Jenny Moshak has been a unique and huge part of the Lady Vols’ many successes the past 25 years.
As the team’s athletic trainer, she has picked players up off the court and consoled them. Moshak has treated about every injury imaginable, and is affectionately known amongst past and present Tennessee players as a “miracle worker” for her skills in rehabilitating them. She’s also watched seven National Championship-winning Tennessee teams cut down nets.
But it wasn’t until Moshak’s cross country bike ride in 2006 that she started thinking her life stories might be of interest to others.
“My bicycle ride across the U.S. became a metaphor for my life’s journey and gave me a richer understanding of the value of my experiences along the way,” she said. “A friend also said, ‘you’ve got a book in you.’ So it began.”
The result is her new book “Ice ‘N’ Go: Score in Sports and Life,” due to be released in May. The work, with collaborator Debby Schriver, is a collection of stories framed by Moshak’s holistic philosophy, along with some myth-busting about athletics. Like her job, it’s complicated.
“The book has a little bit for everybody,” Moshak said. “It’s motivational, it’s a “how-to,” it’s a fun read, and it’s an inside look at being an athletic trainer. It’s especially good for youth and those who work with youth.”
It starts with the title, Ice ‘N’ Go, which Moshak likens to active rest: healing and moving on. One of her fundamental tenants is to balance body, mind and spirit, and integrate them all.
“If you injure your knee, for example, you can’t separate the knee from the rest of the body,” she said. “If you identify yourself as a Lady Vol player only, and you’re suddenly not able to play because of injury, that can be devastating.”
Moshak said she has always tried to teach injured athletes under her care that being a ball player is only part of who they are.
“I tell them that they are a daughter and a strong and powerful woman, first and foremost,” she said. “When they understand that, it helps in the recovery process.”
In a quarter century at Tennessee, Moshak has treated most of the program’s greats, including Chamique Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker. She said the process of working with every young woman who has come through the program has given her an understanding about growing up, life and athletics.
“We help with the development of young women into experienced, amazing young women,” Moshak said of herself and the coaching staff. “To see that growth and development take place is amazing. To see the highs and the lows is one of the treasures we take from the hardwood.”
The other part of that equation, according to Moshak, is seeing the development of athletes as players. It is in this complex intertwining of life and athletics that she touches on in her book as she discusses social issues, medical concerns, motivational techniques, gender roles and expectations, the impact of sports on our children, and how the body works, heals, and recovers.
Moshak’s upbeat approach to these issues, coupled with simple strategies for improving the athletic experience for all, is key to her main life mantra: enjoying each moment.
“If your goal is more important than the journey, it should be the other way around,” she said. “If you obtain a goal and don’t have fun along the way, you’re losing out on that experience.”
This is especially pertinent for Moshak, who is concerned with what she sees as a youth sports culture in the U.S. today that is “a money-making machine” that pressures kids to play their sport year-round.
“I do call out parents in the book not to vicariously live through their kids,” she said.
Through the weaving together of complex elements in her book, Moshak strives to impress upon readers what she has done in her career: protect, nurture and grow the athlete in everyone.
“At the core, it’s about taking care of yourself,” she said.