This is something I have been meaning to post for a while, and haven’t found the right time to do it. Today we had a side by side workout in the pairs, and it got me thinking about my team, my teammates, and what it means to me to be a part of this team. I have been thinking about these things a lot lately, as I am presently more aware of my role here as my final few weeks and months as a team member are quickly ticking by. I am slowing down to do so sometimes, forcing myself to take time to be present during workouts when I would normally try to zone out; I make detailed notes in my journal about things that made me happy during training on a particular day; I try to take the time to try to really enjoy the days I am spending here at the Olympic Training Center with my teammates, and acknowledge that even when they are driving me crazy, I’d rather be here with them than anywhere else.
Being part of this team has grown to be one of the most special and important things I have done in my life. My relationships with these women, and the women who have come before them–for all their ups and downs and imperfections–have been incredibly meaningful to me. That meaning has shifted and changed and grown more complex the longer I stay here, but the bottom line has remained the same: I’d do just about anything for these women to make sure our team can be as strong, fast, and successful as we can be.
I haven’t written much about receiving the Athlete of the Year awards in 2014 and 2015 because I never felt like I needed to spend any additional time talking about myself or my season as it pertained to winning an award after-the-fact. I felt there were other ways to tell the stories of 2014 and 2015 without focusing on myself as an individual athlete who got to take home a plaque and give a speech in a dress. But this year, I was able to use the award as a platform to tell a story about another athlete on the team, and I think that story says more about the team and what it means to be a part of it than anything I could have ever written here about what it means to win an award. I’d like to share it now, because we are right at the tipping point for this year where things start to accelerate rapidly, and it will be easy to lose sight–maybe not of what we’re doing, but of how and why we are doing it. The biggest asset we have this year is each other, and our collective willingness to put the team first.
I haven’t watched it in a while, and thinking about it now, I’m actually really proud that I didn’t cry during the speech, because it sure does make me misty today.
Long Live the Dream,