Friday, July 19, 2013

My Worst Nightmare As A Coach

Ever since I swam for Alan Swanston in the late 90s and he came down with the stomach flu/food poisoning while we were away at a meet, it has been my worst fear as a coach. What if I was away at a meet and was responsible for a bunch of athletes but I was so sick that I couldn't get up to take them to the pool... or drive home that night... even worse, what if I had a roommate that had to watch my sickness unfold? What if I was blamed for ruining someone's major meet? This was a reality that I have been afraid of for a very long time.

The night of the first day of Canadian Senior National Championships I found myself awake most of the night violently ill. I was very worried that other athletes or coaches were going through the same thing that night and that somehow it would have been my fault. My fear of not being able to help my athletes the next day was alleviated by the fact that I was travelling with Alan Swanston (ironically enough, we had discussed his food poisoning incident earlier that day) who could help out my athletes that day - they could get the the pool and be coached by a great coach (actually a good deal for them). 

I spent yesterday morning in bed instead of going to prelims, running through what could have been happening in my head. I was completely out of control of this meet at that moment. Perhaps it was the loss of control that was more my fear than actually getting the flu.

What I learned from this experience was that; it was not the end of world. Yes, I felt like curling up in the fetal position and crying at one point and this video really summed up several moments of my morning, but I gradually felt better and was able to make it to finals that night. My athletes still swam well and nothing catestrophic happened... also, I didn't have a roommate so there was no guilt or embarrassment of directly exposing someone to my sickness.

This experience taught me this about myself:

a.) Yes I can be a big wuss when I get sick, but I can handle it when I have to (reinforced lesson that I learned this winter with my children being sick every week).
b.) I more fear losing control than actually getting sick - something for me to work on.
c.) Getting sick at a meet is not at all on my list of favourite things, but it is no longer amongst my biggest fears.