Decided to resurrect the blog. This felt more appropriate here than on Attackpoint in my Training Log. This post has mostly been written as a mental self-reflection, where writing helps me to organize thoughts (and allows me to not study for my Statistics Midterm tomorrow).
Yesterday I received an email which stated the athletes selected for JWOC 2017 in Hungary. I am not on the list of athletes currently selected to go, but rather on the list of four potential athletes fighting for the remaining two mens’ spots.
I would like to start by sincerely saying congratulations to everyone who was selected to the team. I am not sure how much is public (nothing is posted to the Orienteering Canada website or Attackpoint thus far), and how much is private so will not list names, but everyone who was selected to the team demonstrated last year that they are simply put better and faster than I am and deserve to be on the team. Once again, congratulations – you will do us proud.
Nonetheless, I will admit that my initial reaction to my not being named to the initial team was one of anger. I deserved to be on that team. I continued through the email to see the reasons behind why the selection committee has not yet decided to fill the remaining two spots.
- Lack of head to head competition to differentiate between athletes;
- In some cases, athletes results were not particularly solid or meaningful;
- In some cases, results not being telling enough to rank or distinguish between athletes;
- In some cases a lack of domestic (Canadian) races attended – e.g. only 4/8 men competed at COC, 1/8 at Easterns, and 0/8 at Westerns.
I cooled down sufficiently to think rationally, and realized that the selection committee has a very difficult task. They need to compare athletes from across the second largest country on earth without the aid of selection. Their rationalization for leaving spots empty for now is perfectly valid. I have never even met or raced against two of the individuals who may be selected (well only 1 of them now after Vancouver Sprint Camp). But I was confused as to why I was not selected to the initial team and only 1 spot left empty for the remaining three athletes. After all I beat several members of the team selected for this coming year (who on the men’s side all attended JWOC last year, I was the only man to attend last year who is eligible for this coming year who was not selected) in several races last year at JWOC, and could not wrap my head around why I was not selected.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I do not deserve to be selected to the initial team. I attended relatively few high profile races – the only real major event was JWOC. I made the decision last year (mostly on financial reasons) not to attend COCs and Easterns (I could not attend Westerns as I was at JWOC during that time). While I attended Vancouver Sprint Camp, Sage Stomp, and the Seattle Adventure Running Tournament, these are more local events where the athletes with whom I am competing for the remaining two spots did not attend. It makes sense that they are not valued to the same extent that national races are. My training this winter has also been somewhat lackluster – I have had some difficulty getting out training, going to school full time, and moving out. But these are just excuses that mean nothing. Simply put, I have not demonstrated that I am among the six best orienteers under the age of 20 in this country. And the selection committee was right to call me out on it, and not name me to the initial team.
So now comes the question of what am I going to do.
Step #1 – Watch Al Pacino in Inch by Inch:
Step #2 – Get my butt in gear.
The selection committee will choose the remaining two athletes by May 11th, with races and training from January 15th up to May 6th being the basis of the selection committee’s decision. They suggest the following races as selection opportunities:
- Vancouver Sprint Camp – Feb. 17-19
- Southwest Spring Week (Tucson, AZ) – Feb. 17-25
- California Orienteering Week Part 1 – March 17-21; Part 2 – March 23-25
- Cincinnati Flying Pig – April 6-8
- West Point National Meet, NY – April 21-22
- Troll Cup and US National Junior Championships Holyoke, MA – April 28-29
- Other Major European Races
I attended Sprint Camp, but do not think I will be able to attend any of the other suggested events. A quick process of elimination rules out some of the events: Southwest Spring Week already happened and during Flying Pig I have exams. Remaining race options, even if I was able to get the time off school or work (and organizing OART) are well beyond what I can spend. The closest set of races would be COW, which is a 21 hour drive or some quick research shows a ~$500 expense for flights alone. Flying out east costs even more. Simply put – university is a higher priority than sport – so having enough money to go back to school in the fall is more important to me than the possibility of getting selected for JWOC. So the suggested races are out.
This means that in order to be selected, it is going to have to be based on my training. This means I need to train my butt off over the next two and a half months because what I have been doing over the past 4 months is simply insufficient. Doing some quick math, I’ll have two local events hosted by Sage (which hopefully I can get other people to organize) that I can attend, and will probably also go to an event in Calgary as well. GVOC doesn’t have a full schedule out yet, but might head down there once more as well if a tempting event comes up. Basically, this means that I need to organize a lot of my own orienteering-specific training as well as organizing my own physical training.
This shock at not being selected has made me stop and think about things, refocus, and hopefully come back stronger than ever. Whether or not I do make the second cut of the team (I won’t publicly speculate about my odds), not being selected in the initial round is good for my orienteering season. I was somewhat floating through life, but now have more of something to fight for. That competitive, angry drive from the old XC skiing days is coming back – and Hungary (and/or the Yukon) had better watch out.
(With that off my chest it’s time to go do some stretching and go to bed so I don’t fail my midterm tomorrow!)