During the Olympics Doug was like a man without a country. One minute he was American, the next he was a Canuck and then suddenly he was an Aussie. Given the sailing success of Oz, Doug is now walking around saying things like “g’di mite’ and “g’don ya mite” Thank goodness he never lived in Ireland or he might be talking about getting twatted by a fookin sail.
Many people are pondering the US Olympic sailing medal shut out. I’ve read lots of theories and ideas. Interestingly, many of the solutions are about what others should do to improve things. There are certainly some organizational and structural changes that need to take place but what can we, as individual sailors, actually do to change things?
Since, I know of at least two sailors in my area with Olympic ambitions who sail in fleets that I sail in, the question for me becomes, how do I help those individuals? I’m sort of a crappy sailor but I have my moments of brilliance and luck as well as obstruction and nuisance. It is always a surprise to me of which I’ll be, but thankfully, neither is usually sustained for any length of time. I figure that an Olympic hopeful has made arrangements for their training and coaching but an important variable that they can’t control is the number of sailors that show up at the local events where they sail. That’s where I come in. Regardless of my skill level, whether sailing with me or around me, a talented sailor will still benefit from me being on the course. I’m a number that he or she needs to consistently show up and race in order to add more numbers which will hopefully add talent, competitiveness and fun.
Now Doug can do more than I can. He has enough skill, flexible time, international experience and adaptability to be an occasional training partner of the local Olympic hopefuls. I have to wonder if they know that a phone call is all it would take to get him to come out and do a little practicing. Perhaps the local sailors that are on the more advanced end should make themselves more available to our local young sailors with Olympic aspirations. We have quite a bit of deep talent in our dinghy district circuits but participation has been down in many fleets the last few years and that is completely within our control.
So if we aren’t happy with the US being shut out of the Olympics in sailing, then it’s up to each of us to step up and take personal responsibility and be part of the solution.