When Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas connected on an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime to propel the Broncos to a stunning 29-23 victory over the Steelers in the AFC wild-card playoff game last weekend, one of the many people caught up in a scene of hugging and jubilation on the sidelines was Gustave Boisits.
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No, he’s not on the player roster or the coaching staff. This certified massage therapist is part of the bodywork team that helps the Broncos play to their potential.
“I’m part of a large picture,” Boisits tells me in our recent interview. “It’s awesome being a cog.”
Goodness, how often do you hear that?
A Colorado-registered neuromuscular therapist and structural integrator who studied under Mark Manton, ND -- founder of the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado – Boisits is only a “cog” on Bronco game days. The rest of his work time--for 15 years running-- is spent one-on-one with clients in his practice; he sees about 100 clients a month, roughly 75 of whom are regulars.
The beauty of working with the Broncos, something he’s been doing since 2008, is that the team format nicely complements his one-on-one work.
“That’s been over the top for me,” Boisits says.
The delicious part of his story – his life, really -- is that he has long paid attention to his gift, developed it into a thriving business, but also stayed open to possibilities. Here’s how you know when someone is doing exactly what they were put here to do – they can unabashedly say things like, “I’m not a person who’s interested in keeping [a client] because it’s a monetary thing. It’s not what pushes me to do this.”
The push, if you can even call it that, is staying true to a calling that Boisits felt from about age 12. When I ask if there is a pivotal event or defining moment that he can point to where he knew he’d be working with people’s bodies in this capacity, he talks matter-of-factly about being in his teens and “working on” his family, seeing someone sitting at a table leaning over and rubbing their neck. Or being fascinated with physical therapy. Or gravitating to training rooms.
Boisits recalls responding to the positive feedback he got, says it felt like “loving healing.” When I ask if one followed the other, if the latter insight came after the feedback, he says he can’t remember them – the physical, the loving, the healing -- ever being separate in his mind.
And so it doesn’t seem a reach that this is a professional who values building relationships with clients, is grateful for their honesty and who knows the importance of going into each situation with an open mind so there is nothing premeditated, nothing to cloud what is before him.
“Sometimes my biggest attribute can be listening,” Boisits says.
Specializing in pain elimination, he often comes up against situations where clients come to him as their last hope before electing for surgery. That calls for inspiring trust and getting them comfortable with the idea of going deeper. No resistance.
Boisits credits working in restaurants with helping him develop his people skills. Because of a love of cooking, he holds a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Bergen Community College (in his native New Jersey).
“I did some dancing around state schools in Jersey,” he says.
So there was some dabbling in physical therapy, but it wasn’t until he was living in Denver and he walked over the threshold of the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado that a light went on. What was it about the place?
“The energy,” Boisits says. “I knew before even meeting anybody there.”
Which is why he became certified there in 1997 and then completed its ‘Year 2’ continuing education program in 2002. He likes to meditate some and does yoga regularly.
“The idea is to be as open and clear as I can,” Boisits says, citing Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now as a major influence. “The work needs you to be present. There’s no shopping list going through my head. I try to stay focused on the now, the moment.”
That quest is heightened in his work with the Broncos. On game days, there is pressure to perform, to assess quickly and do what needs to be done.
“That need for concentration has made me a better body worker,” Boisits says. “The speed helps me in private practice. Over time, you get used to seeing what comes off the field. You’ve got to trust your gut because in nine out of 10 situations, it’s right on.”
The games themselves are heady, but Boisits calls pre-game time “the most awesome 2-3 hours of the week.” In that scenario, he’s part of a workmanlike team that takes players through stretches, makes sure their pelvis is in position, their hips are balanced and their quadriceps and hamstrings are good to go.
Imagine then the satisfying feeling, hours later, of seeing the fine physical form of Thomas stiff-arm a defender and take Tebow’s pass into the end zone as the home crowd goes hog wild.
“It was my first playoff game with the team,” Boisits says. “It was electric.”
Call it loving healing in perpetual motion.
Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.