02 June 2015

Team Challenge Triathlon - Coaching Each of You

At somepoint after the race Saturday, someone asked me what it's like for Linda and I to be the coaches of the Team Challenge – Tri SD team and have so many people be so successful and happy because of us? This person was NOT discounting or ignoring all the amazing support by the mentors, fellow teammates, or manager(s), they just wanted to know how it was for us. At the time I found it hard to give a complete or thoughtful answer. Looking at our team, all gathered together for dinner that night post-race, I was inspired to thinking about and share an answer to the question with all of you who are part of this wonderful team. I can’t answer for Linda but I know she has many similar feelings as I do.
When you get down to the core of it our relationship with you, as athletes and as people - we feel responsible for you.  In many ways it feels like a parent-child or teacher-student relationship. We teach, we coach, we prepare, and we offer tools for you to be successful. Then we turn you loose to take on a triathlon. At that point we hope you have learned well and will succeed. We are there on the sidelines, cheering, encouraging, advising, distracting, and sometimes yelling at you.

But when it’s all said and done, when you cross that finish line, your success is your doing. Sure you had teammates, mentors, managers, and coaches there who cared and who encouraged you along the way but you had to make every arm stroke, every pedal push, and every step to get to the finish. (Don't discount that!)

We look on with pride and sometimes amazement to see what you’ve managed to do. Having personal relationships with most of you on some level, we are aware of what many of your challenges have been along the. We have seen some of your setbacks. We know of your disappointments, worries and concerns. You come into this having your own unique background and bag of experiences. You may have even shared with us personal “non-triathlon” concerns that we’ve tried to help you with or advise you on. With all of these variables we do our best to tailor our coaching, our support, and our answers to your questions, to suit your needs and help you be successful.

Part of our goal is to build a team with a tradition of loving, caring, supportive, fun-loving individuals. We also want people who will go above and beyond their own, narrowly focused self-interest and consider that they are part of something bigger. We want people to be part of a team that not only supports each other but also supports the Crohn’s and colitis mission in some way. We want people who want to be part of the pretty cool tradition that's been built here that leaves a legacy of caring and support in its wake.

As your race day unfolded, I smiled and I cried and my heart was filled with joy at various times. I love to see your success. I love to see you happy with your effort. I love to see you support each other. I love to see you overcome your challenges and to put plans into action. I love to see you striving for your goals. I love to see your expressions of joy and gratitude. I may be focused on the nuts and bolts of triathlon all season long but from my point of view, all of what happens over these 14 weeks adds up to a team of people who happen to be triathletes who, in their own ways, are making the world a better place because they are in it. I can think of nothing better.

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