For me, the drive back from Tempe (or in this case, dinner and a couple brews at Four Peaks Brewery) is always filled with reflection on the events of the weekend. More than any other tournament, this past weekend made me think of the little things...
So what is 0.5 seconds? Or 0.47 seconds? Or 0.03 seconds?
A better warm-up?
A pre-race pep talk?
A slightly straighter line?
One more boost or an earlier finish? (though maybe not a 300m finish..)
A practice start on the way to the start line?
Hitting those first 6 strokes together?
Gritting your teeth and pulling just a little harder during the Power 10?
One paddler (or several, argh!) looking out of the boat for one stroke? (Btw, I don't EVER want to hear reports of ANYONE looking out of the boat again!)
All of these things are in our control. When a superstar like Henry promises to become a better steersperson, it makes me wonder what I can do to be a better coach, and I hope it makes you wonder what you can do better.
As Kim mentioned, we lost a few extremely experienced callers, strokes, steerspeople and coaches this year, so some growing pains are to be expected. We're lucky to have people who are willing to accept the responsibility and challenge to fill some impossibly large shoes. Steering and calling are high pressure and critical roles. It's just assumed that they will do their job perfectly. No matter the role, each of us has something we can improve on. Even as "dumb paddlers," our job is to bust our ass at practice/land/core/SDWW and focus in on race day so we can support them as they learn the tricks of the trade.
So, although we are one team, we still each need to think of our contributions as individuals. Take each fraction of a second personally. It all adds up. If we each commit to being a little better, both in preparation and especially in execution, then as a team, we will be able to ride through a few mistakes.
So let's celebrate the accomplishments and learn from the mistakes. It's a long season, and this was only the first of many opportunities we have to show what we're made of.