Sunday, March 23, 2008

Mixed-up money, mixed-up days

Before launching into the next entry, I wanted to add that I am still working out the kinks in this blog. I am only halfway to figuring out how to post pictures, and allow you guys to leave comments! So the next few entries may not have pictures but I’ll do my best to make them interesting otherwise.

One of the best things about being a professional windsurfer is getting to schedule your own life. However, sometimes not everything that you put on the schedule can be accomplished. Take for example, a training camp with the Polish team in Cadiz, Spain. I was a mouse-click away from buying my airline ticket when I got a reality check. My credit card was maxed out. If I paid it off enough to put my plane ticket on it, my savings account would be empty. After about an hour of thought, and a debate with my manager (in which he laid the smack down on my training plan), I decided that starting another 4 or 5 months in Europe without a credit card or cash in the bank would actually be a really, really bad idea. Unfortunately my desire to train and compete as hard as possible usually overrides my common sense…which sometimes is a great thing, but quite often leaves me broke and stranded thousands of miles from home!

So what do you do in this scenario? I’m lucky enough that because my parents haven’t seen me for more than a couple weeks straight since I turned 18, they are still thrilled whenever I’m home. Therefore, I can spend a portion of this winter here in Annapolis, getting my work done with relatively little drain on the finances. By “work,” I mean fund raising. Writing letters, preparing presentations, making cold calls, and interviewing takes up a lot of time. In addition to this, I’m working with a trainer to get my physical strength and balance up (More on him later), and of course….lots of preparation for my arbitration. All this is part of the game of Olympic-class sailing, but sometimes you go crazy for action. Take my last week as an example.

Although I had just gotten home from Cape Hatteras, my parents’ house was quickly becoming oppressive. Annapolis, while it is my hometown, and is beautiful and a great place to live, can sometimes get too busy for me. The remedy for me was to escape to rural southern Maryland for two days, where I stayed on my friend’s sailboat, ran for hours in the woods, and used the free wireless internet at St. Mary’s College to do all my work. Then it was back to Annapolis for a session with the trainer at 6 a.m., another day of work at home, and the same evening another drive to Virginia for a weekend of shortboarding! All in all, a lot of driving for just a little action. Sometimes, I need the illusion of productivity just to stay sane!

Tentative plans for March are already taking shape. In the beginning of the month, I’ll fly to Palma de Mallorca to train with the Polish youth team for a few weeks before the Princess Sofia Trophy. My fund raising efforts are starting to bear fruit and I am extremely grateful to be able to pay off my credit card bill and get started on the next season!

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