All-Star CFL Linebacker
Mental Health Advocate
All-Star Middle Linebacker, Shea Emry, is one of the fiercest and nastiest players in the Canadian Football League and has been simultaneously tackling on a new field: men’s health and development. Sidelined with an injury in 2011, Emry was faced with a lifetime of negative self-image from traumatic childhood experiences which led to the ensuing torment of upholding the machismo standards of masculinity in professional sport. Immersed in a culture that expects men to mask their feelings, Emry recognized the toxic silence of manliness was affecting more than just him. Using his platform in professional sport, Emry founded Wellmen, a movement that proves being a ‘real man’ is about being a balanced man.
Emry uses the strength of an axe and vulnerability of a tree pose blended into an experience which opens the possibilities of transparency and freedom. He aims to inspire a rewilding of the culture of masculinity, one that accepts a more whole and complete human person. No part, tear, feeling or grunt left out.
Trying to be a man within the framework of masculinity sucks! The noise in your head silently creates toxic thoughts for those who feel they don’t measure up. Whether it be on an adventure, around a bonfire with a guitar in your hand, or through spoken word — We need to let that shit out. It’s time to pop a bottle — of sparkling water — and celebrate all the different ways men can express, rather than repress, their true nature. Because it’s critical to our overall health.
Shea offers a look at the definition of masculinity, the opportunity we have to shift its framework, and insight on how to ignite that change in our lives now.
Sport culture is an identity time-bomb. We need to cultivate a growth mindset in all aspects of life — regardless of whether we’re first rounders or not.
The culture surrounding sport makes a transition out of athletics pretty damn tough. Those of us who grow up in sports culture perceive it as the be all, end all of who they are. Ultimately, an identity that is built only on accomplishments and competition is going to leave you with that empty feeling. At some point you will get injured, get taken out of the game, retire, or get too old. In any competitive sport, or elite competition, eventually there is an end. Without consideration and proactivity outside the arena, the end can have a disastrous outcome for the athlete, and his or her loved ones, when being thrown into the unknown; depression, alcoholism, loneliness, grief, bankruptcy, and divorce are just some of the possibilities.
Life can’t, and shouldn’t be, all eat-sleep-train-repeat. Becoming well-rounded human beings instead of 3-point-shooting, faceoff winning robots will create a happier, more purposeful experience when the ‘glory days’ are over.
The ‘smart people’ are telling us what we already know. Nature rocks. It has been scientifically proven to be frigging amazing and has the ability to stoke our minds, bodies, and souls.
After suffering traumatic events as a child, Shea Emry has battled depression throughout his life. Intuitively, he sought refuge in places he felt were safe. Sheltered by the trees and consoled by the seas, he knew they were not going to judge or betray him as he had been in the past.
The restorative qualities of nature harness an unlimited ability to evoke the stoke. Those suffering from physical, emotional, and mental traumas can utilize nature’s ability to kickstart their journey to restore their health and ability to connect with one another. We’re all a little messed up, but that’s no reason to keep it inside. Take it outside!