The South Pacific Games begin on August 25. A mere 23 days from now, a bit over three weeks away.
I will not be going.
Months of training were all for naught. Paddling, swimming, running, weight lifting, Pilates… in the end I was too slow on the va’a. Too slow to make the cut. It is a disappointment, and ever since I missed the time trial I have been in a funk. I don’t rightly know what to do next here. I have been aiming for this goal since last year and now I am a bit adrift. It’s been difficult since the rest of the men’s team dropped out several months ago, leaving me to train for the va’a, a canoe I know very little about. It took almost a month to get my hands on one, get it repaired and into the water so I could train. Valuable time wasted.
I don’t know. I am discouraged. All those months of training and I was no faster on the canoe than someone who only practiced twice before coming down and joining the time trials. That was just humbling, and it made me think I’ve done nothing but waste my time.
On the bright side, I don’t have to come up with three grand to pay for my ticket (go figure that one out) and for the first time in over a year I am sleeping in mornings instead of paddling OC-1’s in the pre-dawn hours.
But I am still adrift, and like the va’a I could not master, rudderless.
Sorry, I’ve been remiss.
On July 13th, one of the great truly great paddlers and watermen of Hawaiian sport passed away. Michael Tongg passed away after a long battle with lung cancer at the age of 63. I was lucky enough to know Mike and he was truly a great ambassador of the sport of outrigger canoeing. His love of life and the water was palpable, as was his desire to introduce and coach new paddlers in this great sport. He was instrumental in the development of paddling in Micronesia and throughout the Pacific. The last time I spoke with Mike was last year at the 2006 Heineken Cup, he paddled with Imua for our sprint races.
His family has created a memorial web site for this great man and his full life. Please take a moment to visit and write in the guestbook.