In the days leading up to the second annual Seattle Seahawks media combine at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, I texted King 5 News sports anchor Chris Egan, who I got to know during my seven-year stint with the Puyallup Herald from 2007 through 2014, if he had any advice for me in preparation for the festivities.
He responded with one word, “stretch.”
I stretched before the media combine competition began but obviously not enough. The grand finale of the combine was the 40-yard dash. My plan, which is pretty consistent in all aspects of my life, was to go absolutely all-out in the 40-yard sprint.
I gave it everything I had and it backfired.
About 28 yards into the dash, I felt my right hamstring pop. On my next stride I could feel my left hamstring seize up immediately as well. I decreased my speed significantly for the final 12 yards and finished with an abysmal 5.933 time. Trainers from Virginia Mason were on hand at the event and promptly examined me. They informed me my hamstrings were indeed intact (not torn or ruptured) but I had suffered two badly pulled hamstrings.
Luckily for me, it was the final event of the day so I didn’t miss an opportunity to compete in the other events on Feb 22. I’m 34 years old and I felt every bit it for the next week. Sitting down in a chair proved to be quite uncomfortable. Tying my shoes was difficult. Walking up or down stairs was also a considerable challenge.
Just two days after the combine, I covered the Eastlake Wolves/Curtis Vikings girls basketball winner-to-state, loser-out regional playoff game on Feb 24. Eastlake Wolves head football coach Don Bartel, who is one of the top motivators in the high school football world in Washington, spotted me standing on the baseline and meandered down from his seats near the top of the bleachers at halftime to pay me a quick visit. He had heard about my injury and said, “I knew you weren’t going to be coming up those steps.”
Bartel couldn’t had been more right. We both laughed and visited until the third quarter was set to tip-off.
The event I thrived in the most during the combine was the bench press competition. I was the first person to compete in bench press and pumped out 91 reps at 65 pounds. I thought for sure I was going to come out on top in bench press. I even told former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jordan Babineaux, who was in charge of the combine, I thought I had the bench press competition sewed up.
I couldn’t be more wrong. Brady Henderson (710 ESPN Seattle) did 92 repetitions and Anthony Halwagy (Power 93.3) pushed out a staggering 101 reps, winning the competition with ease.
In the days following the event, one of my buddies asked me if I regretted the decision to compete in the event due to the double hamstring injury. The answer is absolutely not. In fact, I plan on competing the 2018 Seahawks media combine. I will be going as hard as I possibly can in the 40-yard dash once again. Hopefully this time I won’t suffer another unexpected double hamstring pull!