“This feeling is terrible – never not making another team again”. I tweeted this on July 2nd 2013. I had just gotten home from a great morning at the track, and everywhere I looked on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, my friends and teammates were posting pictures from the World University Games in Russia – a team that I failed to make earlier this spring. My heart fluttered as I saw their updates – I desperately wanted to be there. As I forced myself to look through everyone’s pictures and tweets I thought to myself, wow, this SUCKS! I’m going to make sure I never experience this again!
I spoke too soon. Literally a couple of hours after I had that thought and posted that tweet, athletes started announcing that they had received an email telling them they made the Francophone Games in France in early September. After my win at nationals, I was pretty confident that I would be on this team. I raced to my inbox to see the email – nothing. I spent a couple hours literally glued to my inbox waiting for the email to come in. “Congratulations on being selected to represent Canada at the Francophone Games in Nice, France!”, it would read. The email never came.
My coach texted me that night and gently let me know that the team list had been posted online that my name was not on it. In disbelief, I found the team list to check for myself. I scanned the list 3 times for “Caroline Ehrhardt, triple jump, Espanola, ON”. I wasn’t going to find it, because it wasn’t there. I didn’t make the team.
I did what anyone might do in a moment of intense shock and heartbreak – I threw my face into my pillow and cried a good, hard cry. This lasted no more than 3 minutes. Then I was angry. Why was this happening? I jumped the team standard. I won nationals. What more could I have done to get onto this team? What did they want? To be honest, I felt like I was robbed. I contacted some different people and in the end found out why I was not on the team. Essentially, had I jumped 12.75m at nationals I would have been selected. I jumped 12.71m.
Once I had my reason for not being on the team, I dropped the victim role. It is what it is. I can’t change reality. HOWEVER, I CAN ensure that this never happens again. Good ain’t good enough. I have to get to a level where I’m jumping so far that this doesn’t happen. I never want to frantically search a team list for my name again. I never again want to feel what I felt on that day. This sport can shatter your heart into a million pieces. I felt a pain on July 2nd that I haven’t felt in quite sometime. That’s what passion does to you – it can give you the highest highs but also the lowest lows. This is my life. I put my heart and soul into jumping as far as I can, with the goal being to represent Canada on these very teams. I’ve made great improvements so far this season. To think that it’s still not enough hurts, but like I said, good ain’t good enough. I need to be great. I need to be downright incredible.
I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. All experiences are valid. Perhaps this shortcoming was meant to boost my motivation to keep working harder than ever. Perhaps something better is coming my way. Perhaps this is the universe’s way of testing my tenacity – its cruel way of seeing if I am worthy of the rewards it is holding out to bestow upon me. I guess the universe simply wants to see if I’m 2LEGIT2QUIT.
Fuel on the fire, baby. Here’s to no more July 2nd 2013s,