I’ll start this post with a story. I think I was about 10 or 11 years old, at a summer swim team meet. (You all may have always wondered where my incredible swim prowess comes from — Evergreen Dolphins! haha) The meet was against our biggest rivals — as far as rivals for summer swimming go, at least. The score was really tight, and only a few events were left. One of them was the 50 free, and I was swimming. Despite being at an outdoor meet with hundreds of people around, you could literally hear a pin drop as people were lining up. Every race mattered at this point, and everyone wanted to win.
My coach at the time was astute enough to notice the situation and also notice the silliness of it all. After all, summer swim team was supposed to be FUN. This was where the “recreational” swimmers swam. He pulled me aside just before I was to go off, and said “hey, lighten the mood if you can. Do something silly. Just have fun.” I said — okay, but what if I get DQ-ed? He said, “It’s fine. These people need to smile!”
I got to the blocks. They called “Swimmers take your marks!”
And then, I cannonballed into the water.
I surfaced to cheers from my teammates, and my coaching smiling and pumping his fists. The cannonball did the trick as everyone loosened up a little, and even the ref let it slide as he permitted me to get back out and swim the event despite my tomfoolery. I don’t remember what happened but I can pretty much promise you I probably didn’t win that heat.
So what does this have to do with sponsorship?
Well, I’m still not afraid to be the girl who cannonballs. I got myself to this point with a lot of hard work and creative thinking — the next steps aren’t going to be any different. I threw out a cannonball yesterday with this post:
and it definitely made some waves. Stay tuned, because I think some great things will come of it.
In a time when we can watch Kara Goucher give up running for the man, to run with some amazing women and follow her heart, I struggle to understand the athletes who are afraid to make a splash. I always go back to asking myself what the worse case scenario is. And, in the words of Bob Dylan, “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”
At the end of the day, training and racing is made so much easier when you have the support of family, friends, and companies that believe in you. Whether for me that means 3 companies this year, or 10, I can say that I want to make sure that the choice of sponsorship is a mutual one. Asking a company for resources is a big commitment, and I value that wholeheartedly. If I choose to accept it, I am choosing to work my butt of for them.
Thank you everyone for the cheers as I head to the start line this weekend! And most of all, thank you to SMASH, PowerBar, and Oiselle for their continued support and inspiration. There’s a long road ahead but I’m looking forward to the first step on Sunday!!