What’s going on everyone, my name is Kevin McLaughlin and if you Google me, you will find a semi-pro rugby player that isn’t me. So who am I? What am I?

Well first and foremost I’m a dog owner, have been for years and will be for decades because a man’s dog is loyal, playful, and an easy scapegoat when your girlfriend asks who ate the rest of her breakfast.

I grew up just south of Boston, MA and I’m proud of that. Living in the suburbs of this great city gives me the ability to tell New Yorkers “Yeah I’m a Bostonian” but I also have the freedom to drive without city traffic, avoid parallel parking, and lounge in my backyard.

Sports have always been a focus for me because I’m competitive and few things pain me more than losing. High school taught me that my third grade baseball coach had no eye for talent, golf is not a sissy sport, and that there is no better feeling than being part of a team.

I have been fortunate enough to witness many championship victories by my favorite sports teams because after all, Boston is TitleTown, USA. I stayed up all night to witness the Red Sox reverse the curse, I ignored every non-Patriots fan, and I cheered like a mad man for the Bruins even though hockey is not my sport.

When I came to school, I was looking to continue my involvement with physical activity while also focusing on my academics. I was able to balance both of these important aspects of my life and remain successful in doing so.

Organized sports are great, they build character and teach you to be a member of a team or organization, but there is something to be said for achieving you own individual goals. Hiking is something that I love to do because it brings me to the outdoors and presents physical challenges.

A difficult hike is a physical manifestation of daily challenges and it represents accomplishing daily goals. Getting started can be difficult, progressing towards your goal is challenging and sometimes frustrating but the end comes into site.

Reaching the summit or accomplishing your goal is the reward for your hard work, and the hike back down is when you get to soak in the positive feelings from all of your hard work.

Being outdoors is a place to focus on yourself and make yourself better and this is something that I need, and everyone needs in some capacity. A career is most important but my outdoor adventures provide balance in my life.