26 October, 2016

Victory Vicariously

This past weekend my roommate and I took our friend, Patrick, to the USNWC in Charlotte. Patrick had been on two trips of the Upper Green with me and two trips on the Lower Green with Alec over the summer. He’d also been with us to the Center once before and even managed to get his first combat roll and making it down Sunset on the Wilderness Channel twice before swimming M-Wave.

Patrick on the Upper Green.

It felt to me that Patrick wasn’t paddling confidently early on and after two swims at Entrance Exam he chose to practice his rolls in the upper pool while Alec and I made a few laps on the Wildy and Comp Channels. Eventually we went to check on him and see how his rolls had been, but found him drying off. He did get back in his boat and a small adjustment managed to help him fix his inconsistent roll. It took some convincing, but he eventually agreed to try the Wilderness Channel again. For the third time this year I told him he could get out before M-Wave. For the third time this year I didn’t actually mean it when I said it.

We took our time through the channel, taking breaks in the eddies and prepping Patrick for what lay ahead. By the time we made it down Sunset, Patrick was having fun again. Even as he ran into the meat of M-Wave sideways he managed to keep his head together and get a solid roll attempt in before punching his skirt. Unshaken he talked about how much of a success the day had been and told us he was going to get out. We convinced him to try the Wildy one more time and to just get out after Sunset if he really wanted to… You would think he would have realized at this point he was going to go through M-Wave.

On his final lap Patrick managed to take a decent line on the right side of M-Wave and punched right through. From the eddy river right I shouted words of encouragement such as, “You’re good!” and “You got this!” when he found himself stuck on top of a plastic bollard. But he managed to make through M-Wave, Sunset, and Biscuits and Gravy upright. It was awesome watching him finally make it through the Wilderness Channel which I knew he really wanted to do. I was also super stoked to see Patrick push himself forward when he could have easily allowed fear to keep him from trying. Now we just need to look forward. Once he gains more confidence in the Wilderness Channel and his ability to roll there, we will get him to take a closer took at the Competition Channel.
Looking Forward - Big Drop (Class IV)!

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