As the end of another year approaches, I have come to the realization that I have experienced a different kind of childhood than most 16 year old’s today.
Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of the life I live and definitely appreciate the opportunities that I have had in my life, but it is not what anyone could consider a typical childhood. When I was little, I lived a “normal” life. I went to school, went to camp in the summers and skiing on weekends in the winter. I have parents and siblings, friends and activities just like everyone else. I was the typical all American kid.
I started to live a different kind of childhood when my parents gave me the opportunity to travel (a lot) to sail throughout the year. Actually, It was in February of 2010 when my life changed and I started to really live a different kind of childhood. My dad took me to Jensen Beach, Florida to sail in a clinic with Gnarly racing in preparation for travelling to a regatta in Lake Garda, Italy just two weeks later. The clinic was run by Olympic Silver Medalist, Zach Railey. Zach told us on the first day of the clinic that if we were asking our parents to pay for sailing at the level that we were, and if we were serious about this sport that we needed to set goals and then work towards them. Zach told us about his days in the Opti and how he decided to dedicate his life to being as good as he could be in the sport of sailing. And he went to the Olympics and won Silver!
I remember at that moment I decided that I wanted to be a champion in my sport. I wanted to be the best of the best. Not just average, not someone who was competitive but I wanted to be the best! I made a decision that night in our hotel room, as I was looking out at the beach that I was willing to do whatever it took to become a champion…an Olympic Champion in my sport. This was not a little decision it would prove to be life changing.
I went to Italy and sailed my hardest. As soon as I got home, I started making changes. I signed up to work with a personal trainer, I made a list of goals for the year, for my career in the Optimist and for how I was going to get to the Olympics…and win. I realized that sailing in Cleveland was limiting to my development, even with the occasional trip to Florida in the winter but wasn’t sure what to do. I knew that I’d have to trade my weekend ski trips in the winter for weekend trips to Florida so I could sail all year round. I knew it was a different king of childhood, but it was one that I wanted and maybe even needed to live.
Since that day, I have been living, breathing and even dreaming my goal. I want to be the best of the best, an Olympic Champion and there is no way that anything is more important to me than that. Today I live in Miami, Florida during the school year so that I can sail 5+ days per week. I train at the US Sailing Team fitness center in Miami and work hard at my schoolwork so that I can have the time to train, sail and learn as much as I can about how to be the best I can be. It is everything I do. It is everything I think about, it is my life.
I don’t play other sports, all of my friends are sailors…and the vast majority are in their late 20’s and 30’s. I don’t have school friends nor do I hang out and go to parties. I know these are all things that normal teens get to do, but I have a dream…a goal and I am willing to be a different kind of teenager to achieve my dreams!
Recently though, I have encountered a couple of things that have thrown me off my track a little. i have realized that to be the best, I have to be brutally honest with myself about everything that I am doing towards my goal. While sailing over the past month or so, Katie and I realized that sailing together was great, we have a lot of synchronicity on the boat, we communicate well and we enjoy sailing together. All that is great, but we realized that together we did not have what it takes to be the best. It is nothing about her or about me, it is simply that together we can not stay in front of the fleet and that’s what we need to be number 1. So we split to allow us to individually seek our personal goals.
At the same time, I found that there was something else that was distracting me from being 100% focused on my goal. It is not related to sailing, and something that I know that no matter what it is important to me. Over the past almost 4 weeks I have been distracted and I have to learn how to manage both in my life so that I can achieve my goal and have what is so important to me in my life at the same time. I am sure there is a way, but I am struggling to find the balance and in the mean time everything is suffering. Its not fair to…well, its not fair to anyone involved. I will find a way to make it work out!
So my life right now is focused on finding a partner that I can sail in the ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta in January (and still do well) and then the rest of the World Cup circuit in Europe, Asia and Ocenia this year. I have to get back on track in school and make sure my grades are all back up to A’s (college is coming soon). I have to keep up with my strength training. I have to focus on my $45k per month fundraising requirement and I have to find time for you. They are all important to my success…and to my happiness.
I have my eye focused on that Gold Medal in Rio2016. I am not going to stop pushing beyond my limits until I achieve exactly that. There is nothing that is going to get in my way of success! I am going to be an Olympic Champion!
If you want to contribute to my campaign (I have to ask), please call me. Any amount is a help to reach my monthly requirement! I can do it $100 at a time. If you know of a company that would see value in backing a focused, dedicated and talented teenager in his path to Olympic glory, they could receive huge benefits from working with me. After all, I am part of the upcoming generation of consumers and our influence over society (as a generation) is going to be tremendous! Again, any help at all gets me closer to my goal each month! My telephone number is 216-210-3598 and you can call 24 x 7.
Thanks for being part of my success and I hope to see you along my path to success! I may be living a different kind of childhood, but I am loving every minute of it! You may never know how important to my success you are, but believe me when I tell you that you give me strength, courage and fortitude to make it all happen!