>Traveling with the Team

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For some, traveling can be a chore.  Do laundry, sort through items to take and decide if it is too much or too little.  Yet, each of the athletes and many coaches that are at this level do it every week, seemingly effortless.  When the team participates at large events, I travel with them as a jack-of-all-trades.  My role intertwines between logistical & administrative support, promotion and social networking.  So while I may not have all of the sailing gear, my bags are filled with branding materials, cameras, computers and any other device that may come in handy to help promote the team.
The effort and commitment is overwhelming to witness and be around.  The thrill to be a part of US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and the effort put forth by everyone, on and off the water is palpable.  The end game is the same – to win medals.  While we promote many of the activities and results of our athletes, you may not understand some of the things we take for granted. 
It really is amazing to see what it takes to get from one event to the next.  Full time campaigns involve a near 12-month calendar of regatta travel.  Many non-professional sailors, like me, enjoy the 2-3 regattas we travel to every year.  As it approaches we feel as if it’s a goal, a carrot, or even a vacation.  The steps are pretty basic.  You get to prep your equipment, pack, travel, setup, race, and then pack up and go home.  Now, imagine doing this every week, for sometimes 6 weeks straight in a foreign country, before finally returning home. 
Many of us are prepping for the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma, Majorca, Spain.  This is the first European stop in ISAF’s Sailing World Cup.  While I am starting my check list for items to take and not to take, it made me stop and think: “If I had to do this every week, I don’t know how I could possibly sail.”  So when you see our sailors continue to perform at the highest levels in 2011, think about what they are overcoming to achieve their goals. 
For me, I am looking forward to seeing our athletes in Spain and helping to send the message of their success back “Home.”  

-by Dave Johnson

Olympic Programs Coordinator Dave Johnson is USSTAG’s voice behind the camera when he’s not home doing laundry. Follow USSTAG in Palma and beyond by joining our fans on Facebook.

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