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Monday, June 13, 2011

Shades of Gray

Two and a half weeks ago, selection was completed and Tracy and myself are back in the double training for the World Cup III regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland. I then settled comfortably into my new apartment (with the generous help of Patry Inc.) with team mate Patricia Obee (lwt. 1x). It was a pretty great week to have made the double and find a new and more permanent home to reside in while in London.

The first week of training in the double was fun but definitely a bit shaky. It was clear when we started to take strokes together again that we were not exactly where we left off last year, but the base speed and technique were still there and we knew it was just a matter of time before we started to feel like our "old selves". Two full weeks have past now and the double is really starting to get back to where we left it but I guess it's frustrating to think that we had to leave it in the first place. Every time we have a less exhilarating piece, I think "what if?". Every time I see some bad habit that has crept into the stroke, I think "what if?". What if we had been rowing every day for the last six months? (Sundays off of course). I do not like "what ifs" and I especially do not like them when they have been forced upon me; when they are there because of no choice of my own.

I was thinking today how simple things could be if there were no shades of gray. Does A make you faster? Does B make you better? Then do A and B. There should be no clauses, no compromises, no acceptance of less. If A and B are the best and the things that make you believe you can win, then that's exactly what should be done. I'm not being silly here. If you think a McDonald's big mac every day makes you better then you probably need to see a psychologist, but if you think doing your sport every day as much as possible and with intent and focus is the way to be the best, then that's what you should not only do, but be allowed to do.

All athletes have a goal. Some or many of those goals vary and are quite different from athlete to athlete, but we are always taught that you can not get anywhere without a goal, and that the goal must hold you steadfast. What if one of the main components to reaching that goal were sacrificed by some force uncontrollable to you? How then do you reach the goal? When you see something as paramount to success and that thing is taken, what do you do? If there were no shades of gray, you go find it. You do whatever it takes to have the answer be black and white so the end result can be gold. How do I know what makes people win? I don't. There are no sure answers, but I do know that whatever someone BELIEVES makes them win is the most driving, most powerful force behind coming first.

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