So it’s finally that time of year again… Training Camp. The time of year where Football steals Kamalu away and NFL life is in full swing. Though, if you’ve been keeping up with some of my previous football and fitness posts (& my Instagram stories), it felt like football never really ended because most of our offseason was spent training together – and that was quite the humbling experience. This is our 3rd Training camp together and each year always brings its own interesting lessons, and surprises.
Off Season Recap
This off season was an off season like none other because it brought so many new experiences our way. We sailed throughout the Caribbean, explored different islands, and did new things that were way out of our comfort zone!
We also took the time to visit our families; once the season hits, our schedules make it almost impossible to see them as much as we’d like to, so it’s always a blessing when we get to spend as much time with them when we can.
One major aspect of this off season was preparing for the upcoming road ahead. An interesting way Kamalu thought would help him for the upcoming season was asking me to train with him, and boy…. It was challenging, yet the most rewarding thing for many reasons because: 1. It was a great bonding experience for the both of us – it’s always fun when you get to train with your best friend, 2. Training at Dynamic Sports got us into the best shape we’ve been in a while, and 3. It made me appreciate SO MUCH MORE what Kamalu does for us each and every single day.
It’s so easy to talk about Kamalu playing football; I almost take for granted what he does every day because all I see are the results, and not so much the effort being put into it. His work ethic makes me so proud because to him, there’s no such thing as an off day, or an optional day when you’re chasing your dreams. You show up. You do Work. You go Home. Repeat. Getting to experience just how much effort and literal blood, sweat, and tears he puts into his work, I have a whole new respect for the game, my man, and every athlete going through the same grind to chase their dreams.
Training Camp Memories
Our training camp memories always hold a special place in my heart because though it’s a stressful time for everyone, the crazy memories we make in the process are so worth it. I remember our first training camp like it was yesterday. We were 2 kids fresh out of college trying to figure out this crazy thing called life while trying not to lose our minds in the process. It was a time of new beginnings, and we got our first real adult place together; it was also the year we got our first dog! It was a year of a lot of adult firsts for us. When all was said and done, Kamalu had made the practice squad and I couldn’t have been more PROUD of him. At the time, I had no idea what practice squad was, all I know is that my man had a jersey number, and a job; we were so thankful because we knew how much harder he had to work because he was an undrafted free agent. Eventually all the hard work paid off because he eventually earned a spot on the 53-man roster before the end of his first season and even got his first NFL sack that year (proud girlfriend alert lol).
His second training camp was a funnier story. This was the time where we felt like we had everything handled and planned out perfectly (but that’s never really the case in this line of work). I made sure Kamalu packed all his bags the day before, double checked he had everything, made sure we left the house on time to make it to the stadium before their departure for West Virginia (at the time, we lived almost 45 minutes from the stadium), made sure all the fine details were handed. I got him there on time, gave him my over dramatic tearful goodbye, and was on my way home to relax finally. Success!!!…. that is until I get a call half way home from my guy saying “I forgot my duffle bag with all my athletic gear in them…” #MajorFail So I had to rush home, find the duffle bag, and race back to get it to him before they left. Easy right? Wrong. I ended up getting a speeding ticket in the process, and it turned out I didn’t even have to rush because they were there for another 3 HOURS before they actually left…
So they’re at training camp, it’s coming along, so everything is great right? Ummm, not even in the slightest. That was also the year that Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and it couldn’t have picked a worse time to come; worrying about Kamalu’s health and training camp was one thing, but to actually deal with the stress of possibly losing everything we own, and the safety of our City was just a whole other level of anxiety I have never experienced up until then. It was a hard time for everyone, but seeing the way that our city, and us Lady Texans (wives and girlfriends of the players) came together to support one another during this difficult time gave me so much strength and hope. This just goes to show you that no matter how prepared you think you are, life always finds a way to throw interesting surprises your way in the process. This also shows just a small piece of just how involved spouses are with holding everything down while the guys do their thing. When all was said and done, Kamalu ended up earning a spot on the 53-man roster and obviously I was super proud of him, but what made me the proudest was seeing him, the Texans, and the spouses all come together to help our city recover from the devastation of Harvey.
This current training camp will be full of its own interesting surprises and new experiences, I’m sure, but I’m excited for whatever new adventures may come our way. No matter how confident we feel, the worry of whether Kamalu will remain with Houston again this year is obviously on our minds – that’s the nature of the beast. He could either remain here, go somewhere else, or even be completely out of a job. This life comes with so many nail biting moments, but instead of worrying ourselves into constant stress, we’ve learned that the best thing to do is to prepare the best way we can, give it to God, and get ready for whatever comes next. Uncertainty may be there, but it’s about these amazing memories we make in the process that make it all worth while – and I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything.
Training Camp Tips
This past season and upcoming season, the Texans go to a training facility at West Virginia for their camp. Whenever anyone’s job takes them away from their loved ones for a long period of time, it can be hard, but knowing they’re out there working for their goals makes it all worthwhile. It still comes with its challenges because of the all the planning while simultaneously making sure Kamalu is doing okay.
Here is a list of several tips that help us survive the craziness that is Training Camp:
- Communication is Key
- They’re schedule is going to be all over the place during this time, finding a set time that’s just ours to talk and connect is everything. FACETIME is such a great tool to use while he’s away
- Find a Routine
- Kamalu and I have put together a routine that works for us while he’s away. Every morning when he wakes up, I love to send him either a bible verse, different proverbs, or an inspirational quote to begin the day on a good note. His communication throughout the day is sporadic, so during that time, I take whatever communication I can get from him (whether it’s a quick text or phone call). Then I love to keep up with what’s going on with the Houston Texans App. They do a really great job keeping the fans updated with everything that’s going on. At night, we have our facetime call where we decompress the day and relax our minds.
- Another cute practice I’ve gotten in the habit of doing is making a care package for him during camp. I typically like to send it during the half way marker of camp as a mid-way pick me up; it really helps him to power through the rest of camp. I love to fill his care package with all of his favorite snacks, cute card, some corny flowers I know he hates but will definitely make him crack a smile, and a couple things to help him relax, like face masks (I’m obsessed with skin care, therefore so is he lol)
- Keep yourself Busy
- Keeping myself busy while he’s away does wonders for not stressing out. I find my own routine and actives to keep my mind preoccupied. My routine will be a lot different this year because it involves a lot of prep for the LSAT I’m taking in November.
- Stress is your worst enemy
- I admit, our first 2 training camps, I was stressed to the max worrying about if he’ll make the team or not. The constant worry about if he’s feeling 53-man roster confident does no one any good. He gets a lot of pressure from his job on top of the pressure he already puts on himself; the last thing he needs is any more pressure or stress coming from my end. During this hectic time, I’m trying hard to be his peace so that he can always have an outlet whenever he gets stressed out.
- Get your housing situation set up the best way you can
- This is a lot easier said than done because with sports, you just never know where it will take you. We’re currently renting right now, but we have what we call our “home base” in Georgia. When renting, we always try to find Land Lords who understand the situation we’re in, and who will be willing to work with us if we need a quick exit plan.
- Support is everything, on both ends.
- I’ve been cheering on Kamalu since the day we met (literally- I was a cheerleader on the sidelines watching Kamalu play college ball!). I may not cheer anymore, but I’ll always be his biggest fan and cheerleader always; supporting him through camp is a big part of that role. Though, the support is a 2 way street. It’s not just “football football football” all the time, I have my own dreams and goals of Law School that Kamalu helps support me with every single day. I’ll be checking up on him to make sure his camp is running smoothly, but he’ll always be checking in with me to see how my studying is going.
- Faith is KEY
- This one hardly needs an explanation. In a world full of so much craziness and uncertainty, our faith is really what grounds us and keeps us stable and humbled.
- Keep your friends close
- Being in this NFL life, the friends you make are key. They’re the only ones who truly understand whatever you may be going through, because odds are, they’ve probably been through it (or at least understand) what you’re going through. Spending time and supporting your friends around you is not just a good thing for yourself and them, but it also helps the time our guys are away go by faster!
- Try to prepare the best you can for the unexpected
- Get your housing, finances, and next moves prepared the best way you can (Trust me, I know this is easier said than done). No matter how confident Kamalu and I may feel at times, you never really know what could happen.
- Enjoy every moment
- NFL life does not last forever. The average length of a football career is 3.3 years… this is our 3rd. Enjoy every moment, take it all in, because it’ll be over before you know it. So instead of dwelling on the negatives that come with the game, soak in all the positive moments and fun memories.
- Open Practices
- My favorite part of any Training Camp is when I get to watch Kamalu do what he does up close. It’s a great time for everyone there and it really gets you pumped up for the season ahead! His last open practices have always been outside, and it gets HOT in Houston during that time of year. Before each open practice, I make sure that I’m hydrated, have food on hand, and dressed appropriately for the weather conditions.
Our hopes for the Next Season
Our hopes for next season are actually quite simple: To grow from where we were last season. That includes Kamalu as a Player, and myself with my pursuit of my own dreams. The only thing we do as people is to be the best versions of ourselves, and to always find room for growth. No matter what happens this year, as long as we support each other, keep our faith, and persevere, I know we’ll be able to handle anything.
Thank you so much for reading!