Jessica Munoz Released out of the Hospital and Walks away a Double “Gold Medalist”
I am so proud of Jessica because she is the epitome of a “true champion”, which is someone that can find a way to win in spite of the obstacles in their way. She overcame one obstacle after another and NEVER once looked back on her way to winning two Gold Medals.
Jessica came to me after securing a spot on the Jr. National Racquetball team by winning the Girls Doubles 18 and under division at the Jr. National Championships in June 2009. Jessica and her partner, Amanda, were going to represent the USA at the Jr. World Championships in the Dominican Republic in December 2009.
Jessica worked extremely hard with me and the physical trainer week after week leading up to the Jr. National Team Training Camp in Colorado Springs, CO at the OTC in the middle of the summer. She was in phenomenal shape and completely surprised all the coaches by being one of the most prepared of all the athletes. Unfortunately after she returned home from the Jr. National Team Training Camp she left immediately to go to Columbia. It was tragic what happened to her from that day forward which took her away from training (see interview below) and she wound up in the hospital.
There is one thing I know she NEVER gave up….never, never, never. When I visited her in the hospital she had one focus in mind ALL the time….get well so she could make the trip to the Dominican Republic and win a medal for the U.S. We ALL worked together, her parents, doctors, psychologists, trainers and me to help make her dream a reality. I cannot say there weren’t ups and downs, but NEVER once did I hear her say, “I CAN’T”. I ONLY heard her say, “I CAN and I WILL” and that is exactly what we focused on.
LOTS of hard work, dedication, commitment, focus, concentration and “never say die attitude” is what stayed with her all the way up until she stepped up on that podium in the Dominican Republic to WIN Double Gold.
Let’s hear her story:
How does it feel to be a World Champion?
Becoming a world champion was the most unbelievable feeling you can imagine! I was so emotional after the win that I could just stand there in tears, I mean, the realization of overcoming many obstacles in my life just to show up was big, but this was so much more.
When you qualified for the Jr. National Team and knew you were going to go to DR how did you feel?
I felt good. There was a feeling of accomplishment, but I was not sure how I would be received by the U.S. team after competing against them for Colombia. I saw a lot of social barriers that I wasn’t sure about.
What did you do to prepare?
I trained daily at a very high level. I would work with you about 4 days a month for skills training, I would use Steve Laslo with H.P.I. for my core strength training, and my Dad would bring all the elements together daily to motivate and push me beyond my limits. Later on, after my accident, I brought Dianna McNabb into the picture as a supporting sports psychologist.
You overcame a HUGE obstacle to win…tell us the story BRIEFLY?
Well, a brief look into what happened with me after the Colorado Springs training camp in August. I came home from Colorado Springs and left two days later for Colombia. This was to help my Mom take care of my Grandma after her back surgery. While in Medellin, I witnessed several tragedies and experienced one of my own. On November 5th, I was involved in an auto accident where my vehicle hit a tree head on doing 55 m.p.h. I came out of the accident with only minor injuries, but with head trauma spent the next two weeks in the children’s hospital. After coming out of the hospital and trying to get moving toward world’s again, I had to overcome many individuals that did not think I was ready to function at a world level competition. My mom and dad stayed right beside me encouraging me to stay positive and focus on my goals. Doctor’s wrote letters, money came for tickets and hotels, and I was on my way!
Why do you think you NEED a coach?
Someone needs to be there to bring out the best in your abilitities, and having a coach that is involved on a world level of play allows you to optimize everything you have inside you and combine it with a structured plan for success. Everyone has an opinion, but not many can structure the plan the way a good coach can.
Most importantly WHY did you choose FRAN DAVIS?
Fran was chosen because of her unique ability to connect with me in a way that would demand perfection, but in a true compassionate way to bring out the best in my personality. She finds me where “I live” and connects with me there.
How is what you are learning from Fran ENHANCING your GAME?
Fran has given me the opprtunity to believe in myself and not let me get by with “I can’t”. She demonstrates through our training that all things are possible if we put the right plan in place. I am going into every match now with a true belief that the game is mine to win or lose and that I am in control of either result.
How did Fran and Diana get you ready for Jr. Worlds?
Fran was with me at Children’s Hospital in Seattle and very supportive in my rehab. This gave us a special connection bringing me to a new level not only in my game, but also where I was in my life. My training following the accident was now with someone that had been there for me in my personal life.
Dianna helped me realize some very important techniques for maintaining mental focus during a time where my mind was really wanting to be all over the board. The skills she taught me allowed me to become a world champion.
How IMPORTANT is it for your coach to KNOW you as a person NOT JUST as a RB Player?
This is priceless! As mentioned above, Fran was there at a very important moment in my life and that developed a strong bond between us.
Anything else along those lines would be wonderful.
Fran is a great coach, great mentor, great friend! If my life in racquetball were to end today, Fran would always remain in my thoughts because of her unselfish kindness when a friend was hurting.