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11/4 2009

Movember Update

Three day's growth.

Three day's growth.

Against Rachel’s wishes and my better judgement I have decided to grow a moustache for the month of November, er, uh, I mean Movember.  I will provide a link here to the crazy fools who started this to raise awareness about prostate cancer – which, by the way, both my paternal and maternal grandfathers have had.

Track my progress on the site.  I know one of you (Kelly) wants nightly updates – but let’s preserve my dignity to some degree.  No one likes watching paint dry.

Dave

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11/2 2009

Torch Experience (runner 007)

no images were found

I thought that I knew what I was in for. I figured it would be impossible to surprise me – surely by now, with 3 Olympics under my belt, I’d experienced it all. Boy, was I wrong. The blue bridge, the Johnson Street Bridge, will forever be a part of my Olympic experience now – unique in every way.

When Rob Reed (runner 006) came up to me, carrying the Olympic flame, I could feel my excitement building. Then the RCMP officer turned my torch on. Propane flowing, Rob passed the flame from his torch to mine. Awkwardly, each carrying a flaming torch, we embraced. Then I turned, and I was on my own. I was holding the flame. For 300 metres I was the chosen ambassador, holding a symbol of hope and inspiration. As I slowly crossed the bridge, waving to friends and strangers alike, the significance of the flame, of the games-to-come was reaffirmed in my head. All the choices I’d made over my life to pursue Olympic excellence amounted to more than just financial debt and an incredibly patient family. In that moment of reverence I saw how my unique role plugs into the bigger picture. What I do and how I act matters, and it makes a difference. Thousands of Olympic athletes, me included, and our stories really do have the potential to inspire and engage an up-and-coming generation; we can help them realize that they can accomplish anything they want.

It all hit me:

The generation my children belong to has a shorter life-expectancy than my own. This is a first – and it’s disturbing. Processed foods, video games and the societal fear of letting children venture outdoors alone have all helped to create a prison for our kids. Promoting a sedentary life, in which the TV babysits and in part educates our children’s choices. How do we break free of this trap? I looked up at that flame – burning bright – and saw a symbol that could ignite the imagination of that generation – a symbol that could get kids off the couch and onto the field of play.

This flame, for the few steps I held, is calling the best athletes from around the globe to British Columbia. Their stories of struggle, dedication and perseverance will be showcased for everyone to see. Their dreams will dangle in the balance, some will be realized, while most will be delayed by 4 years (and in some cases forever).

Then it all came home – I came to the end of the bridge deck and saw my 5-year-old cheering me on. A wave of emotion hit me like a ton of bricks and I started to tear up. If there is one thing I have taught my daughter through the actions I’ve taken in my life it is not to be afraid to dream a wild and crazy dream, and to pursue that dream to the ends of the earth with an unwavering self belief – even if it takes 22 years. My example has been through sport – but she knows her dream can be anything she wants.

I was disappointed to hear that 10 torch bearers could not run their 300 metres in Victoria on day 1 of the relay; not because I don’t support the right to protest, but because of the lost opportunity for those 10 people to inspire the people in their lives.

The Olympics are coming to BC, like it or not. We all have a choice now. Let’s use the opportunities the games offer to enrich our society and to create lasting legacies for future generations. The Olympics provide a stage in which, creatively and constructively, almost any cause can be furthered. But above all else, let’s reverse the state in which we find our young people.

If you object, please do so respectfully: don’t ruin someone else’s dream.

Dave

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10/31 2009

Torch Run

Torch Relay

Yesterday was the first day of the torch relay, but today was Halloween.  I can’t see straight right now.  I will write a full account of my experience in the morning. Needless to say, it was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Dave

3 comments
10/15 2009

Climate Action? What’s the Rush?

Expanding Lake

Expanding Lake

(Preamble) Sooner or later I will mainly blog about rowing.  It’ll be about how many KM we did, a particularly hard workout, maybe even gripe about a teammate or a coach.  All of you out there who are not rowers: cut off the RSS feed before I get to that point.  But for now I will blog about what I want to!

(Today’s blog) Today is Blog Action Day on Climate Change.  Well, what’s the rush about climate change?  Sure the clock is tck-ing, Tcktcktck, I hear it too.  But I also hear individual stories of carbon reduction heroics all the time, and have you ever seen any good come from just one person?  Isn’t it the big corporate polluters that need to change to really make a difference?  Can’t I keep buying my veggies from Mexico and my fruit from California?  Hell, ‘we’ even seem to know what our collective carbon upper limit is – 350 parts per million – or else we’ll face certain doom.  You know, not getting-a-needle doom either; the type of doom found in the bible or RR Tolkien.

I get the sense that what we’re doing is heading out for a night of drinking with a 24 pack of beer knowing that we’ll die, no questions asked, of blood-alcohol poisoning after only 12.  But we drink them all anyway.  Only we won’t be able to drive the porcelain bus to recover – unless NASA crashes a few more rockets into the moon and finds serious proof of H2O in a hurry.

Nah.  Forget all this talk about climate change.  Life is good right now.  I can drive to the corner store, to the kid’s school, hell, I can even use the car to rock my newborn to sleep at night.  It’ll be his problem to face by the time things really heat up.  Besides, I remember when the BC chapter of the Sierra Club came out with its map of my hometown under the influence.  They called it “Is Victoria Going Under?“.  If I read that map correctly, the melting of the polar caps will actually help my Olympic training.  See, right now Elk Lake is too small for all the guys who want to row for Canada.  If we melted the caps enough then Elk Lake could actually become partially salt water and it’d be large enough to fit us all.  The fued between rowers, power boats and fishermen would finally come to an end.  The water ski boats could go use the part of the lake that is currently called the Blenkinsop Valley, while the fishermen could move over to what’s being used by Mattick’s Farm and the golf course (temporarily).  You never know, they might even be happier catching fish from the ocean rather than ones that are stocked.

With less than ten minutes to go in Blog Action Day on Climate Change, here is my message to all of us: get off your butt and do something.  There’s plenty out there to pick from.  Mine’s www.projectbluesky.ca, what’s yours?

Dave

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10/13 2009

Ryan Leech’s Challenge

Do you may remember when Ryan ‘jumped over’ me on his bike?  Correction, jumped over both me and Stephanie Dixon?  At once?  Well, he just threw out a challenge to me.  He thinks that he and his network can collect more carbon reductions on www.projectbluesky.ca than me and mine.

I was worried to start with, and to tell you the truth still am a little.  But so far, my group (Blue Sky, Clear Water) on the project site has twice the number of members that Ryan’s group does, and I heard from the project’s webmaster that at the end of business hours on Day 1 of the challenge we were in the lead.

My worry is that he has a huge school age following, and if he can activate those kids I’m in a lot of trouble.  Have you seen what he can do on his bike?  CRAZY stuff.  Check it out on my blog a few months ago. 

So, the group is there.  If you sign-up on the group be sure to enter your group name at the bottom of the widget under where you enter your email.  We have 15 members in the group on Day 1, but I want to see if we can break 100 members in the group by the end of the week.  If each of the 100 members logs 10 Kms then we quickly add it up.

So please help me beat Ryan.  It’s my ego on the line!

Dave

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10/8 2009

Social Media and the Olympics

Project Blue Sky

Project Blue Sky

I’ve been following Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun’s Olympic Reporter: “Inside the Olympics“.  On October 4th Jeff wrote about a critical point the IOC is at in its global marketing, and the fact that they have to get younger people interested in the Olympics now or face grave consequences.  You can read Jeff’s full article called “IOC told to get hip with the digital revolution” by following this link.  It seems to me that the work folks have been doing on Project Blue Sky starts to fill the gap that Jeff wrote about and that Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP Group warned about. 

Here are my comments to Jeff: 

Jeff:

Really enjoying your Olympic coverage and cheers for recently pointing a spotlight on the relative dearth of Olympic-related social media.

However, I’m happy to point you in the direction of one very cool SoMe initiative already living and breathing on the “Olympic stage”, Project Blue Sky: www.projectbluesky.ca.

Project Blue Sky brings together Canadian athletes and some of BC’s bleeding-edge digital media students in a public engagement campaign to encourage individuals to reduce their personal carbon footprint. Project Blue Sky combines the reach and community of social networking with the energy and motivating influence of prominent Olympic, Paralympic and high-performance athletes to get people thinking about their carbon use. And it lives inside the Olympic umbrella and supports other Olympic-associated carbon-reduction efforts.

This is athlete led. The generation connected through SoMe is also the generation using it to encourage and promote carbon reduction efforts associated to the 2010 Games.

So – to all you in my little network, here is a call to action!  If you are looking for a tangible way to do something for the environment, here it is.  Jump on board and start thinking and acting about your personal carbon footprint.  Head to the project site and start logging and blogging.  Log your carbon reduction efforts and blog about them to encourage others.  The high performance athletes out there – here’s a chance to leverage your ‘star power’ for good – sign up as a featured athlete and spread the word to the masses.

On our own we can’t make much of a difference, but added up we can move mountains.

Dave    

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10/5 2009

2009 Athletes CAN Forum (Richmond)

AthletesCAN

AthletesCAN

I spent the morning on Friday at the Athletes CAN Forum in Richmond BC.  If you are an athlete trying to make your respective Canadian National Team you owe it to yourself to find out more about Athletes CAN and what they can do for you to support your dream, both on and off the field of play.

That morning I participated in a panel session with Deidra Dionne and Alexandra Orlando entitled “Life as a High Performance Athlete”.  It’s cool to get to stand in front of different groups of people and tell aspects of my Olympic story; to highlight the major successes and the major pitfalls.  That being said, it’s really hard to do it in front of a room full of fellow athletes whose stories are all just as interesting and complicated.  I’m sure that other athletes in the room thought “I could be telling my story too”.  There are so many roads to achieving a dream. 

Dave

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09/30 2009

1942 War Time Wedding Bells

Grannie and Granddad, May 20, 1942

Grannie and Granddad, May 20, 1942

Rachel and I were over at my 92 year old grandmother’s house the other day and she told us a story that neither of us had ever heard before.  Grannie is a notorious story teller, but is known to retell her favourites.  That is why, in part, this story seemed to special.  But when her eyes started to well up telling the story I felt her love for my Granddad, as if he hadn’t passed away nearly 5 years ago.  So, with a tear in her eye, this is the story she shared:

My grandparents got married in England during the war.  They were married on May 20th, 1942.  Although there were no reported raids on London, that day marked the Japanese raid on Darwin Australia; it was also the day the first African American recruits were permitted to serve in the US Navy.  Bottom line, it was war time.  There was no time or money for white dresses and rich buffets.  Grannie saved her rations for months to buy the dress she wore – a practical dress that could be regularly used.  But traditions, especially those that cost nothing, must have been the hardest to let go of.  Running out of a church with rice flying and the bells tolling is an image we can all picture, especially in England.  Not during the war.  Although Grannie loved the sound of church bells ringing, during the war they only tolled to mark a German bombing raid.  Upon the tolling of the bells a community would execute their blackout procedures; cover their windows and turn out their lights.  Over time the sound of church bells no longer symbolized joy – they instilled fear.

But not for Grannie, and not for her romantic groom.  Granddad surprised her one night following their wedding; he grabbed Grannie and whisked her into the closet under the stairs.  Her curiosity perked as he proceeded to stuff towels under the door and pillows in any cracks to block out all the light that was slipping in.  Then, in total darkness he lit a single candle, uncovering for the first time the record player he had previously set up under the stairs.  Confident that the neighbours could not hear them, he flicked the switch and an old record entitled “The Church Bells of England” started to slowly pick up speed.

Cuddling under their stairs with only the light from that single candle, my grandparents celebrated their wedding listening to all the church bells of England as loudly as the record player could go.

What a great story.  Thanks Grannie.

Dave

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09/12 2009

New Arrival

MIra with Bowen Mira with Bowen

It is with great excitement that I get to announce the arrival of my son, Bowen Christopher John Calder.

He was born on September 10th, at 11:42 PM, weighing 10 pounds and 11 ounces. I have had little sleep since his arrival – not because he has been awake too much, more because there is just so much to do to stay on top of everything. Being sleep deprived reminds me of when Kip told me once that the President of the United States only gets three hours of sleep each night. Well, if Obama can do it…

Rachel is recovering from the home birth, and little Bowen is a cute little guy. Both are healthy and well. More blog tomorrow about Bowen if time allows.

Dave

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09/3 2009

IRONMAN: The Definition of Success

Scott Frandsen

Scott Frandsen

How do we judge whether a person is successful or not?  It is easiest to place our individual values on others – after all, our values are the constructs of the glasses we view the world through.  Certain people however, elevate themselves above the individual value-based constructs to be judged more globally as either successful or unsuccessful.  Bill Gates, Jean Chretien and Michael Jordon seem to land in the former, while Bernie Madoff, George W. Bush and Ben Johnson fit the latter.  It is important to note, though, that all 6 personalities were considered extremely successful at one point, and can easily argue that they still are.  So that begs the question…how do we judge success?

In order to enter the realm of success, either in the negative or the positive, one has to take a risk.  It is impossible to move mountains if you don’t get out of bed… 

Scott at Cal

Scott at Cal

Scott Frandsen is someone who fits into the globally-accepted successful column.  Scott took up rowing as a second sport to golf late in high school.  As a ‘walk-on’ at university he muscled his way on to the best college rowing team in the States at the time.  He was awarded a scholarship only after he proved himself more useful than the full-ride kids.  Then he went on to win a couple of national championships for the school while completing a BS in Business Administration from the University of California.

Scott winning the Boat-race

Oxford 2003

He went on to finish a Masters of Psychology at Oxford University a few years later.  The letters behind his name are worth a few dollars, mostly paid for through Scott’s grit and talent.  While in England, he also happened to win the most watched, oldest running rowing event in the world, the Oxford/Cambridge “Boat Race”. 

Upon returning to Canada Scott had to prove his valour once again with the national team, and within a year had indirectly knocked me out of a seat in the defending world champion 8+, heading into the Olympics.  His dreams weren’t realized in Athens though, and four years later, kilometre after kilometre of training under his belt, he won an Olympic silver medal in Beijing.  I’m tired just writing about the things he’s accomplished…you’d think he might take a break.  Not Scott!

It’s guys like Scott who continually redefine what success means.  One might think that after a life-long pursuit of excellence in sport, Scott might want to sit back and relax.  You know, maybe get a job in the public service.  Not Scott, no.  Over the last year, between a few injuries and a lot of stress, Scott trained for and competed in triathlons, building up for Ironman CanadaLast weekend Scott raced and finish Ironman Canada.  In rowing we trained for hours on end, week in and week out, month after month for years – for a 6 minute race.  On Sunday, August 30th, for 10 hours, 41 minutes and 16 seconds Scott raced to prove something to himself.  He raced to redefine success one more time.  He raced because life did not end on August 16, 2008 in Beijing China.  Scott looked for the next great thing.  Well done Scott. 

Remember this then, there are two major steps to success: 

1. You MUST take a risk, and
2. You MUST always look for the next challenge.

Food for thought,
Dave

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