Today was a big day for our triathlon team. The team has been growing like crazy and Andy the coach came up with this idea to have monthly team meetings so today was our first one. These meetings will be held in order to acknowledge athletes for different reasons like qualifying for the nationals, Alien of the year, 1st, 2nd and 3rd year anniversaries; to talk about up coming races; introduce new members and do a little socializing oh and the raffle (very important part).
I always ask Andy if he needs help with anything and he always says no but today he did ask for some help. So I went to pick the t-shirts he had made for all the team mates that had reached their first year anniversary and then off to pick up the balloons. At some point during these errands I realized the meeting had been changed to 6:30. I thought it was at 7:00 so of course when one is running late the traffic will just suck. After I picked up everything I went home to pick up Steve. We were a little late and there were already tons of people there. There were also balloons there so I was like Andy why did you have me pick up balloons? His response was “well I thought we needed more”. Well there were balloons everywhere. Shortly there after Andy started the meeting.
The meeting started by Andy introducing the coaches. We have Aaron (who was sick and couldn’t make it) Magui, Alessandra, Eliana and Frank. They spoke a little about themselves. At this point Andy called up about 10 people. I do not want to name them because I don’t want to leave anyone out. These are the team mates that qualified for nationals. There are certain races throughout the year that if you place you will qualify for the nationals which will be held in Milwaukee later this year. Awesome work.
Andy then introduced 2 athletes that were raising money. The first person Lucas is doing a full ironman later this year. These races sell out fast and he was not able to get in. They do reserve a certain amount of spaces for people who are fundraising. So Lucas decided to go ahead and do that and he will be raising money for Camillus House. Camilus house is a great local charity that feeds and houses the homeless. It’s a charity that was started by one of my brother’s good friend who also happens to be one of my doctor’s. So I am happy that one of my team mates is supporting this cause. The second team member is raising funds to go to Haiti to be a counselor at Camp Jake, an annual summer camp designed to meet the special needs of handicapped children from the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Another very good project. Andy then talked about the fundraising efforts of the team which to date is just over $70,000.00 for different organizations. He then moved on to our first race this year where we raised money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. This is the second year we do this race and in the 2 years we raised just under $54,000.00. After this talk about how much was raised Andy called me up for a special award to say Thank You for all of my hard work in leading the team in the fundraising effort. Our team was the 3rd top fundraisers this year. I got a nice card and a gift certificate for some spa treatments. So Excited.
Next was the introduction of the new team members. There was quite a few. They all introduced themselves and told us which races they were doing. Then they got the Alien T-shirt.
So much fun to watch them get their shirts. Andy then spoke about how the team had started and how it has grown. He showed us pictures of the very first race the 1st year, 2nd year and this year. It is amazing how much this team grew in 3 years. And this is not everyone.
He then called up a bunch of people who had reached their 1st year anniversary. They all got a special T-shirt.
Then he called a handful of us for the 2nd year anniversary. He showed us what we were getting which is a really cool medal hangers (they were not ready yet). You know we love our medals. We are known to do certain races because of the medal.
Andy then spoke about how this team came to be. It started with a group of 5. He sent an email saying how he only wanted 6 people and no more. We all laughed. He shared some of his emails and then he singled out Karla. She was there from the beginning and has consistently trained for three years. For her 3 year anniversary she gets to take 4 friends to have dinner with the coach. Way to go Karla. There is one other team mate that started back then but had some injuries that caused her to drop out for awhile and that is Silvana. She is back now stronger than ever.
Andy now took a moment to acknowledge Magui and Andre the owners of Trijungle. They are big part of our team. They let us use the store as our hangout, give away good prizes for the raffles and give us a huge discount plus they are always there to help you out. Magui said a few words and then Andy moved on to “Alien of the year”. I must say Andy did a good job of keeping this secret becasue I had no idea he was doing this and he usually tells me everything. The award went to Edith Freni. Edith has worked really hard this past year and has improved so much that she is one of the ones who qualified for nationals by placing at the Nautica race, which is a big race. She is also in one of the toughest age groups. So well done Edith. You deserve it. Edith did say a few words. I think she was in shock but one of the things that she said I believe touched everyone. She said she was happy to be part of this team and this team is the reason she actually likes Miami.
This was the funny part. Andy asked every one to speak about their own highlights. No one said anything. So I pointed out Kristen’s race this past weekend. She was the fastest girl swimmer and 7th overall. This girl can swim. She also placed. Then people started sharing so it got fun. Then came the best part the raffle. Andy went big this year and had tons of stuff. I won some goggles. Its funny because I always win a cap or a bottle. It has become a joke so it was nice to get something else. Best part is that I was able to trade them in for a clear pair which I really needed.
The meeting ended with Sophie giving Andy an award from the team. This was organized by one of the newer and team mates Sandy, who was not able to make it. She had a plaque made with the photo of the team at the Nautica race. It was really nice. So to conclude it was a very fun night.
What I learned today as I looked around the room is that the mix of people that is on our team is what makes us great. We have people on the team who have never run, or people who were afraid of the water, we have short people, tall people, we have people from all over the world, we have mothers, fathers, we have members who competed in sports in college, we have people of all ages and we have all come together because of this crazy sport called a triathlon. Most of us would have never met shoot maybe none of us would have ever met. If you think about it, it is seriously crazy that a little Alien brought us together.