I remember the first day I walked into the weight room. I recognized some of them, but others were total strangers. It took me time to remember if that one was Dusko or Dusan. What the hell was a hole check or a hole set or whatever they call the big guy in the middle. Yet four years later I write with with both immense pride and bitter disappointment. That disappointment of missing the ticket to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio is hugely outweighed by the pride I have or working with such an amazing group of individuals. Although some of the teammate have changed the core of guys are still there. Once guys I casually saw around the gym became people I value having around and getting to know.
I think of the adversity that we as group faced for four years. The tough games, the highs of beating the USA in Calgary my first year on the team, and then just playing the tournament of their lives in Trieste, Italy at the Olympic qualifiers. No, it was not the Disney ending we wanted but we showed he world that we were there to play. Medals cannot represent the amount of improvement and growth we had as a team since I joined the team in 2012 and how far we have come as a group.
Our time together goes far beyond the walls of the weight room. One of the hardest moments of my family’s life the team was there. My daughter still looks at the big giant bear that she woke up to in intensive care and tells me that, “that was daddy’s water polo guys who brought me that.” That goes beyond being an athlete and proves the character that these guys have. Everyone was in like family.
I watched for four years as these men, and some boys, juggled being students, national team players and trying to be regular guys. And the long hours in the pool, the struggles of getting their work done or exams covered before a long training camp. The adversity and struggles were real, yet they all came out better for it.
Although I write this weighted down heavy with emotion, I could never be more proud of this team for their hard work, dedication and heart. The made a lot of people very proud. I am honoured to have been part of this crazy adventure with this team so far. Thank you Water Polo Canada for an amazing 4 years.