Over the last week I have been rooming with Nick Purnell. We have been in the man cave with hours spent sleeping, watching video’s and plenty of chatter about how we are going ad what’s ahead. Purnie is 21 and I am 36. In 1996 when I was racing at the Olympics he was at a Wiggles concert. We are the young and old of our crew and actually pretty much the youngest and oldest of the Australian Rowing team.
So over the last 12months I have been asked about why I have chosen to row on. This is one of the reasons. I was fortunate enough way back then in the Oarsome Foursome to row with guys who had achieved at the highest level. To be able to row with those guys that year in 1996 and then beyond is a big reason why I have been lucky to have had the success I have. The learning, the discussions, the insights and moments of clarity about what is and was required over a number of years set my career up well.
This last week then reminded me of all this. I figure its pretty damn pointless if you just do you thing and get the results and leave. The ability to work with the next generation and to play a role in transitioning the experiences and learnings is critical not only for the sport in Australia but Internationally.
This leads me to a statement made recently while in Henley when Martin Cross commented about my willingness to share data and information about our training and preparations over the years. When I first started this blog it was a way to engage on a simple level with those interested. It has grown and between moments like catching up with Crossy and him saying how refreshing it was that I am willing to put stuff out there and weeks like this last one with Purnie I am enjoying making sure I don’t just finish up as someone who rowed and got certain results and left the sport on that note.
When I was young I was enthusiastic, reckless and passionate. Now I am older I still have those things within me but I am more strategic, thoughtful and satisfied. The itch to compete is still strong but my reasons have shifted. Early days it was about glory, success and self. These days I enjoy the little moments, the subtle shifts and the feeling of delivering on promises. Somethings that I am noticing is balancing individual needs with group needs.
When I was 21 in the four I pretty much tried to do what ever I needed to to be in the team. This had some interesting consequences with moments where I simple feel out of step with the group. Then for many years in the pairs I felt harmony came pretty easy. Individual and team blurred and my needs seemed to marry up with those of my team mates and coach. This has been a slight challenge for me over the season as the difference in age and experience is even bigger. Our needs and some of the differences are vivid at times. Managing this has required some more attention to it than I expected.
This is a good thing I think it has got me really processing a lot about how we find that harmony. So I started all this because I want to achieve something special in London with a great team. The passing and transitioning from old athlete to young is another key elements to my reasoning for taking this all on.
Here’s to a mixed of ages, experiences and perspectives. Here’s to bridging the gap in age and integrating the variables to ensure the reasons for going on transpire and realise the best outcomes.