As many of you already know, my goal this summer is to make the World University Games (FISU) in Russia. Making this team is really important to me because after making a national team and getting to represent Canada in 2009, 2010, and 2011, I missed making a national team last summer after a pretty lackluster season of jumping. I was pretty heartbroken after not making that team but luckily there’s not a lot of politics in track and field so there wasn’t much for me to cry about. There was a standard I had to jump and I didn’t jump it. I simply said to myself point blank, “well, I need to be better”.
I have worked very hard since missing that team last summer to do just that – be better. The qualifying distance I need to jump to make FISU is 13.30m. When the qualifying standards were posted online and I saw the distance, I would be lying if I said my heart didn’t sink a little. This distance is 36cm further than I have ever jumped. At first, I saw this as a barrier and I thought my shot of making the team was not good.
Another concern I had was the qualifying deadline. With this date being so early (May 19th) and the weather in Canada being, well, not the greatest at this time of year, I was worried about finding enough meets to even compete at to try to jump standard. Luckily my coaches were able to find lots of meets in the states and in a span of 4 weeks, I am going to be competing at 9 different meets (that is A LOT! Usually I don’t even compete that many times in a single season!). Multiply this by 6 jumps per meet and I have.. 54 opportunities to improve my jump by 36cm. To break it down even more, that’s only 12cm per phase of the jump. Sounds good to me!
What I’m getting at here is that it’s all about perspective. Like I said, when I saw the standard and deadline I was pretty bummed. I quickly realized I was making sad excuses for myself. I can’t expect things to come easy, and besides, these are things that are totally out of my control. What kind of athlete am I if being asked to do something I have never done before discourages me? That’s the whole essence of being an athlete – rising to a challenge – and here I was cowering in doubt. I am being given an awesome opportunity here – the chance to improve myself by a considerable amount in a pretty short time frame. It is not going to be easy, but that’s just going to make it all the more exciting when I do this! And trust me – I AM doing this.
The madness starts this weekend! I am off to Ohio State University to compete at the Jesse Owens Invitational. The forecast is looking good, my body is feeling great, and I am ready to do whatever it takes to achieve my goal and get on this team!
I leave you with this quote: “When facing a difficult task, act as though it is impossible to fail. If you’re going after Moby Dick, take along the tartar sauce!”