Recently I have found myself learning some pretty profound lessons that thinking back now, those that have been before me have alluded to but I was never able to grasp. It makes me wonder whether those that advise us are there so that as we go through the experience ourselves we are guided towards the answer, or if I am just a touch slow and need to listen better. The latest revelation, arrived to as a result of being a member of a pretty kick ass group, is the value of teamwork.
Rowing in New Zealand has two seasons, the international season which is during our winter and has our representative rowers instead enjoying a Eurpoean summer, and the domestic season. This summer I was reselected for the Waikato Regional Performance Centre (RPC) for a fourth season as a result of my exploits in Korea with the NZ World University Rowing Team. There are 4 RPC’s in New Zealand (Auckland, Waikato, Central and Southern) whose athletes are produced from NZ clubs, or more aptly the young’ins from those clubs that have just finished racing at secondary school level. In turn the RPC’s feeds the New Zealand System. For the layman it can be pictured as a three tier system: Club – RPC – NZ Summer Squad.
The demographic of the RPC’s can be described as one of youth, as Rowing New Zealand look towards the future. Of our 22 strong squad, 20 are eligible to race at New Zealand’s age group events (U20 and U22) while I am the senior citizen of the group at 23, coaches excluded of course (I am pretty sure I saw some grey hairs hiding under that cap of Gary’s the other day). Last season’s RPC squad was no different and considering my goal was to come to fruition sooner than most of that team, being Rio 2016, I mistakenly thought that the best way to realise that goal was to focus all my efforts on myself. I could not have been more wrong.
One of the products of my training with my psychologist is a broadened, more holistic outlook. Going into training this season I was eager to row with the other members of the team and open to the potential learnings. The result was incredible. I believe I am now a much more adaptable athlete that is able to communicate effectively for the better of the group. This in combination with my developed feel for the boat has only benefited my/our speed. Additionally my relationships both on and off the water have also grown. My fellow rowers see and trust that I have interests of the crew at heart over the interests of self.
What’s funny is I told the coach last year I wanted to spend most of my time in the single which he didn’t challenge as he knew I wasn’t ready to hear otherwise. Now I find myself laughing with him as I do the opposite and enjoy it that much more. Now I just need to find someone really quick that I can convince to pull me down the course come the national small boats regatta Jan 30th-31st the again come nationals 16th-20th February. Follow the audition process across my media. I am prone to posting the regular photo on Instagram.
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas with family and have some exciting New Years celebrations planed. My Christmas present came a day early with confirmation of HPSNZ continued support of my tertiary studies. Work load dependent I will complete my degree come the end of this year! Cheers HPSNZ for sticking in there with me.