Well, my personal mission for the 2012 Paralympic Games is nearly complete. All of the lessons learned from my Sonar Team’s journey - winning the USA Trials and just missing earning a medal by a mistake in the next-to-the-last day of racing in the Games - have been incorporated into the curriculum at Sail To Prevail.
The key lessons are:
- One of the most important points that our Sail To Prevail participants (or any high-performance group) can learn from this Campaign is to do as much due diligence as possible at the front end of your Campaign or project, rather than waiting to fix any “surprises” that may arise. These “surprises” are more difficult to fix as the Campaign (or program) progresses. Make no assumptions, because it is convenient and you want to “check that box.” Please take the time to do the due diligence far in advance. Make correct choices at the outset, so you can alleviate any problems or challenges, especially if they can escalate later in the process, or worse, “in the heat of battle.” While it was a “textbook” Campaign by any measure, and all of us associated with it are very proud of it, the outcome may have been slightly more favorable had the above-referenced due diligence taken place initially.
- Second, preparation and execution of a plan are vital to any competition of any sort. We did a superb job executing our original plan, and we remained nimble enough to add to it as necessary, modifying anything that was within our control, as we proceeded. Certainly, this lesson can be transferred to any group or individual undertaking a daunting project.
- Third, and finally (for now), communication and consensus of goals, ideas and commitment to this or any pursuit, is directly proportional to your results. It is essential that all group members or teammates must participate equally.
- Plan for, institute, and have an understanding of the hierarchical process you will use to gain consensus or solve a problem, if a “situation” occurs.
There will be much more detail to follow in the future (in another distribution channel). The above lessons will certainly be added to the curriculum of our Sail To Prevail participants, whether it be competitive sailing, or simply “sailing for fun.” Indeed, these are precisely the kinds of “teamwork lessons” that we endeavor to teach our Sail To Prevail participants, which they can apply universally to assist them in overcoming adversity in other areas of their daily lives.
Transitioning from the Sonar
On a more current note, it certainly seemed strange not to be in Miami last month, racing a Sonar at the ISAF World Cup Miami (formerly the Rolex Olympic Class Regatta), as has been the schedule for the past decade. I wish the best to all of my old pals from all over the world in the Sonar Class, going forward, and throughout their respective 2016 Campaigns. You are great competitors! It has been a wonderful twelve years competing against you, and despite all of the on-the-water battles, becoming such close friends in the process.
Time with My Family
The successful time and investment in the 2009-2012 Sonar Campaign – winning the USA Trials, representing the USA, competing and training in Europe, as well as training rigorously across the USA – has made me enjoy home more than ever. I am just delighted to share time with Alisa, Justin and Mitchell. I am getting my “sailing fix” by watching both boys doing so well racing Optimists and, as a family, we have been traveling the “Opti circuit” in Florida. The road trips are spectacular family bonding times!
The Future – Competing in the SKUD18
I am in the process of changing my Olympic/Paralympic Sailing Class of boat and am preparing to compete in the two-person, “SKUD18,” in Rio de Janeiro in the 2016 Paralympics. Due to my twin sons’ age, (9 to 13) during this Olympic quadrennium (2012 to 2016), a two-person team will, hopefully, free up “logistical time.” I believe I can still dedicate the time necessary for a Paralympic Gold Medal, but not at the sacrifice of being a “great Dad.”
Although I have begun my search for a teammate, I am trying to find an athletic female, (already a sailor would even be better!), single-leg amputee, preferably from south Florida. She would have to possess the innate will, passion and native intelligence to be able to make the commitment to win a Gold Medal in Rio de Janeiro. (Note that the reference to a “female” is an Olympic requirement of the two-person boat, and the single-leg amputee highlights optimizing the Paralympic classification system.) Do you know anyone “out there” with this profile, who could make the honest and true commitment to work hard and win a Gold Medal?
I will be standing by to hear from you.