Travel has made the Earth seem a little smaller in size, but greater in the enormity of its beauty and diversity. Perhaps that is a very privileged thing to say as I have been a world traveler from the age of fourteen. I have been racing for the United States for nearly twelve years across the globe where I have been lost in many countries, pointed at unknown meal choices on the menu, and followed a crazy dream.
I hope you won’t forget, just as I haven’t, that racing is as much a job as it is a passion. I have many meetings to attend, deadlines to meet, and performance expectancies. Never will I deny how lucky I am to travel this planet, but neither will I deny the many hours of hotel rooms and center aisle plane rides. We certainly have the occasional day to go do a little sightseeing, however, I am always aware of the beast that is exhaustion creeping in the shadows. Who is the un-doer of hard work.
We travel to these far off lands to represent the United States, and to chase the greatness that is the kindling of our dreams. Never knowing what the future holds, many of us will never reach that greatness we so desire. There is no tougher pill for me to swallow. But the unknown breeds possibilities. Sometimes the glimmer of a chance is all it takes to ignite a roaring desire.
Every athlete, coach,manager, and psychologist has different ideas of what produces success. There are the naturally talented, the determined, and all combinations in between. I accept the possibilities the future holds for me, but I do not admit such fog into my dream. I am lucky to have been offered a sponsorship with my gym as it is a welcoming place that helps me to overcome my dislike for any training that isn’t paddling exciting whitewater. Life is full of unsavory things, but I refuse to be boxed in by the work I’d rather not do. The wall behind my favorite lifting rack shares an answer that makes each salted bead of sweat worth the effort, each injury worth recovering from, each defeat another log on the fire…
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt