Higher Landing’s Athlete Program Director, Mark Matheson, played hockey overseas in France this season. He was named MVP when his team won the French Cup Championship. Since we only met Mark five months ago, we asked him to sit down and reflect on the whirlwind that was the past five months of his life.
Has it really only been five months?
It was November of last year when I was learning how to be a dad for the first time. I would be up many nights rocking my beautiful daughter back to sleep and remember looking down at her peaceful, innocent face thinking… what is tomorrow going to bring? My wife and I made the decision to hold off on going back to Europe to play hockey in the summer, because we wanted to bring our long awaited gift into this world with family and close friends. We had started to somewhat get a grip on this parenting thing and it was time to figure out what was next for our new family. And I didn’t want to sit around waiting for my life to figure itself out.
At some point, every professional athlete experiences downtime, when his or her schedule is less chaotic. That time is usually spent recovering, which is key to sustaining a successful athletic career. I thought, Why not take advantage of the downtime? So, I started to explore my options outside professional sports. I got in touch with Higher Landing and after our introductory meeting I knew it was time to commit to the program and see what options I could create for myself in the near future. I wrote about the Higher Landing program for athletes last year.
At this year’s Master’s golf tournament, Jordon Spieth mentioned how having job security eliminated a lot of stress and left him with more time to develop as an individual. I can relate to that. There were several post-athletic-career opportunities generated by my Higher Landing program. Just a month and half earlier I was staring at a dead end. I have always been a confident person, but having my skills highlighted outside of the world of sports sent me to another level. Without constantly worrying about the future I was left to enjoy the moment.
I wanted to have time with my new family and so we made the decision to fly overseas again and play out the remainder of the 2016 campaign. During this past season I won three championships and was awarded MVP of the playoffs.
Being humble is in my nature and I’m not writing that to gloat, but rather to share my story, as I know many athletes out there struggle with their futures. As Athlete Program Director, I’ve enjoyed hearing from athletes from various professional sports at various levels of competition. The emotions surrounding the transition process are similar for everyone and it’s important to have professional help to count on. We are part of a business that has some very serious uncertainties and the best position to be in is one with choices. That’s what we’re trying to create at Higher Landing.
Five months ago I had zero options, and today I find myself staring at a future with many different attractive paths. I’m ready to head back home and take advantage of them.
For more information regarding programs and upcoming events feel free to reach out to our Athlete Director, Mark Matheson, or fill out a free intake form on our webpage.