Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hour of Power Offers Perspective

November is a tough month on our campus.  Course work is demanding, the intensity of our training is high, and sleep comes at a premium.  But last night our team engaged in an annual exercise that has turned into an integral part of our November training, and an opportunity to take a step back.  The Whitman swimmers were some of thousands of athletes from over 150 teams across the world to take part in the Hour of Power Relay. 
This year was the seventh annual Ted Mullin Hour of Power Relay.  The event was started by the Carleton College swimming program after one of their swimmers, Ted Mullin, passed away after a battle with sarcoma cancer.  The particular type of cancer is most commonly found among young people and is often fatal.  Since the first running of the event as awareness raiser and a research fundraiser, it has raised over $330,000.  During the relay, our team split into 5 relays.  The goal is that every relay stays the within the same 50 for the entire hour, with each athlete sprinting one 50 at a time.  Last year there were a total of 160 College, Club, and High School teams participating in the event--over 8000 athletes in total.
In swimming, as in many sports, it's easy to become lost in the details.  So much time and energy is spent dwelling on things like hand position, turns, breakouts, and, of course, times--that it's easy to lose sight of the privilege of being in a place that offers the opportunity to employ talents every day--in the classroom and in the pool.
In the midst of all the stress and tiredness that defines November, the Hour of Power offers a much needed respite, if only for an hour.