It Takes a Village to Chase an Olympic Dream
Baby it's cold outside
This is what my track practices have looked like for the past week.
Snowed in and iced over but determined to make the most of every precious training day, my coach Garrett thaws our throwing circles using yes, a blow torch, before practice in sub 0 temperatures.
A lot of people ask me what training looks like at this time of year.
I answer without hesitation.
And I’m entirely half serious.
I go on to explain this is the most challenging time of year - physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s not hard to imagine why. Throwing through a pacific northwest fall and winter mean an endless streak of rain, darkness, wind, snow, ice, and cold. Lonely nights driving to and from multiple training sessions, and challenging technical tweaks that make the slightest notion of progress seem like an oasis.
Listening to the gremlins
Everyday I question “why the heck am I doing this”. I start to listen to the voices of the many people who doubt me behind my back - “what makes you think you can go to the Olympics”. I think about all the things I could be doing with this time, countless hours. Is it all a waste?
Then I get a package in the mail.
It’s from Lululemon (always my favourite packages).
There’s a card.
“Tyrell, we hope this helps keep you warm on your long training nights chasing your dream…”
And a bundle of clothes that strike the perfect balance between high performance and warmth.
I am speechless. Humbled beyond words.
I try on one of the long sleeve compression shirts. Yes, this will work. This will help me survive another 2 hour practice in numbing sub 0 weather.
Then I look down at the sleeve. A subtle text like many of the Lululemon shirts have, “that’s cool” I thought - “must be a fun yoga saying or something”.
Then I look closer - and furrow my brow as I read the barely visible inscription.
“Live in Flow”
My heart literally skips a beat.
“That’s my jam - my wheelhouse - my motto”
Then it hits me. The Wow moment. "They did this just for me.”
They did this so every time I look down, even in the lowest valleys of this journey - I will be reminded of the Flow I need to live in to make up this mountain. Then, more profoundly, I will be reminded of the great Village of people who are all around me, who believe in me unconditionally.
Shocked. Speechless. Grateful. I sit and stare at the embossing for several minutes.
And I realize what is even more shocking is that there are so many people who have expressed their support and belief in me. Even dozens who have been willing to donate hard earned dollars to help Tash and I figure out how the heck do we raise two kids in Vancouver on one income and without any National funding finance a World calibre training environment.
Leaders in the fitness and high performance Vancouver community have stepped up out of no where and said “we want to help”. From the team at Body Energy Club spending countless hours helping me with my supplementation, MVMT Lab who is 100% committed to turning my body into an Olympic machine, to Moonrider Productions who has helped tell this story through short videos.
Why would anyone be willing to do this? Let alone for me?
To each and every person on this journey with me, in this Village - Thank You.
I will never be able to repay or express the debt of gratitude I owe each and every one of you.
Through this process of building this village, this tribe, I undeniably acknowledge there is no doubt I would have stumbled and fallen if it weren’t for you.
Every time I walk out into the cold pouring rain to endure another day I think of you. I remember that you believe in me - that you are counting on me to succeed - because you know I can.
It’s amazing how quickly that single thought puts the grin of unrelenting ambition on my face.
It doesn't get any easier from here
Tomorrow I will go out and grind through another exhausting 15 hour day - doing every little thing required in order to take that next baby step to accomplishing this dream.
I will bundle up as I get ready to face the harsh winter elements… at some point I’ll glance down to my Lululemon top, my “motto” will hit me square in the jaw. It will freeze me in my tracks. In that moment, regardless of how miserable I am on this road, how beaten up and torn down I feel - I will think of you. I will think of each and every one of you in this Village (you know who you are). And I will remember that I am allowed to get knocked down and be beaten up, I am allowed to stumble and fall - because you will be there for me, to pick me back up and whisper in my ear “we believe in you, you can do this”.
And with that, I will step into the ring with the slightest grin on my face, ready to take one more baby step closer.