If someone tapped you on the shoulder and said you’d drawn the golden ticket to spend a fortnight on a tropical island, it’s quite possible you’d be jumping for joy, bouncing on beds and swinging from the rafters.
Sun, sand, warmth, possibly even some waves!
Sounds Ah-mazing right? Possibly even a tan to boot…pack that bikini now girl!
For most, this is precisely the image that is conjured up – it’s one heck of a sell. “Who” wouldn’t want to escape to paradise, you’d be positively nuts not to.
When you got home, there was a letter. It detailed everything about the trip and what to take, but it didn’t say when.
Each week you checked the mail, hoping for another letter with some more information about this ah-mazing golden ticket to paradise.
You’d told all your friends, promised to send pictures to your mum, the anticipation was building, but you still didn’t know when you were going.
After weeks of waiting you called the number on the golden ticket and got the answer phone. You left a message. Actually, you left messages every second day in the hope of getting something other than the answer machine.
As the weeks rolled on and the information didn’t come, life threw you a couple of curve balls. That early excitement was fast starting to fade into low level anxiety when combined with all the other things that were lining up in your life.
All of a sudden you got the information you’d been waiting months to receive…and you could feel the pressure of all the balls you were trying to juggle starting to mount.
I’ll cut a long story short – this is a some what accurate analogy of the build up to this year’s ISA Prone and Paddleboard World Champs.
Months came and went and we still didn’t have information about where it might be. Fiji was mooted and finally announced as the host months after the initially schedule dates of the event while any other information was scarce to find.
The dates were set, the dates were changed. Given a small amount of information as to where it might be be held, this then changed again.
Having won the NZ Nationals for the 6th consecutive year in both the distance event and the surf racing event . I accepted my position on the team as the female representative for SUP racing based on what I knew I would be able to commit to back in February….fast forward a few months and my world got a little turned upside down and shaken around.
While there is not need for the details of my world being turned upside down and all around to be aired for public consumption, it definitely began to affect the decisions I was making and it necessitated a reconsideration of my plans and schedule. Was any of this in my control? Only the decisions I was making in the wake of the information I was faced with.
Fast forward to October and I made it home with all my gear in tow prepared for anything and everything. I was fit, I’d just finished up a season highlighted with some incredible highs and I finally had the chance to get my head around the planning and execution of this ‘fortnight-in-paradise’ that was fast turning into a nightmare-covered-in-chocolate.
While the proximity of Fiji seems relatively close to NZ, the reality soon began to be anything but. As I costed everything out, it soon became apparent that this little jaunt to the South Pacific was rather to be a rather pricey affair.
At the same time, some other, shall we call them ‘life commitments’ started rolling in at 100% over budget with a time line coinciding with the dates of Fiji.
Time was running short and it time for some fast decisions to be made.
As with any decision you make, there is always the cost of what you’re not doing. And often what you’re not doing is a hard pill to swallow.
Looking at the facts objectively as to what was best for me (not what was best for others) the decision was simple.
And as with all decisions, there is always the potential ramifications and fallout of the decisions that you make. Good or bad, you take it on the chin and roll with the punches.
But when some of those punches come a little below the belt, are of the red card variety, and the hits at your chin miss leaving you with a bloody nose and the start of a black eye – it’s probably time to take stock of the situation and yes, there were a few cheap shots sent in my direction.
Gotta love a good round of chinese whispers in the era of Facebook eh? Nothing like a bit of banter eh? What, someone took a screen shot of what you just posted? Yes people – don’t be the person about to give themselves a MEGA PALM FACE…..
There are a number of reasons that contributed to the decisions I made a week ago. Some were concerns surrounding the event (which instead of debating publicly, I raised directly and constructively with the ISA) as I was more than aware that others shared similar concerns.
Asked why I had not gone down the route of crowd funding to assist in covering some or all of the expenses associated with attending this event, it came back to personal values.
While crowd funding and the likes of give-a-little are a powerful medium and most definitely have their place, I struggle with the deeper meaning of asking people to hand over their hard earned cash for my me to spend a couple of weeks in paradise.
Maybe I’ve always had to earn it, but I value just how hard it can be to earn a dollar. So when you ask for a dollar, there’s always some kind of ‘transaction’ be it in the form of a good, a service or an emotional deficit. A sense of ‘owing’ to those that have stumped up.
Quite simply, I didn’t feel comfortable asking for handout. I know of many others that are more than comfortable doing this and good luck to them. I’m more of the ilk that you save that kind of trump card for a time of serious emergency when the shi*t really hits fan and you are in desperate need of help or assistance. A fortnight in the South Pacific didn’t really fit the profile for me on that one.
So there you have it. This is not a decision I took lightly and it is DEFINITELY not for the reasons that some people have aired.
I take seriously the responsibility that goes with representing myself, my family, my friends, my sport(s) and my country which I do week in, week out for a large portion of the year and hold myself to the highest levels of personal delivery. I also have goals and ambitions both inside and outside of sport.
Like all things I do – I see it in the context of ‘winning the game of life’. It’s a privilege to be having to make decisions where many will never have the opportunity to have either choice.
Good luck to everyone attending the ISA World Champs in Fiji later this month.
May you be safe, may you make your country proud, may you play to the best of your preparation and may you rise to the occasion.