Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Proudest Coach

Dear Swimmers

Not withstanding the phenomenal achievements of a whole host of athletes from the squad in this month's Busselton Half Ironman event achieving multiple Age Group podium finishes (and wins!), including - but not limited to - an amazing spree in the women's event with 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th and 16th place overall for Kate Bevilaqua, "young gun" Emily Loughnan, Renee Baker, Janine Willis and Lisa Luckin, and 7th and 18th places in the men's for Guy Crawford and Derek Cross respectively, this morning one of my proudest coaching moments came from one of my most embarrassing mistakes. I was late for squad - very late!

I have been coaching here in Perth since May 2002 and running my own squad (as you know it) since May 2008 and as a couple of the more senior members will attest, in that whole time - despite 4.20am wake-ups six times per week, week-in / week-out - I have never slept through an alarm and missed delivering a squad session. Never. I actually pride myself on this fact more than anything (just about!). I even talk about the extreme importance of this for running a successful squad in all the coaching courses I deliver around the world. Imagine my massive panic then when Michelle says to me "Paul, it's 5.48am - shouldn't you be at the pool?!" - several expletives followed before I hurriedly headed to the pool arriving at about 6.08am. I was devastated at the thought of arriving at the pool to total chaos - "where's the coach?!", "what do we do?!" etc - but what I was met with was anything but! 

Yes, my proudest coaching experience came from walking down that path from the office in my flustered state and experiencing 32 people all in perfect squad training unison having devised their own plan and following it with structure and control in a super diligent manner - you were even all "minding the gap" too! Brilliant.

You have learned well, Young Grasshoppers!

I was super impressed, and as I said at the time amongst the profuse apologies, I didn't want to interrupt what already looked like a great session! What an amazing scene to greet a super-embarrased coach! My understanding was that you all wasted no time getting in and getting on with it led perhaps by the direction of Simon Bedbrook and James Forbes from lane 4 who expertly delegated the proposed session to lane-leaders Rory Thomson / Janine Willis, Chris Foley / Graham Crocker, and Shane Hunter / Ermie Robinson (amongst others I'm sure!) from lanes 3, 2 and 1 respectively and still covered 3000m. Well done you (all!).

It wasn't a social experiment…as cool as that would have been to make out it was!

I was humbled by all the attempts that people were making to create a plausible excuse for my tardiness (kids sick, car broken down, storm damage, earthquake, dog ate the car keys…), but the truth is I simply over-slept. The greatest irony of this whole situation was highlighted by Jo Van Rooyen with her statement "I thought you might have been conducting some sort of social experiment as you're never not there" - believe it or not I've been searching for a quirky, light-hearted way of telling you all that myself, Mish and the kids have decided to move house and re-locate much closer to the pool in order to make the 4.20am starts that much more manageable and avoid the risk of issues like this and to save my aging bones! We have an offer in on a lovely place around the corner from Claremont Pool, subject to the sale of our place in Innaloo which goes on the market tomorrow. Exciting but nerve-wracking times topped with a whole fortnight of post-midnight bedtimes and super-early starts that even 3 separate alarms couldn't wake me from this morning!

Good job I've employed the very best in Quality Control - my DIY skills have been said to leave something to be desired!

It's going to be very much touch-and-go on our part selling our house in time for the offer to proceed, but we have the best man on the job (one of my channel swimming buddies Brad Hardingham from RealMark), and the house is now all set to go. We are committed to selling even on the off-chance that our offer falls through on the new place. 

If you happen to know of anyone who might be searching for a lovely 3 x 2 townhouse set on a beautifully landscaped park in Innaloo that has been lovingly cherished for the last five years by a young family of four, please call Brad on 0419 345 400 quoting "15c Selina Street, Innaloo) and arrange a viewing with Brad directly. We should be having the first home open this Saturday (time TBC), so hopefully we get some interest and get this show on the road! At least then I will never have an excuse for being late, though I think - whilst not excusable - 1 morning in at least 2,000 is not a bad "success" rate. Rest assured, it won't happen again though.

Here are some photos - thanks for your interest:

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