It has been said that second place is just the first looser. A finite understanding of winning such as this can inspire doubt, shame and a resistance to competition. Fortunately there is another approach that embraces the process of the competition rather than the results of the race. This is the process of setting and achieving goals. This process requires the redefining of winning. Winning cannot be defined as being the biggest the strongest or even the fastest. In order to encourage and embrace the effect of setting and achieving goals, and to harness the inspiring power of dedication, discipline and teamwork, winning must be defined as follows: Winning is going as far as I can using all that Ive got.
Recently Calo students had the opportunity to participate in the 2nd annual Calo triathlon. This grueling display of athleticism began in the pool as students swam lap after lap; 36 laps to be exact. After drying off and getting re-hydrated students made their way to the Katy trail. Students peddled the first 10 miles of the trail on bicycles, then with sore legs and sweaty armpits they put their bikes aside and started the final and most difficult leg of the race, the four and a half mile run.
This was not a traditional sprint triathlon. Students were separated in teams as they competed in the various events. A great deal of preparation went into engineering an experience that would allow students to push themselves individually while making contributions to their team. The emphasis was not on crossing the finish line first; the emphasis was on going as far as you can using all that youve got. Months prior to this race team members had set individual and team goals. Based on their personal goals, assignments were made for the race. Organized in teams of four they were given the expectation that everyone would have to participate in at least one of the three events, but no one could participate in any event alone.
The triathlon highlight came between the biking and running portions of the race. Students were gathered together and informed that they were about to begin the final leg of the race. They were reminded of the expectation to go as far as they could all that theyve got. With this reminder a large handful of students who had not originally planned on running decided that they had not yet given it their all." These students joined with the runners of their teams and provided encouragement and enthusiasm that were greatly appreciated. After four and a half long miles, tears of exhaustion, mixed with tears of accomplishment and pride as the teams crossed the finish line together, many of them holding the hands of teammates who had supported and encouraged them along the way. In a celebration ceremony following the triathlon each team was recognized and students received medals to commemorate this event.
From the beginning of our triathlon training students were urged to experience self-discipline, dedication, commitment and achievement. As students embraced the new definition of winning, going as far as I can using all that Ive got they improved their self-confidence and personal image. As this sequence of recreational therapy wrapped up with an exciting display of athleticism and teamwork, the role of interdependence became evident. In order to go as far as you can using all that youve got you must lean on those around you for support when you need it, and buoy up those who are struggling.