(insert coach’s name here)
It has come to my attention that this weekend did not go so well. Our communication was absolutely horrendous and I found you very controlling. I understand that you have my best intentions at heart, but sometimes your execution is a little elusive. I did not appreciate how you disrespected our massage therapist. She has been with the team for six years and she did not “fuck anyone” to get on to the team. She has many other diplomas than just her RMT and she is not “only a registered massage therapist.” (Should you be saying that to a girl who wants to be an RMT)? When she makes a recommendation that I do not swim a final, usually it’s pretty justified. She has only said this to me once out of six years and that was when I had a concussion.
I also know that I have to toughen up, but I cannot change my personality just because you think that I should in order to win medals. Staying myself is more important to me than breaking any damn records. And if you ask me, I was doing fine being a gentle loving person long before you came along. I also know you want me to learn to swim when I am not 100 percent. What do you think I did all weekend? I had just finished my anti-biotic a day before we got there and I was still feeling like crap. I bit the bullet and tried my damnedest to have good swims. Yeah the times were crappy, but I worked and focused on the things you told me to…like the starts and keeping my stoke even, and even splitting. That said, when my shoulder is not sitting properly in its joint and the RMT suggests that I do not swim my three finals, do not give me a lecture about the American gymnast who jumped with a broken foot at the 1996 Olympics to give her team the gold. Did you ever notice that she was at the Olympics and that she never competed again because she injured herself so badly? First of all, this meet was not the Paralympics, I have been there twice and I have swam there with ribs out of place because it was the Paralympics. Secondly, don’t use me as a pawn in your little control game you have going on with the head coach of the national team and the RMT. You only made me swim finals to make a point to them and it had absolutely nothing to do with me.
I know you were frustrated by the way the swim meet was run. I was too. I agree with you that there should have been media coverage and vendors set up with equipment for sale, like there is at able-bodied meets, but there weren’t and I can’t get worked up about that stuff until the meet is over. I go there to swim first and then make political change second. When I get to a meet, I am an athlete first and I will work out the other stuff afterwards when I can afford to focus on other things. Oh yes and when you’re mad at other people, do not take it out on me by making me swim a million kilometres before a race and then get pissed off when I am too tired to post a record breaking time.
Also, don’t give me a game plan and then change it after I’ve swam the race. When you tell me not to worry about the time and then get pissed when it’s not as fast as you wanted it to be…well, am I missing something here? And just a side note, when giving someone the silent treatment, it is more effective when the person knows you are there in the first place. Giving blind people the silent treatment doesn’t really work.
When you drop us off at our house and I ask you about the morning’s practice, don’t growl “yes” at me and then peel out of our driveway at high speed and burn rubber down our little quiet residential street. In fact, I have never known a fifty year old man to mope and pout worse than you. Do not control me! Do not get angry with me when I talk to the team’s scientist about nutrition; do not give me silent treatment because I talked to the RMT about my shoulder injury when you told me to; do not punish me in workout and tell me all of my pain is in my head when I have just spoken to the sports psychologist. I know you don’t like strong independent women…thus why you are so insecure when I talk to the RMT and the sports psych…and when I stand up to you when you tell me to abandon all sportsmanship conduct and swim zigzags down the lane and cause head on collisions. Don’t tell me that once I have had a few run-ins in the warm-up that I will learn. I have learned! It’s called a concussion and that means swimming circles like everyone else and having some respect for my competition and team-mates.
Just because you’re insecure with yourself, does not mean you can make me feel badly about me too. I like me. Yes, I have flaws and I have to be a little more aggressive when I compete, but generally I like who I am. Don’t try to change me. I will fight you every step of the way. I am a free spirit and the more you try to tie me down the harder I will resist you. Do not use my disability to your advantage. I am a blind athlete and thus I need objective opinions. Not some opinion you have contrived to make me a faithful follower. I do not follow faithfully until someone proves to me with mutual respect for me and the people around me, trust and no bullying. I guess the bottom line is, do not try to control me. I am my own person.
Wish me luck everyone, I have practice this morning and I think we may kill each other. Or, hopefully work things out as mature adults and actually talk about our differences instead of stomping around pouting...that would be my coach. It didnt' matter how much I tried to talk to him, it didn't matter. I know he's set in his ways, but my God! This is a partnership and in a partnership you meet in the middle. I cannot make all of the changes. Fuck that!