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Monday, February 7, 2011

"Conversations with Myself"

I started this blog to be real, and I want to talk about real things. So far, I have mentioned nothing that is actually affecting me mentally and emotionally in rowing. I'm going to change that right now. For many who know my rowing career, they know that there have been many ups and downs I have dealt with politically within the sport. Disclaimer! I know this to be a struggle and hurdle for all athletes in all sport and I am not trying to make myself out to be someone who has to deal with more. However, here's the deal.

I came home from the world championships knowing that I would be training in Victoria instead of London because I believe in doing at least 200km per week (to try to sum up how I feel). I was in the airport and decided to purchase "Conversations with Myself" by Nelson Mandela. I figured who better to learn about conflict resolution from than this amazing man? I am by no means comparing my situation to the struggle to end apartheid or racial discrimination but why not try to better my way of thinking and dealing with struggle than reading what Mandela has to say about it? There was one quote that I really related to that I felt was worded in a way that I could never express but is exactly how I would define my feelings toward conflict:

"But even when the clash between you and me has taken the most extreme form, I should like us to fight over our principles and ideas and without personal hatred, so that at the end of the battle, whatever the result might be, I can proudly shake hands with you, because I feel I have fought an upright and worthy opponent who has observed the whole code of honour and decency. But when your subordinates continue to use foul methods then a sense of real bitterness and contempt becomes irresistible."

Following is RCA's athlete assistance criteria (the criteria that must be met in order to receive $1500 per month from the government to help in living and training expenses). I have tried to point out to them that based on the document they have compiled, they are legally bound by the wording to card me, they refuse. I train six hours a day, six days a week at an RCA center in the effort to win an Olympic gold medal and they will not grant me the finances to do it. Please note what I have highlighted in bold. I think it's no mystery that my international performance likely fits the other criteria. Tongue in cheek. There is no amount of conversation one might be able to have when the opposing side is not willing to listen.

The decision to nominate an athlete or coxswain to Sport Canada for AAP consideration shall be
made by the National Team Program Coaches in conjunction with the VP High Performance and
High Performance Director, and shall be based on the following criteria:
a) RCA requires that athletes in the AAP shall be registered with the association during the
application period and throughout the period of carding support.
b) Athletes shall have commenced full training by the first week of October at an RCA
National Training Centre or a training venue approved by the appropriate National Team
Program Coach for carding support to become effective on January 1.
c) Athletes who qualify for Under 23 or Junior programs for the identified carding year and
wish to train at a venue other than an RCA National Training Centre shall submit a written
request to the National Team Co-ordinator and the appropriate program coach by
the first week of September that outlines all relevant considerations. The request shall
also state the date by which the athlete will be back in full training at an RCA National
Training Centre following the period away. The approval for the athlete to train at an
alternate venue must be received in writing from the RCA High Performance Director or VP
High Performance. Senior National Team athletes are expected to be training at an RCA
National Training Centre.
d) Athletes not having commenced training at an RCA National Training Centre or an approved
venue by the first week of October shall be considered for carding at the discretion of the
RCA National Team Program Coach and the High Performance Director or VP High
Performance. Consideration will be given to those athletes who have exceptional
circumstances (exceptional circumstances must be submitted in writing to the National
Team Co-ordinator and the appropriate program coach for approval).
e) Athletes training outside Canada:
 Athletes will not normally be eligible for carding support during the period they are
outside the country, at an NCAA school, or receiving an athletic scholarship of any kind.
 Funding will be accessible upon return to the RCA High Performance program at an RCA
National Training Centre in Canada.
f) Athletes in training at a venue approved by his or her National Team Program Coach shall
be responsible for regularly communicating the details of their training programs to their
respective Program Coach.
g) Athletes shall have competed in the most recent National Championships (or its
designated equivalent) unless an exemption is approved by the RCA High Performance
Director or VP High Performance.
h) Following the National Championships (or its designated equivalent), athletes shall complete
a 6km national team ergometer test under approved supervision and submit the result with
other required information to the RCA National Team Coordinator.
i) Athletes must provide a signed Athlete Agreement and a written declaration of intent to
compete for a position on the Canadian National Rowing Team to the RCA National Team
Coordinator. Please see section 14 – Important Dates.
Any exceptions to these criteria shall be at the discretion of the RCA High Performance Director
or VP High Performance

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