Tom Shields: Walk Like A Man

by Josh Huger (MrUtopia)

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Created April 3rd, 2011 09:15:56 PM

Modified April 3rd, 2011 09:15:56 PM

Written by The University of California's Tom Shields

Pretty proud of my team, not going to lie.  It is cool to be champs, but like a teammate said it does not really change anything, it is just a good memory.  A really awesome memory but it is just that.

The memories will last forever so don’t get me wrong I am not discounting anything.  Meets like NCAA’s prove that swimming is definitely a team sport; that people can tap into a team energy and move beyond their “expectation”.  I tried to include a video (not that good at blogging yet though sorry) of Gary Hall Sr talking about his experience at the 1976 Olympic Games, a very inspiring and awesome piece.  Listening about a group of young kids come together and form one of the greatest swim meet team performances of all time is crazy.  Names like Jim Montgomery, Bruce Furniss, Gary Hall, Mike Bruner, Peter Rocca, and John Naber.  These guys are all legends of our sport because of their performance on those 6 or 7 days. I get the shivers just thinking about that team.  And to think that those were the days before people could swim after college.

I guess I just wanted to say how important tapping into a team is.  Without it we have nothing.  Recently, as in today, I got challenged; a hero of mine says “existing for something greater than yourself is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things you can ever do. thinking and living for others is the way to be, in and outside of the team”.  If it wasn’t for the people, why do we do what we do? It is just merely going back and forth in the pool, but add all of our families’ love, our team’s commitment, and the swimmer’s own personal sacrifice to both of those, it begins to have purpose.  One of the coolest parts of being at NCAA’s this year was being supported by an enormous amount of our alumni that actually came out to Minnesota to be with us through the experience.  But it didn’t ever feel like they were on the outside looking in.  They were in fact apart of us still, brothers from the same huge family, sorry I am not trying to be melodramatic.  When we won, it was not just the currents and our coaching staff, not just our family, not just our alumni, but the entirety of us all are champions, again.  To be apart of that is awesome, and I feel honored, everyone of us has contributed at our own times, parents all day every day, alumni who went through the process and either succeeded or kept the dream alive, the coaches who are who they are and are the best in the business, and the currents who cut our hearts out for the win, without one of these we would not be champs.  So once again, I feel so honored to be apart of such a great experience.

But now it is over, everyone flew home.  It was just 3 days, and we are no longer current champions, but defending.  A new process and a new experience has already begun.