Wellness and vitality: the keys to life…..and to sporting success
19 January 2015
Queenslander Tony Thomson played semi-professional baseball in United States and at elite level in Australia, where he was a national representative for many years and enjoyed several seasons with Brisbane Bandits in the earlier Australian Baseball League.
He is also a successful business professional – a highly qualified and skilled acupuncturist specialising in the treatment of sports injuries, weight loss programmes and detoxification.
An Australian Baseball Alumni member and a valued contributor to our national junior program, Tony Thomson seized upon the opportunity to be an integral part of our initiative to Keep the Money in Baseball.
Like so many of our elite baseball players, Tony Thomson was introduced to the sport at an early age through a family connection.
“I starting playing baseball when I was nine,” he told Australian Baseball Alumni. “My father had played the game in his youth and had suggested it to my brother, myself and a few of our close friends. There was no club near us, so my parents started South United Baseball club at the local soccer club.”
“In our first year - with a bunch of kids that had never played before - we made the Grand Final. We lost but we had so much fun we all played again the following year,” he said.
“The second year I played I was lucky enough to make the Queensland team and travel to Perth for two weeks to the Under 13 Nationals. Previously I had played soccer but had only made a Brisbane team. Now it was a state team – and a trip away.”
“This was enough to cement my love for the game.”
After several stellar years as an under-aged player, Tony Thomson won a baseball scholarship to attend college in United States, where he opted to study physiotherapy while continuing to pursue his baseball dream.
“I thought if I couldn’t make it, then maybe I could help someone else stay fit enough and injury-free to make it as a pro player,” he said.
After two years of study - and making the Dean’s List - Thomson returned home and changed his course to the study of Acupuncture. A year later he decided to give his baseball dream one more try and he returned with three other Australians to United States, where he played over 100 games of semi-professional baseball in Chicago.
“One of the four of us signed a professional contract,” he said, “but it wasn’t me.”
“So I returned to Brisbane determined to become the best Sports Acupuncturist in Australia.”
Representing Australia as catcher in the 1982 Amateur World Series - and numerous other prestigious events - Thomson went on to be appointed co-captain of the Australian team for 1988 Seoul Olympics.
“Seoul was certainly a huge highlight in my sporting career, though there were many others,” he said. “In all I represented Australia for over ten years and was fortunate enough to play in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the United States and Canada.
Going on to spend four seasons in the Australian Baseball League, Tony Thomson retired from competitive baseball in 1994 on a high note as member of the Brisbane Bandits – who were victorious that season in their first National Championship, downing Sydney Blues in two games at Parramatta Stadium.
Committed to his professional career outside of baseball and building his practice along the way, Tony Thomson has consistently applied the following mantra that is central to the well-being of any person – especially any elite athlete:
“In my practice and my continuing study I have devoted myself to understanding how the body works and I have come to understand the core principle that the body was designed to be healthy. If we treat it right then it will heal anything!”
Tony Thomson is now the principal of Ashgrove Vitality (Queensland) – which stands for wellness and vitality, things that he is passionate about and seeks to help others obtain.
Notwithstanding the whole-hearted commitment to his profession, Tony Thomson’s involvement in baseball has not waned – as he explained to Australian Baseball Alumni.
“After retiring from the game in 1994, I was offered and accepted a position of specialty coach with the Bandits and helped out with the Queensland junior development program,” he said. “I did take a few years off after that but became involved again when my twins decided they'd give baseball a go with their friends. I always felt so lucky with the coaching that I had received throughout my whole career and now was the opportunity for me to pay it forward.”
“I have coached at the local club Windsor Royals for ten years, I have been the Head Coach for the regional team Brisbane Metro for six years. With a close friend, Mark Blaskovich, I helped create an Academy of Baseball for the Windsor Royals juniors – which this year is into its sixth season.”
Tony Thomson has been a coach for the Queensland Academy off-season program for the past four years and for the past two years he has been Assistant Coach to the Under 16 Queensland team in their quest for glory at the National Youth Championships.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my coaching,” he said. “I hopefully have created great memories for all those that have been under my care, just as I have great memories from my own time playing the game.”
Clearly appreciative of the role that baseball has played in his own life, Tony Thomson is another of our Australian baseball luminaries committed to giving back to the sport in such manners that they are able. He has for many years embraced the concept of baseball people staying engaged with their own, looking after their own.
Rather than a discount on services at Ashgrove Vitality, Tony Thomson has undertaken to provide a completely free reading at his clinic to Alumni members, an offer that will surely be taken up by our Queensland members in particular.
“It is a Cellular Health Analysis reading or CHA that I use a lot in my general practice,” he explained. “It can measure how much fat and muscle you have. It can also tell you what your cellular age is or how fast or slow you are ageing. We would all like to age slower than our age - so knowing what your specific age is allows you to make changes or keep doing the good things that gave you that excellent reading.”
“This is normally valued at over $100, but I would like to extend this offer to Australian Baseball Alumni members for free.”
Through staying involved in the game at various important levels, Tony Thomson has a clear sense of how the sport is tracking and where it may lead for our developing players – especially with a national league now into its fifth year.
“My wife and I are season ticket holders at the Bandits - and have been for the last five years,” he said. “To my mind the best thing all fans can do for the Australian Baseball League is to keep buying season tickets. The standard of play is excellent and the ABL product is fantastic. We just have to keep out-growing our stadiums and then - through sheer weight of numbers - demand better facilities and more media coverage.”
“The kids coming up today have heaps more opportunity to further their baseball,” he said. “The training, the clinics, the academies, trips overseas, the internet - even Fox and cable TV - all lend themselves for young baseballers to be wiser and more knowledgeable than ever before.”
“There are more young baseballers over in the states at college or playing professionally than in years gone by. That has to be a good thing for the game here. It shows we are becoming more competitive on a world stage.”
Australian Baseball Alumni thanks Tony Thomson for his cooperation in helping prepare this story. We encourage all interested members to avail themselves of his offer and to check out the range of health and fitness-oriented professional services available at Ashgrove Vitality.