There isn’t anything worse than feeling like you’ve let your team down. Last week as I struggled to recover from pneumonia or whooping cough or whatever virus health services couldn’t technically put a name to, I felt just that. I spent my week in a haze of coughing, sleeping, and trying to stay away from the pool so I didn’t infect anyone.
I did, however, sneak into a team meeting on Wednesday in which we discussed the haze the entire team seems to be struggling with. Mid-season is hard. It is especially difficult when your season spans five months. Five whole months of constant training and racing on top of the typical college tasks of class, studying, and attempting to maintain a social life and sleep for a couple hours a night. It’s hard when the mid-season coincides with the winding down of a semester with increased work load and the anticipating scary phrase of finals week. It’s hard when one of the longest meets of the season sneaks up at a time when you’re sore, sick, and stressed.
To address the stress, we vented. And then we rationalized. To do this, we turned to the statistics. Coach reminded us that 85% of us have improved our times so far this season. Likewise, 84% of us are faster this time in the year year as compared to this time last year. After hyping ourselves up with the facts, we reminded ourselves of when the hype had been high on its own and discussed the goals we concocted at the beginning of the season. Sometimes the goals we made seem too far out of reach, but that’s why we’re a team. Our sport can sometimes be perceived as individualized, but we wouldn’t last five months if that was the case.
The Bentley Invitational this past weekend proved that we may think our spirits and strength are down, but if we can toughen out an 8-hour meet, we are in better shape than we thought. Two weeks away from Christmas break and the season will start to speed by.
Last mid-season slump for some of us. Weird…