I am a proud American. However, this has zero do to with the land we love and everything to do with the opportunities before us.
1997: The Cape May County Lifeguard Championships are held annually the first week of July in Wildwood Crest, NJ. Members of every beach patrol in Cape May County are represented, the best of the best. The surf dash is arguably the most exciting competition to watch. It consists of a 4-person relay team, where one member runs into the water (about waist/chest deep), tags a buoy, and sprints out to tag the next teammate waiting on land. Hundreds of spectators lined the roped off shoreline into the water to get as close as they can to the action. The tension was palpable and you could almost see the vibrations of energy from the crowd and athletes. I had qualified to be on the “A” team, the competition team, and I was going leadoff. To me, leadoff was where it’s at. There is no hiding when you go first on a relay team. You either ‘have it’ or you don’t. It’s what I loved about it and ultimately what drew me to triathlon. No excuses. Your work will do the talking.
The race started with a person holding a flag in his hand. He clearly explained the start process. “When the flag goes up, be ready. You’ll begin as soon as I take it down.” There I stood. I was anxious, amped, ready to rock. I crouched and prepared to sprint. The flag went up. In that moment, I knew no matter what occurred I was the right person, at the right moment, in the right time. I knew it and shortly thereafter everyone else knew it too. I had proceeded to give my team, the North Wildwood Beach Patrol, a 25-yard lead which we never relinquished. We had, ‘won counties.'
2021: The flag is up again but I am a member of a different “A” Team now, Team DelMo. No, I am no longer in my early twenties, and I no longer have the same explosion in my step. However, like that moment over 20 years ago, what I lack in youth, I have gained over years and years of battle tested experience in the "events world." We have been through hurricanes, storms, floods, fog, and a pandemic. Our hands never shake, and we never, ever blink. Yet, as we emerge from COVID-19 the stakes are much higher and the pressure to execute (and win) is as strong as ever. Yes, the flag is up, and I already know the outcome.
We have done the work and we will see you at the start line.
Let’s go, DelMo