Mike Lash knows about stress.
During his career as a first-class rugby referee, he was all too often subject of blame for a side losing or being ridiculed for making a call that the one-eyed players and fans couldn’t see.
Having been charged with the whistle for more than 50 first class games and assistant referee for over 20 Super Rugby matches, the pressure took a toll on Mike’s mental wellbeing.
However, when it all became too overwhelming, Mike had an escape and wants others to know they do too.
The 32-year-old has started an initiative called “The Reel Effect” where men can leave life behind for a spot of fly fishing and adventure.
Fishing is a form of meditation for Mike and a chance to “disconnect to reconnect,” with nature and himself.
“There is no better feeling for me to recharge and reset than to feel the rhythm of a free-flowing river wash downstream between my legs and take with it any unnecessary weight that I may be carrying.”
“Getting away for a couple of days and being off the grid is extremely organic for your body and mind. Within 24 hours, all those stresses, even the simple ones like being in traffic or trying to find a car park, are eased.”
The river acted as a haven for Mike to unwind from the cauldron that can be first-class sport.
He says, for Kiwi men, a place to switch off is crucial.
“It does more for us than we can begin to imagine.”
Another aspect of The Reel Effect will be no labels, no titles and no ranks.
Mike says he has long-term plans for the Reel Effect, but to start it will likely be three to four guys, heading off for a night or two for some camping, fishing and tramping.
“There is a need for men to talk, but not always platforms, where they can let their guard down and relax.”
Since posting his concept online, Mike says he has received nothing but support and plenty of interest.
“I’m nervous about it but that’s probably because I care.”
For more info go to www.facebook.com/thereeleffectnz/