining – there really isn’t a comfortable position and you see people try everything.

Something I enjoyed: Reading “The Art of Learning” on the plane. The book arrived last week, generously sent to me by Michael Lawler, a former coach o Boston’s Brute Squad, a women’s ultimate frisbee team, as his way of thanking me for posting his videos on the Ultimate Rob website.

The first part of the book describes chess in such a brilliant manner that I immediately appreciate the complexity and skill involved. The second part, which I have just started, discusses Tai Chai and the practice of Push Hands, a competitive sport which incorporates a lot of the Tai Chai movements.

So far I’ve learned the difference between entity theorists and learning theorists which leads to understanding how we best learn and how that core approach to learning will determine how we perform under pressure of when faced with a new, difficult problem.

Something pretty cool: I was the only Canadian on the flight to Mexico from Phoenix.

Something gross: Airport fast food restaurants and the smell that lingers in the plane from everyone having just eaten it or eating it on the plane

Temperature thing: It is so hot in Phoenix and not a good hot either. It was around 115 degrees F when we landed. Makes me enjoy Calgary’s summer much more.

Something this trip has fueled so far: The desire to travel more! I’ve been all over Canada and the USA but this is my first trip outside of those 2 countries. It’s more than I could have ever imagined and I want to do more.

Disc Sports, Thoughts

Putting it Into Perspective

No Comments 24 June 2011

Today I leave for Mexico. Specifically, Queretaro. But I’ll be flying into Mexico City. I’ve known for a while that Mexico City was huge population wise and it has always impressed me how big it is.

I’ve always been fascinated by numbers – I still remember how amazed I was in grade 6 when I found out the population of California. For Social Studies, we were each given a state and we had to research and prepare a report on the state. I got California and I was blown away when I learned that they had more people in the whole state than we did in our whole country. That opened a whole new world for me and really put a lot into perspective – about how many people there really was in the world. Up to that point, I hadn’t really traveled much other than crossing the border with my family once in a while, so I felt like California was some foreign land. When I was in grade 6, we definitely didn’t have the internet – and we actually used floppy disks that were floppy.

Anyway, fast forward to 2011 and 17 years later and today I will be flying into Mexico City, with a population of almost 9 million. Now, I grew up in a town of 6,000 and although I’ve lived Halifax and Calgary and spent time in big cities, this is a whole new experience for me.

I notice the little things and I can only imagine what it will be like flying into such a massive city. I’m excited, nervous, scared but mostly just incredibly grateful for this opportunity. That opportunity will be to coach + play with the Malaki Ultimate Frisbee Club (UFC). It’s because of Ultimate Rob that I was able to get to know their captain, Victor and it’s because of him that I have this amazing opportunity.

Have you experienced something similar? When you had a change in perspective? I’d love to hear your stories!

Thoughts

Growing Up Hurts

2 Comments 23 June 2011

Trying to grow up is hurting, you know. You make mistakes. You try to learn from them, and when you don’t, it hurts even more. ~ Aretha Franklin

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. Learning from mistakes is what defines our character. Sticking to our values that make each of us amazing and unique will be what helps us learn from our mistakes – in our own way.

Get busy living or get busy dying. The one absolute in life is that we will all die at some point. It’s what we choose to do with our time on this earth that will determine what legacy we leave behind, who we touched, who will remember us and what impact we left on the world. I like to think that even if I inspired one person to be better, then my life will have been worth it. But why stop there? Why not inspired hundreds, thousands, or even millions? That ability exists in each and every one of us.

Will you choose to define your life or let your life define you?

Family, Maritimes

Why My Dad is Awesome

No Comments 18 June 2011

In honour of father’s day, I wanted to say a few things about my Dad. How much I appreciate everything that he is to me. How lucky I am for him to be my Dad. How I wish I lived closer to him. And how so much I want him to be happy.

Any man can be a father.  It takes someone special to be a Dad.

There’s a reason I call him Dad.

My Dad and I have been through a lot together. Losing my mom. Having arguments. My struggles in relationships/university/life. And he’s always been there for me. Even when I didn’t want to ask, I knew he would be there for me. Without him, I don’t know what my life would be like. I know I wouldn’t be as strong today if it wasn’t for the support, the guidance and the belief of him in me.

Sure he can be tough on me. But he wants me to be happy and if he feels that I’m making a mistake, he won’t hesitate to tell me.

We’re very similar people. I remember in high school talking to my guidance counselor about the relationship between my Dad and I. About how we would argue about the dumbest things. And about how stubborn we both are. She said it’s because we are both so similar that sometimes we will have battles. And that I needed to try and be more patient with him. And I think I’ve been really good. I know I’ve been a jerk many times. I know I’ve made decisions he didn’t agree with. I just hope that he is proud of me, that he understands what guides me, why I am the way I am and he knows that I’m working towards creating my own life and doing what will make me happy.

I have many things to thank my Dad for – but the greatest gift he ever gave me was his love of sports, athleticism + the spirit of competition. Ever since I was a kid, I was involved in sports. Growing up, I was in the water + on the ice before I was a year old. I learned to play golf when I was only a few years old. I played baseball all the time in the backyard, I would throw the football with my Dad, I would watch him play touch football, I would watch sports with him and I would go to his softball games (and annoyingly call him Clifford the Big Red Dog). Dad, I’m sorry I called you that…I can only imagine how embarrassing it was for your kid to call you that. Wow. To thank my dad for all the incredible things he has done I wanted to gift him one of the best pool sticks, he loves playing pool!

I am so thankful for him coaching my hockey team, for coaching my baseball team, for driving me to/from practices, going to weekend games/tournaments with me, paying for all of my sports and never stopping me from trying out for the AAA hockey teams. Wanting me to do my best. Spending hours helping me practice in the driveway, shooting off the piece of plexiglass he got from work. Playing basketball. Teaching me how to dive and watching me land flat on my back 15 times in a row trying to do a 1 1/2 off the 1 meter board. Setting up some weights in the basement for me so I could start working out. Giving me advice although at times it seemed that I didn’t listen to him (I did listen to him – sometimes I was stubborn and didn’t want to admit that he knew what he was talking about).

I’m sorry for being difficult. I’m sorry for not caring more about your situations and instead thinking my hockey was the most important thing in the world. I realize now how hard you worked at a job you didn’t like with a boss who was a jerk just so Margo and I could play sports and follow our dreams. And how we’ve turned out, we have you to thank.

For Margo going to university on a full golf scholarship to me competing at Nationals in ultimate. To Margo going to Nationals for golf to me going to World’s for flying disc. It all started with you + mom being there, supporting us, teaching us and coaching us. Being our biggest fans.

I hope you know that what you’ve done for me I cannot adequately express in words. I’ve done my best here but it goes so much deeper. Growing up, I know that Margo and I were the luckiest kids ever. To have two loving, dedicated, athletic and caring parents in our lives. I only hope I can someday provide that to my kids. I would be honoured to have been as good to my kids as you have been to me.

Today, on this Father’s Day on Sunday, June 18, 2011, Dad, I want to say how much I love and appreciate you.

Your son,
Robert J McLeod

 

Movies, Thoughts

2:37: The Movie – A Touching Story with a Great Message

No Comments 18 June 2011

I’ve watched a lot movies…and only a few times have I watched a movie that was surprisingly really good. The last time I can really remembering it happening, I had downloaded Slumdog Millionaire just before it was released in theatres. I had never heard of it and didn’t know anything about the movie. As you know, that movie went on to receive huge acclaim and I knew after watching it that it was going to become huge.

Well, I watched a movie last night that was really good. Not good in a “wow I want to watch that over and over again” sort of way, but good in a “wow, that was really powerful. what a message”. Again, had never heard of it and didn’t know anything about it.

It was called 2:37 and the plot, from Wikipedia:

A contemporary, ensemble drama telling the complex tale of six high school students whose lives are interwoven with situations that so many of today’s youth are faced with. Each of the six students have their own personal problems and goals.

The story takes place during a normal school day. At precisely 2:37 a tragic suicide will occur, affecting the lives of a group of students and their teachers. As the story unfolds, the individual stories of the six teenagers are revealed, each with their own personal significance. This eventually leads up to one of the characters taking their own life. An unwanted pregnancy unravels a terrible, dark secret; all is not as it appears for the seemingly confident school football hero; an outcast must deal with everyday taunts from his peers; a beautiful young girl battles an eating disorder; a stellar student constantly struggles to win his parents’ approval; while another uses drugs to escape from his own demons.

There are a few surprises in the story but overall, it’s a very touching, emotional story. But really good. If you’re looking for a movie with a great story + message, I’d recommend 2:37.

Disc Sports

When the Hard Work Finally Pays Off

No Comments 16 June 2011

For 2 years I’ve run a website called Ultimate Rob (www.ultimaterob.com). In that time, I’ve published roughly 50 articles and posted more than 60 videos. My goal when I started the website was for it to be the go to website for ultimate frisbee but very quickly I realized that it wasn’t feasible – both from a time perspective on my side and from a searching perspective from a user side. I decided to instead focus on writing articles and filming videos that would help people very simply “Play Ultimate Better”.

So far, I’ve seen my fan base grow consistently and that’s been done mostly through word of mouth. I haven’t spent money on advertising, although I know that would have helped me grow more quickly. I also haven’t spammed people like a lot of people do when they don’t understand marketing and so the fans who do follow me appreciate what I do and I can honestly say that I haven’t had 1 negative comment in 2 years on any of my videos or articles. I have had some great discussions with players from all over the world – Ireland, Australia, Mexico, Poland, China, Philippines to name a few – and have been lucky enough to meet some of those players in person. When I started, I had some general ideas about how to monetize Ultimate Rob because I have spent a few thousand dollars to get everything going. However, the more time I’ve spent on the website and the more I’ve connected with people, I’ve decided that I had more value to offer than charging for content. The approach I chose to take was to offer to run clinics for teams and have them pay for my expenses. This would allow me to travel, share my knowledge and meet some awesome people. Although I wasn’t charging for the clinic per se, I was hoping to sell some of my dvd’s (I created a dvd 2 summers ago and have sold roughly 50 copies). With that in mind, I have spoken to some ultimate players in different countries about running a clinic for them – and so far none have happened.

Until now.

On Monday, the captain of the Malaki UFC (Ultimate Frisbee Club) contacted me and asked if I would consider going to Mexico from June 24 – July 4 to coach them and play a tournament with them. It’s still hard to believe it’s happening because, although I knew I could do it, I didn’t think it would happen. Well now, it is.

Monday was a flurry of activity as I was sending messages back and forth with Victor trying to figure out all the logistics and when we both realized that it was going to work, I spoke with my boss, who gave me the thumbs up to book the time off. Victor promptly booked my flight and next Friday, June 24, I will be boarding a plane bound for Mexico City. I will be staying in Querétaro, which from all the research I’ve done so far looks like an amazing city. According to Victor, they have the world’s 3rd largest boulder, a pyramid built by the Chichimecas, it’s a colonial city established by the Otomis indians, then colonized by the Spaniards, they have a huge aquaduct with 72 arches, and the wine there is supposed to be amazing. I’m not sure if I’ll be close to any beaches but I’m pretty excited to see a part of Mexico that most people going to Mexico don’t (as many people visit the resorts on all inclusive deals). It will for sure be the experience of a lifetime and it opens the door for more opportunities like this.

I will be taking pictures and videos and will be blogging while I’m there. This is the first time I will be traveling outside of Canada + the USA so I’m beyond myself with excitement!

I wanted to thank everyone who has believed in me and supported me while I’ve built Ultimate Rob to where it is today. I have many more things planned and I am so excited to share the sport of ultimate (and disc sports) with more people!

Best,
Rob McLeod
aka Ultimate Rob

Thoughts

The Universe Speaks…and All it Took was a Decision

No Comments 14 June 2011

You know the feeling when you think you’re on the right path but there’s a nagging feeling that there is something not quite right? And then after some soul searching, you figure out what it is? Perhaps it came about due to a catalyst of some sort, but whatever caused it, you figure out what wasn’t quite right.

I had that happen on the weekend. I’ve known for a while that I wasn’t being the best I could be. And although a catalyst was involved, it was time for me to make the decision. It made me feel nervous, excited, scared, anxious and hopeful all mixed together. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that way and so I know this is real and it’s acutally happening.

And, because of that decision, I’ve had some pretty amazing things happen to me seemingly right away. Looking back, they have been building for a while, but it’s really cool how everything unfolded. I know I’m being cryptic but I will reveal what I’m talking about very soon. Just one more day and I can make it public!

One of my favourite quote (yes I have a lot of them – http://oddandmisunderstood.com/favourite-quotes/) relates quite well to what happened to me this weekend. And so I leave you with it.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. – Calvin Coolidge

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.

Begin it now.

Nutrition

How Food Has Changed in the Past 30 Years

5 Comments 09 June 2011

I’m reading Michael Pollan’s amazing book “In Defense of Food” and literally every page I’m learning something new about our food system, the history of public policies and why many people are more confused about food and nutrition than ever before. You will continue to see more blog posts related to health and wellness as I feel that I can have a positive impact on others by giving them a glimpse into what I’ve learned through my reading and education on this topic. I don’t profess to know it all – in fact I’ve only barely scratched the surface, but I know I’m onto something when multiple books in totally different genres say the same thing and when a book I’m reading matches conferences I go to.

It’s totally frightening what has been done to our food and the fact that nutritionism has played a major role in our confusion, our obesity and our general lack of information related to the most important act we do every day. That being said, I’d like to share with you an excerpt from his book and I would love to hear your thoughts on it:

Since 1980, American farmers have produced an average of 600 more calories per person per day, the price of food has fallen, portion sizes have ballooned, and, predictably, we’re eating a whole lot more, at least 300 more calories a day than we consumed in 1985. What kind of calories? Nearly a quarter of these additional calories come from added sugars (and most of that in the form of high-fructose corn syrup); roughly another quarter from added fat (most of it in the form of soybean oil); 46 percent of them from grains (mostly refined); and the few calories left (8 percent) from fruits and vegetables. The overwhelming majority of the calories Americans have added to their diets since 1985 – the roughly 92% of them in the form of sugars, fats, and mostly refined grains – supplies lots of energy but very little of anything else.

Now, you might be saying ok, but I live in Canada and these are American stats. Well, that’s not necessarily true. While we’re not as overweight as the US, we’re not that far behind them. And it’s certainly enough that we should be more aware of the food we put in our bodies. Sure, we might not feel it 1 week from now or even 1 month from now but 10, 20, 30 years from now we sure will. It’s about quality of life and being healthy for the long term – not trying to make our bodies look at good as possible but putting crap food into them.

The point here is that the food we eat today has drastically changed from food 20+ years ago. We need to start eating more organic food for many reason which I will explore further in subsequent blogs.

How do you approach food? While you don’t have to stress about what you eat, it’s important to know just what has been added to our food and how our food has changed over the years.

 

Thoughts

What Are You Afraid Of?

No Comments 08 June 2011

This post is inspired by one of my favourite quotes, by Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

Every time I read that quote, I get shivers and think wow. I mean, if you stop and think about it, it really is a powerful, amazing quote.

The potential which exists in every one of us is incredible. What is stopping us from getting there? The fear of us failing? Well I can tell you that if you’re not going after what you can achieve then you’re already failing by just sitting there.

And it truly is our light which most frightens us. Knowing that we’re amazing beyond what we can fathom means that we can do great things. Some of us are afraid that with great things come great responsibilities. Sometimes sure. But it doesn’t have to. We can be the architect of our own lives. We can design the future that we want to have.

I’m struggling with this right now actually. I’m torn between doing something that works & can give me the life I want or building someone innovative & unique as I’m not sure where it will go. I know it has potential. I know it can be big. I want to do both so I have something to fall back on but do I have the ability to go after both with full effort? I’m going to find out soon as that’s my goal.

And the quote doesn’t just mean a job or career and making money – it means anything in our lives. For me, sports is a huge part of my life. I’ve always played sports, won athlete of the year in high school, and this year will be going to Colorado to compete in the 2011 WFDF World Flying Disc Championships. I’ve been throwing a frisbee, or a disc of some design for 11 years. I love throwing. It’s like meditation for me. I can go out and throw on my own for 2 hours and it helps me re-energize, refocus and re-connect. I’ve learned with respect to sport that I don’t have to be afraid of what my potential is – I know that if I put in the time practicing, I can be awesome. And it’s fun being awesome at throwing.

What is something you are passionate about? What is something holding you back? And is it really?

Thoughts

“Christmas Day” Excitement

No Comments 06 June 2011

Remember when you were a kid and you woke up on Christmas day?
The feeling you had. The excitement you felt.
How you could hardly wait to open your gifts.

What makes you feel like that now?

Does someone?
Do you spend a lot of time with that person?

Does something?
Do you spend a lot of time doing that?

Because you can.
We can all feel that way.
Rediscover the “Christmas Day” excitement.
Surround yourself with people and things that makes you feel that way.
And have a Merry Christmas year round.

Family, Misc, Thoughts

The 3 Types of Friends in Our Lives

2 Comments 05 June 2011

Moving forward is all about getting to know yourself and knowing what you need to make yourself happy.

I’ve met a lot of people who don’t have a passion and don’t have dreams. For whatever reason they let others dictate their lives for them, whether it’s their parents, their friends, or their partner. I’ve been there too and let others influence my direction. Sometimes it’s good for them to have that impact, but it’s much better when their impact affects you in a good way.

For example, say you’re really passionate about sports. And your friends like to drink a lot. What will benefit you in a positive way and help you move forward?

Or, you’re really passionate about going to live theatre but your friends love going to the movie theatre. Again, what will benefit you in a positive way and help you move forward?

We all choose to have people in our lives for a certain reason. Early in our lives, we’re friends with people from junior/senior high school because we live in the same town/community as them and it’s easy since we can’t drive.

Later on, when we go to university/college, we become friends with a group who are in the same program as us or who participate in the same activities as us.

After school, we’re friends with people from work because we spend so much time with them. They don’t necessarily share the same interests as us but they’re like family since we’re around them so much.

So in theory, we can have 3 types of friends – friends who are convenient to be friends with, friends who become close since they spend so much time around us and friends who share the same passions + interests as us. Which one will help us move forward? Well, the latter. The first two could also fall in the last category but not necessarily.

You see, when we let others dictate our lives and distract us from our path and our goals, then our dreams will suffer and will take longer for us to reach.

If your friends don’t understand when you choose to follow your passion rather than theirs, if they’re a true friend, they’ll understand. If they don’t, then they’re not are they?

Just something to think about. Happy Sunday and cheers to my 100th post!

Thoughts

Instituting Change

2 Comments 04 June 2011

You know when you get to a point that you know you need to make some changes in your life?

But it’s difficult because change can be scary.

And unknown.

But you’ve been here before.

And as scary as it seems, you know that it’s worth it.

So what’s stopping you from instituting change in your life?

I know the things I need to change.

And so I begin.


About Rob


Rob "Frisbee Rob" McLeod is a motivational speaker and frisbee ambassador living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He competes in ultimate, disc golf, dog disc and overall flying disc competitions. Rob currently holds 6 Guinness World Records, 10 World Championships and the Canadian Distance Record.

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