Saturday, June 09, 2007

It Turned Out Only To Be 'Two More'

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine from Tulsa while we stood on the shore waiting for his girls to come down in the Women's Eight. I asked him how he thought they might do..."they're going to get creamed' he replied. "Are they ready for that?" I asked.

Paula finished fourth out of four in her rep. She didn't get 'creamed' but she did finish last.

I was pretty sure where her head was. I thought I could predict how she would react.

I try to get them ready, prepare them for what is really going to happen. If they are going to get creamed I tell them. Not that they will get creamed but that everyone is fast, really fast. To not be surprised if you're behind. Keep your head in your boat, race your race. Be dignified, see the big picture. Your success is measured not on one race but on the body of work as a whole. From the very first stroke.

From where I was watching it looked like she had rowed exactly the race we'd been talking about, working on. 30 for the body, long, quick turn around at the catch. She sprinted just like she always does, with fire and great speed. She moved on the girls ahead of her...if she'd had another 200 meters...maybe.

I stood on shore silently thinking 'somebody flip, somebody flip'. Embarrassing to admit, but yes, I was wishing that someone else's kid would meet with great disaster and we'd squeak into the final.

Everyone finished clean and Paula didn't make it to the semi final.

As coaches we wait on shore, not able to gage their reactions until they land. Sometimes you'll see celebration, splashing water, hands in the air. Sometimes the heads are lowered and you see a hand wiping away what you assume are tears. You ache for them.

I just wanted to see her face. Her face would show me how much work I had to do that evening. Putting her back together if needed.

She pulled to the dock and turned around and flashed the biggest grin.

We were good.

She was good.

She was pleased with her race, knew she had done well, knew that the other girls were faster and that's okay because she was as fast as she could have been, no regrets.

So today we try to win the C Final.


Anonymous said...

GO KCRC Juniors! Good job Paula! Good job Coach! You ladies are STARS. We all think so here...Mel, Virgil and June

Skittles said...

It's good that you are honest with them and hurray for Paula for realizing she did the best she could!

Rebecca said...

Well said!