Sunday, October 7, 2012

Passion & Joy

Usually I (Don) write this weekly blog having been inspired by some recent event, workout, swimmer, coach or article. More often than not it comes as a result of something that happens as Ken and I work with our team and the process of nurturing it. Today’s post actually was written by Ken for our team’s (North Bay Aquatics) newsletter. Ken said I could use it and so…thanks to Ken for this wonderfully crafted piece on coaching motivation.

"We coaches at NBA are passionate about working for this team … coaching our swimmers brings us great joy.... After 32 years of coaching here in Marin, how else can I explain getting up before 5:00 AM and actually looking forward to it?! "

Since I am just back from my one time of the year where I am not at a swim practice or a swim meet, my story this time around revolves around a concert. This summer, on a lark, my wife and I decided to travel up to the Gorge in eastern Washington to see the Dave Matthews Band perform (great venue and a great concert, by the way, for those that want to know).

While sitting in our seats waiting for the concert to begin, a couple who had to be at least 75 years old took the seats right next to us. Already feeling a bit on the older side compared to most of the crowd, I was quite intrigued by this rather ordinary looking couple and I couldn’t help but wonder why they were there. My first thought was they had to be relatives of one of the performers, either parents or perhaps even grandparents.

To my surprise, when the concert started, the woman took out a small box from her belongings and then stood on it in order see. She then proceeded to dance her way through the entire three hour show. Even more amazing was the fact that she sang along to all the songs, seemingly knowing every word to every tune.

When the concert was over, we asked her about her connection to the band. She told us that she had no connection -- other than that she thought they were the greatest. It was her 40th Dave Matthews show! Her passion was incredible.

On stage, one of the performers was a drummer named Carter Beauford. He is at the top of his craft, arguably one of the best drummers in the business. The big screen continued to show him close up and the smile on his face was genuine and constant. To see such joy from someone doing something they had done so many times before was very inspirational to me. I know the feeling, as I approach my 33rd year of coaching swimming here in Marin.

There are many components that make someone successful. Don writes in this newsletter about how important character is in the makeup of an athlete (or anyone, for that matter). Two more critical components are passion and joy.

Having a passion for something allows you to jump into the activity with both feet. It allows you to give freely of yourself while engaged in that activity. And attaining joy from doing the activity gives you the desire to keep on working on your craft. It never gets old when you receive such joy.

We coaches at NBA are passionate about working for this team. I believe I can speak for all in saying that coaching our swimmers brings us great joy. How else you can explain getting up before 5:00 AM and actually looking forward to it?! One of our goals is to find athletes we can share this with, and we continue to have great success in that quest. Our swimmers’ enthusiasm ignites our enthusiasm and vice versa.

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