Your Season Is Not "Lost"

1980. President Carter boycotted the Olympics that were held in Moscow due to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. I am old enough to personally know people who were adversely affected by that decision. Imagine. Some world event preventing you from achieving your life’s work. Well, you probably don’t have to imagine. It’s happening to many of you reading this post. 

Look. I could go on about the whys of the situation. In short, it’s a tough break. I just want to focus on one aspect for this post. You haven’t “lost” your season. Here’s what I mean.

Everyone of you have probably heard me say at one point that seasons are built upon each other. It’s sequential. We have quadrennial plans for our seniors and developmental plans for our age groupers that span years. Each season is designed to build on the season that preceded it. A season ending meet gives you, the coach and family feedback as to where you are in that process. True, circumstances that are beyond our control have not allowed you to get that feedback, but it doesn’t mean that the adaptation did not take place. Your body has ensuredly changed for the better.

We had some great swims at practice last night. That should be a small indication of the strides we have made this season. While we can not control outside forces, we can choose our response to them. Go ahead. Have a five minute pity party...then move on. Use this as fuel to commit even deeper to your performances for next season and beyond. Sometimes something needs to be taken away for us to realize how valuable it is to us. This may be that type of situation.

This too, shall pass. I know. We are hip deep in the CoronaVirus drama right now, but it will pass. I have been through a lot of tough situations over the course of my lifetime. Wars, AIDS, hurricanes, droughts,  economic downturns and more. Humans are remarkably resilient, if not also panic-prone. True champions stay calm and seek alternatives when the average lives in fear. Let's keep it all in perspective, stay calm and look for ways to make this a plus.

Am I happy that our meets were cancelled? Heck no! It’s truly a shame. That said, I have to look at the big picture. Are we on course to continue the strides made over the past few seasons? Yes. Are our athletes training better now than they did at the beginning of the season? Yes. Are we doing things at the novice levels to ensure a steady flow of well prepared newbies joining the program? Absolutely. While the scoreboard will not reflect our hard work this season, it will for many seasons to come.

I am not just saying this as some sort of Pollyanna. I am saying out of experience. Heck, some of you were around when I arrived three and a half years ago. We got through those tough first few months together and thrived. I took over a club and college team post Katrina in New Orleans. The place, people and teams were in shambles. We eventually thrived there as well. I started TBAY in four lanes of a Jewish Community center and within five years we won USA Swimming Junior Nationals.

My long winded point is don’t succumb to the, “woe is me” sentiment that is all too common right now. Have that five minute pity party and refocus for the next challenge. I see opportunity in adversity. When others are down and out, that means more opportunities will arise for those who remain in the game.  Stay in the game. 

Your coaching staff is looking at the best ways to navigate the current situation.  We will keep everyone in the loop as we adjust. Thanks for being an important member of the club. 

Ok...five minutes, starting in 3, 2, 1...GO! When the five minute pity party is over, shake it off, refocus and let’s get ready to train like rabid animals for next season. 

You all have gained so much this season. Focus on your gains, not what was “lost” and you will be in a good position for true long term success. We got this!

See you at the pool - Rich