Jenny Boucek believes professional athletes and service members have a lot in common. An assistant coach of the Seattle Storm Womens National Baskatball Association team, she compared the demands of the two professions in a talk for 98th Combat Stress Control at Albanese Hall on Lewis Main Nov. 15 as part of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program.
Im a teammate of yours in this community, Boucek said. Were teammates. If my part is to come here and encourage you, I want to do my part on this team because I believe in what youre doing.
Boucek was a four-year starter at the University of Virginia and played two years in the WNBA. Boucek has been coaching since suffering a career-ending back injury in 1998.
Chaplain (Capt.) Aprill Bright made a connection between JBLM and the Storm when she spoke at a Faith and Family night in Seattle last season. Bright reached out to the organization to have a coach visit with the unit as they prepare for deployment.
Boucek shared her own personal stories of adversity and success as an athlete and coach and encouraged the Soldiers to not be the best, but instead to be their own personal best.
My reason for coaching was to help women become their best through the sports experience, she said. I experienced a lot of things that were difficult. But your passion will be birthed out of your pain.
Boucek comes from a long line of doctors, and is passionate about studying mental health. She explained the attributes she learned from the worlds most elite athletes, taking license with the acronym WINNER by adding a third N: What their definition of success is, Identity, No fear of failure, No fear of what other people think, No distractions, Energy and Relationship.
Boucek said athletes lose more than they win in life, but its how they deal with the adversity and how they grow from it that makes them top athletes. They see adversity as an opportunity to rise to the top.
She said teammates work together for the greater good, not just for themselves.
When youre part of a true team its the best because the burdens are divided and the blessings are multiplied, Boucek said. Theyre in it together.
Sergeant First Class Damon Williams understood the correlation between professional athletes and Soldiers.
A lot of the things sports do, is a lot of the things we do in the military as far as team-building, connection and the common goal, he said.
Williams is a Soldier with the 547th Area Support Medical Company and a master resiliency trainer. He said everything Boucek spoke about is what they are teaching the Soldiers in their programs.
It was an awesome connection, he said. I feel more energetic right now.