I would like to show you something inspiring that the Shoreham club captain wrote about me.
I would like to tell you all a story, a true story (with a few of my own twists and spelling mistakes, which make for a good read) and one in which I am very proud of the main character.
Once upon a time in a small town called Shoreham, a small boy looked outside of his window to dream. Lets call this small boy, Ben.
Ben dreamed a dream that one day he would play rugby for England. However outside his window was a harbour and not a rugby stadium. Like all young teenage boys his dream quickly changed, and he decided to give rowing a go, as conveniently it was a 30 second walk to the boat house from his house. (I'm sure those with teenage boys understand) However despite the quick commute it has been known to many of us his inability to make it to training on time!!!
Ben loved Rowing, the ergos, being on the water.....the GIRLS!!! He progressed quickly, and as he mastered his sculling technique it was obvious he had some talent and the ability to do very well. Under the guidance of a small man, who rates himself a modest 11 out of 10 as coach (we will name him Gary for the purpose of the story) Ben set his sights on being the best he could be at Rowing....because he was rubbish with girls!! : )
So this was a few years back now and I'm going to continue the story from September 2010.
After a successful CARA season and winning Shoreham the most league points for the second year Rowing, Ben decided to train his backside off and give himself a chance to attend the Great Britain trials. He would be coached and supported by the small man Gary and a taller man, with a even bigger mouth, named Neal.
In November 2010 Ben attended an early ID trial in Boston, Lincolnshire. Out of 200 scullers, who had to attain a 6.55 rate 24 ergo before they could even show up, Ben finished an impressive 5th. This result on its own at 17 years old (and not being built like Arnie) was not a bad effort at all!
Travelling to one of the most prestigious clubs in the world on his weekends (with thanks to Neal) Ben had the oppotunity to train at Leander Rowing Club. Despite their slightly girlie coloured pink all-in-ones. (which Ben loves) Ben made it into a Leander Junior Quad and subsequently competed at Fours Head in which they finished 17th out of 500 crews.
With the support of Shoreham club members in November, Benny boy waxed his legs to raise money so he could continue going to Leander and then attend the GB training camp in Nantes, France he was invited to.
Into the new year and following a strict training programme, under the supervision of Neal and Gary but also very much down to Bens own discipline, the hard work had only just begun. Hitting PB's and working hard on the water Gary and Ben ventured back to Boston for the GB February trial.
(GB trials is all Boston really has going for it. To set the scene, its alot of flat land and not much else.)
Back to the important bit.....Only 40 athletes make the cut to attend this trail, Ben finished 10th in the single and 5th in the double.
If Ben's story was to finish here it would still be a great story and an achievement that should not go without being celebrated.
See it was at this time (March) that I, as a responsible adult, feared for Ben. Would he be able to stay on the straight and narrow and was he man enough to say no to temptation. I'll get to the point...Ben turned 18. This fine tuned athlete was now to discover beer and other liquid delights (legally). However I didn't need to worry because as he was out celebrating I noticed his facebook updates were all spelt correctly : ) so worry over and Ben got back to training and the story continues.
Ben attended the April spring assessment along with another reduced number of 25 hopefulls to make the Great Britain Squad. 7 were sent home straight after the 1st time trial, but not our Ben. He came 6th and was subsequently invited to Munich to to represent Great Britain at the International Junior Regatta this summer.
Ben has earned a seat and has been invited by Leander to compete in the 'Prince of Wales' senior quad race at Henley Royal Regatta. Which will be a race I am sure he will never forget. Following the forthcoming training camp in Hazewinkle in Belgium, and his performances at forthcoming races Ben will be hoping to gain a GB seat at the World Junior Rowing Championships at Dorney Lake in August 2011 or The Coupe De La Juniors Austria 2011.
Unlike other stories, this story has had a good start, a good middle and a good semi end to it. The story is not fully over just yet.
Ben is not the only coastal rower to make it to Munich. Joe Guppy from Eastbourne/Bexhill is also celebrating a seat. They are great advocats for coastal rowing and have made the transition through dedication, hard work and talent.
On behalf of entire club I'm sure I am right in saying that we are all very proud of you Ben. What you have achieved is fantastic (especially because your not that tall or big!!!!)
On a serious note, I know how hard you have worked and trained to get to where you have and I am sure Ben would agree that without Gary, Neal and Nicky to help you along the way from the very beginning to now you might not have got there in the same way.