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Uniting Nations | RindyLoucks.com

Uniting Nations

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In three weeks time my season kicks off with a one week training school in Park City, Utah and then the week following that my race season begins.

Unlike the Canadian and other larger nation athletes, myself (and other small nation athletes) do not have the luxury of having our federations organize everything for us and as the athlete just kind of showing up. No, for us we need to arrange and organize everything for ourselves down to every finite detail. If it needs to be done we need to do it for ourselves. And of course there is also the financial obligation to each of the arrangements that needs to be taken into account - which usually as a single athlete is taken on solo.With that knowledge in mind there is a small group of us ‘small nation’ athletes that have somewhat banded together for this coming season. It began in Lake Placid, somewhat accidentally.

The skeleton world is a relatively small one and the reality is that for the most part we see many of the same athletes at each of our races. This in turn enables many of us to forge good friendships and thus we tend to keep in touch with each other. Such was the case for the four of us that came together in Placid.

It came to pass that through emails we knew that we all planned to be at the Lake Placid race and to that end, from varying communications, arrangements were made to help each other out. I knew that I would be arriving in Montreal and that one of the Mexican sliders was also arriving the same day, though later, in Montreal. As he was offering use of the accommodation that had been arranged for him I arranged for the vehicle and met him when he arrived off his flight and together we drove to Lake Placid. Once in Placid the other two sliders in our little group arrived and together we shared the costs of groceries, not to mention meal making, and formed what turned out to be a very symbiotic relationship.

Beyond the sharing of camaraderie though was the very necessary ability to debrief with peers at the end of a sliding day, the chance to discuss challenges, issues and high points from our training and race days and having assistance at the track for such things as assisting each other with carrying sleds/equipment and watching each other in the track – as none of us had a coach nor was one supplied for us as is usually the case for small nations. As well as all of the above mentioned it was simply the enjoyment of having company to spend time with at the end of the day. It may seem a small and insignificant thing but believe me it really is quite huge when otherwise you are very alone trying to do all for oneself.

During that week together we all realized the benefit of having such a group. We all recognized the fact that in terms of needs, funding, assistance, coaching etc. we were all in the same boat and to be able to negate if not eliminate those issues for each other for future races would be highly beneficial for all of us. And thus, during that week in Placid the seed was planted to band together as a small nations group for the following season.

We decided to see where our race plans would intersect for the following season and where they did to replicate what we had done in Placid.With three weeks to the start of all of our seasons we have managed to arrange pretty much the majority of our season together. At the very least we have organized our first four races such that accommodation, transportation and expectations of groceries has been taken care of. As to assisting each other where need be with equipment, feedback, off-ice coaching and sharing of knowledge it is an understanding we have to help each other out where each of us may need it. There will be no guarding of some non-existent ‘secret’ to the track rather there will be an open sharing of what we know to be able to see each of us do the best we can.

Currently we consist of Mexico, Slovakia and Jamaica. We jokingly refer to ourselves as the ‘United Nations’ of sliding and in my mind our little group is the epitome of the true sense of sportsmanship. We may be ‘small’ but through our sharing nature and care for each other’s success we are absolutely mighty. And I dare say we shall be forces to be reckoned with.

posted by Rindy Loucks at 12:06 AM