Winners know winners, and Travis Conley’s recent visit to Pink Hill Park reaffirmed that notion. The Blue Springs Bears (Blue Springs Athletic Association 7th Grade football team), who will play their first playoff game of the 2011 tournament Saturday afternoon at Hidden Valley Park, were treated to a special guest speaker at practice Tuesday night. Team USA FILA world grappling championships member Travis Conley, fresh off his silver medal win in Belgrade, Serbia, took the time out to address the youth football players and immediately saw something special in their eyes.
“You guys look like winners and if you work hard you will win Saturday and go on to be champions,” said Conley. Bears head coach Kevin Brown and assistants Russ Bronston and Rob Blair nodded with approval to Conley’s message. The silver medal winning grappler went on to tell his story and offered moments of trials and challenges that may have impeded the desire of a lesser competitor. But it is Travis Conley’s perseverance that has seen him stumble along his journey only to rise above and become a champion.
The realm of professional wrestling beckoned him while still in high school, and after training with famed wrestling legend Harley Race, found himself headlining shows until he was 21 years old. It was during the latter that he would be introduced to Jiu-jitsu, and later personal training became a passion. After working with frustrated clients looking for more out of commercial gyms Conley knew what his calling would be.
Travis Conley answered that call by opening Underground Gym, LLC. Underground Gym, located at 601 Southwest Williams Street in Lee’s Summit, is a quaint but fully equipped personal training facility deserving of its name. Constructed in the lower level of Conley’s residential home, Underground is state of the art and rivals any commercial gym in Kansas City.
Travis Conley’s Underground gym opened its doors in 2007, and has been going strong ever since. With Conley’s passions for jiu-jitsu and personal training it would only be a matter of time until he found a way to merge the two. Now his business venture, along with sponsorships, fund Conley’s grappling career and allow him to compete at the highest level.
The Blue Springs Bears have been coached by Kevin Brown since most of the players were in the second grade. Through the years, others have been selected and hand-picked by the coaching staff to add comradery and chemistry toward a common goal. Last season, the Bears fell short and lost in the championship game. This year however, the Bears are primed to win it all and although winning is the goal, it’s not the only lesson coach Brown cares about.
“Football is like life and you get out of it what you put in. Win or lose, if you give it all you have then the result is something you can live with,” explained Brown. So it wasn’t a surprise that Travis Conley would be brought in to Bears practice, ahead of their biggest game of the year, to reaffirm the coach’s message. “You have to visualize yourselves before, during and after the game. Put in the work and I know you guys will be champions,” said Conley. If the Bears reaction and excitement to Travis Conley’s visit was any indication, visualizing a win on Saturday was evident in the smiles on their faces.
-The Bears play Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm at Hidden Valley Park in Blue Springs.