There are always those reasons (excuses) that I can think of not to do something, but usually the reasons to do it far outweigh the excuses. So why is it that the excuses often win out? It is easier to play it safe, it’s easier to just stay in the routine and it usually requires less effort to do what I always do.
This past week was one of the most amazing weeks I’ve had in a long time. Was it out of routine? Yes. Did it take effort to make it work? Yes. Did I have to drive 5 hours each way? Yes. Were there other things that needed to get done this week? YES!
A year or two ago I heard that Windsor (my hometown) would be hosting the World 25m Swimming Championships. As soon as I heard about it I knew that I wanted to be part of it. Now this is where my plan / execute fails. I have good ideas about things that I want to do but then when it comes time to do them, the excuses come out – I have too much work, I need to go to see clients that week, it’s a long drive – and the idea doesn’t happen.
This time it wasn’t a fail. I went online 6 months ago and completed a volunteer application, I blocked the week in my calendar and I worked around it. I knew that this was important to me, so I figured it out.
You can’t outwit fate by standing on the sidelines placing little side bets about the outcome of life… if you don’t play, you can’t win.
It truly was an incredible week. The event itself was spectacular but being able to experience it behind the scenes as a volunteer was amazing. My job for the first 3 nights was to put the bibs (the sticker with the finalist’s last name) on the athletes. I got to watch the best swimmers in the world minutes before they raced. I put a bib on Chad le Clos right before he set a world record, I’m not going to take all the credit for the WR. The first night I was a little (or a lot) star-struck. After that it was very interesting to become familiar with their personalities. Most of the athletes were quiet and focused. Some were smiling and talkative.
While getting to see the swimmers up close was the highlight for me, the venue was no less spectacular. The event was held at the WFCU, where the Windsor Spitfires play. That’s right – the pool is at a hockey arena. Per FINA (the global governing body for swimming) regulations a temporary pool has to be installed that is 25m long x 26m wide x 2m deep. A company flew in from Italy to construct it… in 10 days… on a hockey rink! It was amazing to see this pool.
I remember thinking on the first day – I am so happy that this is only the first day and I get to come back for the rest of the week to work and experience this. (My effort to live in the moment is working!) Throughout the week I saw many people from high school and my swimming days. I loved it. Most of them I hadn’t seen in over 2o years!
This was a once in a life time event. A world championship, my favourite sport, in my hometown. If I had let the excuses win, I would have missed it. The next bus is not coming in 15 minutes. It’s not coming again. I was sad to leave today but so happy that I was part of it. I hope this experience will help me in the future to really think about what’s important and to put the excuses aside.
Other volunteers that I met couldn’t believe that I came from out of town (500 kms away) to volunteer at this event. They’d be shocked to find out what I have planned next! Stay tuned…