It’s all about L-O-V-E. Very few sports require as much teamwork as solo marathon swimming. I know that for sure now! Hours of escorting, feeding, pacing, safety, transport, planning… You name it! Both during your training sessions every single week and during the official swims. So much logistics, so much aid and so many people involved just to cater for the whims of a single man!
As the swimmer you’re obviously the one basking in the spotlight. You get all the praise, all the acknowledgement. It’s a dream come true for any attention whore worthy of this name! But at the end of the day your performance is totally depending on other people’s time and selfless devotion to your goal… Your very own goal! If that’s not love, then I don’t know what is!
It’s quite ironic, when you think about it. I may be extremely sociable, but I’ve never been a team player. My sports of choice have always been a solitary journey. When it comes to performance, I’ve always been a committed loner. But this time it’s not just about my strength and my stamina. There is an extra dimension to it, an interaction based on trust and confidence. A close relationship of mutual respect, patience and support, boosting my willpower and spurring me on to outperform myself. Without my team spending time away from their work and families, I’d be stuck in the local fish bowl swimming countless millions of lengths in chlorinated water (with no other option but to commit suicide by banging my head at the wall on every single tumble turn – or simply quit swimming and join a knitting club).
My team is the very mechanics of my sport. Every single part has a role to play and must be finely tuned for the synergy to be complete. All this work creates a sense of belonging, but I’d never thought it’d be such a bonding experience. And that’s exactly what I decided to celebrate last Sunday. We all met at my place for coffee and Martin‘s famous cupcakes before heading for a quick jump and a few arm strokes in the Sound. We spent the rest of the day enjoying each other’s company without any swimwear or kayak involved for once! We talked only very briefly about the things we already had accomplished this year and about my/”our” plans for 2015. Last Sunday was all about relaxing and having fun… and eating cake, cake and even more cake! Holy Neptune, you should see some VERY dedicated cake eaters I’ve got myself surrounded with!
I enjoyed every single minute of that day. It felt genuine and much more fun than any other party I’ve had. This complicity between us. The cohesion fostered by the experiences shared along the way and the gruelling hours spent at sea. Last Sunday the air was filled with love. I feel honoured and grateful to have so many friends around me, dedicating their precious time to my personal challenge. It’s about time they get their share of the spotlight!
Everyone has a hero, someone they admire. Only I have a bunch of them! ❤
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