Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Life after the Flying 11 national regatta at Port Stephens: pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again

Is this not magnificent? The view from Tomaree Headland. On the left is Zenith Beach; on the right is Shoal Bay
Last week wasn't as happy and carefree as it should have been. 

We had driven to the holiday town of Nelson Bay on the NSW mid-north coast for the Flying 11 national regatta. My daughter The Hiss was sailing to win. 

It was not to be. During the week we endured her pain - she made us feel it with every tantrum and teary recrimination as she slid down the tally ladder. "Shut up Dad, shut up Mum. You don't know what I'm going through."

She blamed the wind, the waves, the boat, her crew (the little bugger did chow down on two meat pies and a chocolate-flavoured milk before every race) and us for her less than impressive performance. 

We were the worst parents on the face of the earth for trying to offer advice. We were uncaring parents for not giving any advice. Arrrgggghhhh.
I don't like to watch The Hiss sail. I find it stressful. It's hard anyway because unless you're out on a boat watching from the sidelines you can't see that much of the action, especially if the course is set a long way out. 

Shoal Bay

My partner Spanner likes to watch (that could be another post). He sits with the other mad sailing parents, who view the races through binoculars. I go off and do other stuff. 

The pics here show you some of the places I visited while The Hiss was sailing out of the record books and into a minor emotional slump. 

Almost a week later, she is back to her usual unpredictable self. I am trying to instill in her the wisdom of one of Australia's sporting greats, John Newcombe, who won 26 grand slams in his tennis career. 

In an interview in GoodWeekend magazine on January 21 he says of fear: It immobilises your body and stops your from performing at your best, so you have to learn to control it. Laughter is a great antidote. If you can look at your opponent and imagine they're an elephant or a rat and just start laughing your opponent might think you're mad, but the laughter will help get rid of the fear.

He also talks about competitiveness: ...There was one final when I was 12 - I was losing badly and behaving badly because I was angry with myself. My mother whispered to me as I changed ends, "Why don't you start playing tennis and stop feeling sorry for yourself?"

And Newcombe's motto for life is from Rudyard Kipling's poem If: "If you can meet Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same..."

The next event for The Hiss and me is the 2.2 km swim (the last in the Great Australian Swim Series) in Sydney Harbour on January 26, which is Australia Day. Please stop raining! Murky water means dirty sharky friendly water!   

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