I hope rafting never becomes an Olympic sport.

Zambezi-CWWC-Champions-2001

the Australian 2001 Camel world champion team.

Apparently the Australian Olympic swimming team didn’t do as well as expected. They won 3 gold medals which isn’t good when the team boasted that they would pick up at least 10 and maybe even more than that. But that’s okay; I mean, it only cost $38 million to send the team there which works out at just over a measly $12 million per gold medal. That’s value for money, right?

In Australia we have a Federal Minister for Sport. Her name is Sussan Ley. Actually she seems like a good sort, but there is no escaping the fact that her job title would look comfortable in a 1962 meeting of the Soviet politburo. Having a minister for sport makes about as much sense as having a minister for women. Why don’t we appoint a minister for small furry animals as well and be done with it? Spending this amount of money on sport when we have an enormous Federal budget deficit is obscene.

One of Australia’s premier medal hopes got in the pool yesterday and promptly proceeded to fuck up her race in spectacular fashion. When she emerged from the pool with tears in her eyes, Cate Campbell managed to console herself with these words:

I did really badly but I know you all still love me and that’s what really counts.

Yeah, no. What really counts when you spend that much taxpayer money is getting the results you were supposed to achieve. This is going to sound shocking to you all, terribly shocking indeed, but I don’t actually love Cate Campbell. I know that this delicate little flower might end it all on hearing these words but … suck it up, princess.

A real athlete would be very upset at winning silver, because as we all know, silver is just the first loser. But this clown manages to feel okay when she arrives sixth. The real villains in the piece are the army of hangers-on, managers, and the “leadership team” who are behind the scenes. For a professional athlete to utter those words after that result you just know there is some high level professional psychobabble being whispered in her ear.

John Bertrand is the president of the Swimming team. Why he is I have no idea as he used to be a sailor. Perhaps his boat sank a lot and he got good at swimming. Who knows? But he wants to assure us all that there are lots of warm fuzzies for everyone concerned:

We have come a long way. Yes, we are proud and I think the nation is proud of these young men and women.

Um, no – no, we’re not.

We will put together a world-class review to capture these lessons. Experience at the very top does not come easy. It is a rare and unique opportunity.

How can we trust these idiots to put together a “world-class review”, (whatever the hell that is), when they can’t even put together a world class team?

Wayne Lomas, the high performance manager, (you think he’d have the grace to keep his head down now considering his title), had this to say:

In doing this, we have heard and read a lot about team culture. Our team promotes and facilitates a values-driven, learning-oriented, process-focused culture.

What this means is that our values drive who we are and how we treat ourselves, our teammates, our sport and our country.

Dear Gold almighty; how about promoting a winning culture? Would that be too much to ask?

So how does this translate in the team and the pool? The key is our language. We have the courage to tackle difficult conversations in a timely and professional manner. If there is an issue, it’s the behaviour or the action that we confront, not the person. By removing the action/behaviour from the person, we retain value and respect for our teammate, but bring to their attention, and gain understanding on what it is that any member of the team wants to address.

See that? It’s the behavior of the action that they confront, not the person. I wonder how this would actually be achieved. Does someone take this mythical behavior creature outside and give it a good talking to? This is why Cate Campbell can climb out of the pool and utter such banalities. Because professional sport in Australia has been co-opted by self-serving charlatans on half million dollar salaries. And us taxpayers have the privilege of paying for it. Shut it down – fire them all.

I’m getting to the rafting part. The attached photo is of the 2001 Aussie world rafting champion team. I know all the guys who were in that team as I worked with all of them at one point or another. If I had to surmise how the team was formed I would guess that they had a few beers after a day on the river and thought that they’d give it a crack. Then they trained in their time off, went to the qualifying heats, and won it. Then they hopped on a plane, went to the Zambezi river, and won it there too. There would have been a total absence of “removing the action from the person”. They would not have been interested in “promoting a values-driven, learning-oriented, process-focused culture”.

They were focused on winning and they were self-motivated. They also did it off their own back. They paid their own way there and would have lost income from the time spent away from work.

So please God, hear my prayer. Never make rafting an Olympic sport. Because then they will receive massive amounts of government funding and “professional sports administrators and psychologists” will come in and start running leadership awareness courses and the like. And instead of a bunch of talented mates getting a team together you will have to go through a government selection process as they will be the new gatekeepers of the sport. And the inevitable result will be a whole lot of nothing while maintaining the illusion that “the nation is incredibly proud of them for coming second last”.

Because we’re not proud. We think that you suck.

5 thoughts on “I hope rafting never becomes an Olympic sport.

  1. Sjonnar

    This is what happens when government gets involved in anything; costs go way up, quality goes way down, and inevitably someone spews some stupid buzzword bingo bullshit like “values-driven, learning-oriented, process-focused culture.”

    Now, I think the Olympics is a gigantic waste of money anyway, and were I a head of state, my nation would not participate unless private investors raised and funded a team themselves.

    Also, “Dear Gold almighty” – Intentional pun, or Freudian slip?

    Like

  2. Fredi

    Interesting points there Adam… They won’t let us join anyway …. The International Canoe Fed. “controls ” Rafting …: a bit like Moto GP controlling V8 Super car …. They have placed more hurdles in our way than the steeple chase…. We not in vogue !

    An the Olympic machine is a beast …. Job s for the in crowd as you have mentioned … The less I say the better !

    Like

  3. Pingback: The absurd idea of a “leadership team”. – Adam Piggott

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