I received two very interesting emails these past couple of days. The ideas/thoughts were too compelling not to share.
One was on how swimming could improve. The boring/monotonous/repetitive/crappy swim life (training/meets/and coaching). Basically, how things need to change. Check it out. It made me think (a lot).
The other is about the choice we all have with how we think (see below).
Both are compelling, and both are part of life. Personally, I have chose to embrace the dance that exists between these two views.
I guess the message I want to send is that I know repetition and routine can become very difficult - and I do my best to avoid it on a daily basis. My team knows you have to smile. You have to have fun. And I believe that. However, I don't necessarily buy into the 'teach me, teach me, teach me... make it interesting all the time... you are responsible for my success'... paradigm.
Speaking from my experiences only, I know I struggled through seasons and practices. I wanted to quit at times... sometimes several times per workout, sometimes once week, and never less than once a month. Did that make swimming an awful sport? Some might say yes. What I took away though is that in the end, I didn't quit. At times I put up with stuff I didn't like, agree with, or understand. Yes at other times I played the victim and lost those battles. But my coaches never let it stick. And for that I am forever grateful. I found ways to take advantage of teammates, certain sets I loved, and coaches I respected. I chewed on things. I thought a lot. And that thinking led to more winning than losing. Not necessarily a race - although that did help. Not necessarily a set in practice - although that felt great. I just won. I kept showing up. I kept grinding. I kept trying. I worked through things. To a certain extent, I embraced the struggle. Now, I was by no means perfect, and I failed at times too. But I am proud that swam through my senior year in college - and I am proud of how it has helped me later on in life.
When you leave your team, whether it is swimming or something else, you have choices. The movie above is about avoiding our natural (selfish) disposition. Now, you don't have to all the time... I have seen first hand as an athlete and coach how being selfish has it's plusses too. But if swimming were to totally change and not allow you to be underwater struggling and thinking, you just might not be as ready - or prepared.
Wabash's legendary track coach, Robert Johnson, told me the eight most powerful words in the English dictionary all have two letters... "If it is to be, it is up to me." That's good stuff.