Ah heck, this is taking some writing. I’ve been trying to work out how to word this post all week. I feel that the way I word this post could give totally the wrong impression about me and here I am a week after the event still shell shocked and still unable to think of what words would best describe the occasion. Obviously reasons why I drive a lorry for a living and don’t write novels!!
So now to the biggie, the North Devon Tri Presentation Night last weekend!
So we all meet up and have a drink, then it’s into the main room for the meal (where I first see the parents). There are raffle tickets being sold for spot prizes and voting slips going around for the annual awards. All goes well through the meal and we’re soon off to a back room for the presentations. I pick up the Best Male Triathlete Award which was sweet. My parents had written a card out which was read out to everybody thanking them for all the support they'd given my before, during and after Ironman Florida, they had read the clubs forum and been touched by some of the things written when I qualified for Kona. Then my buddy Tim goes up front and produces a piece of paper from his pocket. He starts rambling on about my race at Ironman Florida, how half the club had stayed up through the night watching and how I’d finally managed to qualify for Ironman Hawaii. I’m now getting worried as I do when I’ve no idea what’s going on. I look round and my parents are both getting emotional at Tim’s speech while Shelly is standing open mouthed obviously knowing no more than I did...........
This is where I take a pause for some explanation –
My Tri Club are amazing and for the last 2 years many of them have been sat in front of their computers until late in the night watching and waiting for me to finish Ironman Florida (my Usain Bolt pose on the finishing line was my little way of thanking them). When we realised that I’d qualified for Kona one of the many thoughts that went through my head was “How the hell are we going to afford that?”. I mentioned on our Club Forum that it was a factor and the next thing I knew people were pledging to donate cash to get me there. The whole idea of taking cash out of my friend’s pockets to enable us to have what is basically a holiday made me feel a little uncomfortable. While it just goes to show what brilliant friends we have, I still felt very unsure. I firmly believe that if you can’t afford to finance something yourself then you really shouldn’t do it, sure if some company wants to throw me a few quid then why not, they can probably use it as a tax break anyway.....but taking money from my friends - no. I sat down with Shelly and we had a chat about the financial implications before signing on the dotted line and committing to the big race next October. I put my thoughts across on the forum, thanked everybody for their hugely over generous offers and left it all for the dust to settle and for people to forget all about it.
So back to the party/presentation night and back to Tim, who was now finishing his speech and reaching down into a bag to pick up what looked like a rolled up poster. It was only when he and our Chairman James unrolled the ‘poster’ that I realised it was actually a big cheque from North Devon Tri to me for £750/$1200. Behind my back the sneaky things had been having a whip round and I was totally gobsmacked. There were no words, there was no speech. It’s very rare I’ve not got something to say or a comment to make but I was simply stunned.
It’s not just the fact they collected but the amount that was collected (apparently it’s even more now). The club is very small and I’m good at Maths, some people have put bigger sums of money into that pot than I could possibly have imagined and I’m massively grateful for every single penny. To this day I haven’t actually thanked them properly, I’m a brash sarcastic character and being all meek and mild isn’t something people see from me. I was speechless on the night and in truth I’m still speechless now, hence the reason it’s taken me a week to work out how to write about it.
Anyway, it’s written now. I’m amazed, shocked, stunned, surprised and many, many other words. My Tri Club are amazing and I love them all. This is a one off though, I can only be nice to people a couple of times a year or I’ll turn into a frog. Next time I see any of them I’ll be giving them a mouthful of abuse, just like normal. Happy Days.
Best bit of the night? I’ve got Tim’s speech (and I’m keeping it!!)
Thank you North Devon Tri. Thank you soooo much.