O Log - The Kids are Alright

[ 8-Apr-04] 

    Sometimes on Attackpoint you see quotes like this --

    you must run at 30-34 min/10K or 5-6 min/mile and be able to navigate cleanly at the same time. Unfortunately, only two or three athletes in NA are capable but not realizing their potential. And worth none from juniors is working toward these goals. Sad.

    Being a student of semiotics, I know I could fall into a trap of misinterpretation here, so I'll leave the interpretation to the role of the reader and just try to throw out some positive words about our juniors.

    I think the US has some very promising juniors now, (and not just one). I think there are at least two with A final WOC potential (or better) down the road, and I think there is potential this year for improved JWOC results, forgetting 10 years down the line.

    But speculative predictions seem a bit silly, especially when I don't know all that much to start with. But one thing I do know from talking to these kids is that they have "the shine", and they are working hard towards, if not the specific goals mentioned above, goals in the right direction. How do I know -- because I talk to them about their training and racing, and watch them race. I think they are doing or planning to do the things they think they need to do to get to the world level, and I think they work hard at it. I, for one, will be watching as a fan, and I think they'll be successful.

    I raced with a couple kids from the south in the team fundraiser relay. We were about 4 minutes behind a team of all team members, in fourth place, and I lost some 2-3 minutes to Eddie (who was on that team) on our common leg. These kids did really well, and they're not just fast, they know what they are doing. I'll bet it is easier to get good at orienteering in the northeast rather than the south, but these kids are doing what they can, traveling to A meets, 5 hour drives to B meets, Europe. I was trying to do some coaching, and these kids already had much of the knowledge of what I was saying. My sense is that many of our kids do have the heart, will, and talent to get to the next level, but the geography and O infrastructure of the US is a tough natural handicap.

    And there are other kids I'm thinking of whom I ran with at a recent training camp. These kids are fast in the forest and have well-developed rough technique; a little polish into and out of the flag would go a long way.

    I'm optimistic about many of these kids, and think we need to encourage them as much as possible. But from what I've seen, they are already pretty self-motivated and are working very hard.