Over the past couple years I’ve noticed a shift in myself. It started following my accident in 2012 that forced me to focus outside of myself in order to keep my injuries from consuming me. I learned how fulfilled I can feel by helping other people challenge themselves, succeed and exceed their goals. Since then, I have been investing in developing my coaching skills and credentials so that I can better serve the paddlers with whom I have the privilege of working. (Can you tell that my husband, Rick the English teacher, edited that last line so I didn’t end the sentence with a preposition?)
Earlier today I saw a post that really hit home even though it was based on triathlon. It made me think about why I paddle, and what kind of representative of the sport that I want to be. It made me think about why I paddle, why I train so hard and punish my body when I could be spending time with family, reading books (that don’t have to do with training or paddling) and furthering my career. The answer is simple … because I love it. It keeps me grounded. It makes me happy.
The following has been adapted from PearlIzumi – The Pledge.
If there’s any kind of benevolent paddling god out there, we’ll keep this sport right where it was when we all fell in love with it: a sanctuary for anyone and everyone who yearns to be on the water, to sweat, sacrifice and suffer their way to happiness. Give the Pact a read. If it sounds like something you’re into, share it. Then live it.
I will endure.
I will enjoy.
I shall only partake in this crazy sport I love, because I love it.
And I will quit when I quit loving it.
I am a representative of this sport.
As such, I will do my part to take the “ass” out of ambassador.
No matter how goofy somebody looks, I shall not mock.
But I will mock myself. Often.
I will show respect to everyone I see with a wave or smile or nod.
Maybe even all three.
If it’s not returned, I will not shake my head.
Because I do not know what’s going on in theirs.
I will be inclusive.
Even of the exclusive.
I will encourage the beginner,the professional, and everyone in between.
I will place joy above performance, use my fingers for peace, not profanity, and I will focus on the scenery more than the scene.
I will believe in positive vibes as much as stroke rates and speed; good karma as much as good technique.
Whatever my jersey or shirt may say, I know we’re all on the same team.
And when I’m suffering the most, I will remember that this is not life or death.
Even if it is my life.
Endure & Enjoy