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August 28, 2006

It was my dream to one day be on the same USA Worlds team as my kids. In order for that to happen, one or both of my kids had to really love kayaking and want to compete, and then get good enough to make the team, and at the same time, I had to stay competitive enough to be able to make the USA team in my 40’s. When you are in your 20’s, it doesn’t seem likely that in your 40’s you would still be competitive. Now it is a reality; and we didn’t even squeak in! Emily, Dane, and I all winning our respective classes was a great day and it was done with each of us having a great time preparing for and competing in the event. Maybe it is in their blood, maybe it is how they grew up, maybe both; but it is wonderful seeing them smile and take pressure like it was a sugar coated snack to be eaten and enjoyed.

Dane was in 4th place after his first two runs and he had one run to make the team with, and Evan Garcia throw a great ride down just before Dane making even tougher for Dane to make it. Dane sat on the rock next to me and took a deep breath and jumped up on the rock, dropped in and blew the mark he needed away. I was in the same position, sitting in 6th place after two rides, and needed a big ride to make the cut into finals, and had my clutch ride to take the lead. Emily just lead from her first to her last ride.

The crazy thing was that Emily and Dane would have been competitive in the senior men’s class.

If both of the kids were competing in the senior men’s class in prelims, Emily would have been 5th and Dane 4th. They are hot on my tail! I can’t wait until they beat me, especially Emily, for the first time.

So what is my dream now? I learned a few years ago that the key to a real successful and happy life is to be committed to worthy cause that makes your daily activities full of purpose and fun, instead of setting your sights on the end product. For that reason, I want to paddle with my kids every day and help them realize that life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. While they may never win the world championships, it is my intention to paddle and prepare both myself and them for the competition so that they can show up to the 2007 World Championships feeling like we are prepared and have as much fun there as we did at USA Team trials. Can you predict three world champions from this event? Of course not. Is it possible, absolutely. Likely? Depends on who you ask. What we will do is enjoy the time from now to then as a family trying to help each other be the best we can be. That is worth more than any title or win we could ever have. That is my dream come true. We are a family of four (with a lot of adopted kids too (team JK)) and we are all moving in parallel directions with similar interests and goals.

My dream hasn’t changed, it is only strengthened with positive feedback, sweet!

Now I am about to enter the arena with my slalom boat, against people who are better trained and way more prepared than I am. If I have a great race for me, I will be in the top 8. I am hoping for top 5, but am here to take an inventory of my skills and what I need to learn and get better at. I will, again, be fully trained in the slalom skills and competitive at the top. For now, I will have to watch in awe as the best of the USA make moves faster and more consistently than I do. It is exciting to get to an event, knowing that I am in top condition, and knowing that I am still the underdog. The fun part is the process of going from the underdog to the person to beat. Whether or not that happens, it will be fun trying!

Got to get ready to race, it starts in 1 hour!

🙂 EJ