What can I say it has been many weeks and a great deal has happened more about that in coming posts. IN short I have been under the pump as they would say…Not sure who they are but I am pretty certain someone has said it before and so now I repeat it. One week of observing and facilitating on a Melbourne Business School program with BHP. Another week break with my family in Yamba NSW. Loads of time to learn and a really need to reflect and manage my energy levels. It’s all made for one happy person, but more importantly I am happy like you a big in shit because in the last 10 days a few things have happened. To people I have enjoyed moments with and who I respect immensly have taken some huge steps.
During the Australian National Trial Karsten Forstling finally did what I have sort of felt he could do for a long tim. He unleashed his potential and achieved success by winning the National Selection race in the single scull. I was really happy for him as I have seen him come through heaps. I recall his school boy eight racing which had David Crawshay on board also. That was the mid 90’s and then he was part of what was seen as a very good junior crew coach by Chris O’Brien. This was during a period of Melbourne University establishing itself as a heavy weight rowing club. Not to say they didn’t have success before then it was just the between Chris O’Brien and Paul Reedy coaching the junior four and the U23 four they were laying a foundation for some great athletes and performances in coming years.
Kasrten came out the that group and was well respected but due to many things never quiet cracked it at the international level. That is in terms of being consistently on the National team and gaining the success which I believe he is capable of. This is not to down play his past or make any excuses for his performances. It’s just with guys like Crawshay and the four with Cameron McKenzie McHarg and Jame Marburg achieving some great results over the last few years Karsten slipped in a sense and missed great opportunities to achieve. As a potential member of the Australian eight in 2004 Athens games it was contraverisal to see him and Cam Mc Mc miss the eight. I am not speculating about if they should have been in or out but they were unfortunate not to be part of a medal crew. A similar bunch of events was unfolding prior to 2008 and it appeared that these guys would possible miss the games again. Cam made the four and well the history of a silver shows the capacity to perform and yet the record books can never show how close it might have been to not happening. The other side of the coin was Karsten who for years leading in to 2008 had shown him self to be a credible international competitor. How he went from seemingly estabilished to reserve was remarkable. And the like the four that year they appear to be on the outer.
I have had the great fortune of training with all these guys. Crawshay, Karsten, Cam, and James Marburg along with my partners like James and Duncan. I mention them specifically here because these were often the guys during domestic competition who we shared training sessions with in a squad and competed against each other in a health way. Karsten is someone I have to make particular mention of because for some time now I have felt him to had extraordinary capacity. It is probably because it has been contrast to some of the outcomes of selection and competition which make me feel some strongly about this, but also it is critical to understand that when it has come to certain activities and certain challenge I have found him to be equal to all above if not better. He is one of only a few heavy weight rower I have found I watch a feel in awe of when it comes to comparison of physical output particularly related to size. Some guys are big and have big engines. Karsten was often similar body weight to myself and would out do me every time physically. On the bike he was the guy I would swap off with and be challenged by. He would out do me at times when I was completely left wanting. And on other occasions the tables would be turned not so much my my motivation to go better or faster but by simply wanting to keep up with him. The respect I have for him as an athlete goes to the heart of what is means to push, stretch and dig deep.
The group down here in Melbourne was building for many years and I only highlight Karsten here because for me he is the stand out from the recent National trial. This group of guys and girls began I think in the mid 90’s with school rowers transitioning to club and later to National athletes. It is not just the guys but I focus on them here because of what I wanted to get across about one. The girls have been equally impressive.
From this reason when I hear result from the recent Nationals I had some envy true about maybe wishing to compete but much of my feeling was related to happiness for seeing people like Kartsen coming into his own. I am on the side line. I am a spectator and I am proud of athletes who I have share time with to see them changing, developing and growing. I wish them all the great success and know how many of them can achieve anything they focus on in the sport.