Friday, July 13, 2012

And the Fundraising begins

So you achieve this victory. You win trials and now you get to represent your country at an International regatta. You train day in and out, sacrificing time needed for proper earnings, only to be given a letter saying you will completely fund this trip and book your own tickets to Europe and back. Oh and your equipment, you too need to take care of that on your own. Unlike a pair of running shoes, a boat and oars and trailering to the regatta venue is not an easy feat. A boat is like a bike. Its specific, technical and detailed. You can't just go ahead and use anything. Although sometimes in desperation it comes to that. And although I believe you won't win because of equipment, you also won't win because of equipment either.

In the July 2012 University of Washington Rowing Stewards Newsletter, Men's head coach Michael Callahan says as the very first point that without the donors, the opportunity to sweep the IRA's wouldn't exist. Second he says, the guys can then just be who they are. A nice pledge form follows the newsletter oh course.

If Washington can do it, why can't we do it at the Olympic level. Written in the times, the new uniforms for the athletes has raised voices.

... Put up or shut up.
Until the U.S. government starts providing funds for Olympic athletes, as every other government in the world does, Congress has no truck telling the U.S. Olympic Committee where to get its uniforms or where they should be made....

I can only end this observation by again saying thank you to host family's
-Tom and Peggy in Princeton,
-Ian and Gill in San Diego,
-Larry and Jill in Seattle,
-Frans and Ineke in Amsterdam
-Robbrecht also in Amsterdam
who have allowed me to stay in their home, most times taken over their fridge with crazy green leafy combinations.
Then to all the company supports like Hudson, C2, JLRacing, all these companies on the Chosen One list. Help from Lake Union Crew where I train from, and other fun things like Oakley glasses and Nike Athlete Rep clothing.
My food and supplement help, from Hammer Nutrition, Now Brand, Living Tree Community, Omega Nutrition, Sports and testing help, from Restwise, Joel Jamison, Ka-Yu Law from Altitude-Tech, Juerg and Graham from Fact Canada/Innovative Fitness and my beloved PT  Karen Calara, as in the The Next Step PT. Finally my nutrition mentor Amy Kubal, who has so much spirit! To name but a few.

I was asked by a Netherlands rower, you have so many sponsors. I laughed and said yes, without them I couldn't row because my federation isn't paying for anything either. I have had to become very creative to keep supporting myself to make this sustainable.


Coach's Note by Michael Callahan

A lot of people have asked me, "How did you do it? What's the key to Washington's success?" The short answer is simple: the student-athletes and the people who support them. "Supporters" include donors, alumni, friends, parents, academic advisors, and athletic department staff. Saying "we did not do this alone" does not capture what happened. WE the athletes, coaches, and supporters all did it together. One does not succeed without the other. Generous donors and alumni allow us to row in the best boats, attract the top recruits, and provide financial aid so every student can have the opportunity to become a Washington oarsman.

The evening before the IRA final I told the varsity that they didn't have to be someone they weren't in order to win. After they won, superlatives like "perfect" and "best ever" began to swirl. But they were just being themselves, doing exactly what they had practiced over and over again in the Montlake Cut.

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