Wow! And the point is?

So there are times in our lives when we take an action that does not have a clear and measurable outcome.

Even when it appears at the onset a successful endeavor. I had spent the last few months preparing for an event that I thought was going to yield a predictable result. Sometimes things don’t always work out it is what it is.

On to the next chapter!!! So how does one frame such. Simple just move on and don’t look at the what could have been or the what if or why.

Just take it all for what it is.

In the moment in time where everything just feels as if it just crashed down one must remember that some things are just not meant for us to have at all.

We must always be grateful for the closed doors as well as the open ones because this is what truly defines where we need to go in our lives.

This year had been a lesson in closed doors for me. So many places I have gone to try and find the right path did not seem to actually be where I was supposed to be going.

One must sometimes realize that the path that seems like it is right is not always where we are supposed to go. Should we question in those times or should we just say ok.

This year three events occurred in my life that were pretty shocking because these were things that I was positive were sure bets.

The thing about all of the things was that they diverted my attention from the thing that I was focused on.

I think when we are unsure of ourselves in our commitments it is easy to say ok let me back up and try another path.

Every auxiliary trial for a different path that appeared more productive than the one I was on proved to be a closed door.

Such as life one must accept all of it not just the part that we like. The hard times are the best parts because it is what teaches us the most about ourselves.


Making space


Yesterday, I put on my lady business suit and black shoes and I went for a proper job interview. This week has been a flurry of activity. It was a bit of a shock because out of self preservation I began submitting my resume everywhere. When I returned home from my competive season this year I was broke. I careened in to the house literally on two wheels. It had been a long adventure. I had been virtually living in Europe training in my race boat for the last many seasons.

I must state that the process of doing this taught me many things. As a person coming from the US one knows that they are going to be on their own making the effort. There were many times this year that I knew that my path had been divinely marked simply because my resources were so limited that survival was a blessing. Then there was the element that I had come for the competition. Competing at a world championship with inadequate resource is a bit of an experience that one does not wish to repeat. It is something that requires a bit of processing. I had been using the susistanance amount the VA granted me for getting injured doing my job to try and fulfill a lifelong dream. It was a way to get some closure I guess for the things I had been through in my life.

During my process in an attempt to do something great I lost sight of many things and then nothing made sense. All I was able to do was survive and train. I had limited food. Paying coaches,water time etc  even with the reduced cost and many negeotions made still left me in the hole financially every month. I had done all I could and that was it.

I made it out of the Catalan region of Spain which was quite beautiful on a bike I had acquired from a friend. My gear sits now in her storage shed.

On the ride out of Sort I saw the most beautiful scenery. With my small backpack filled with survival camping gear and a bit of food I began to ride out in the direction of Rota,Spain.

Sometimes, one just must think for a bit. Had I really proved anything? In the worlds eyes a champion must emerge that wins in order to justify such great effort and expense. I had seen reality and I knew that for the American athlete it took more than luck as it had in the past to compete at the level expected. The resources existed for no one and wouldn’t. That was the bottom line. It did not matter who ran the sport organization.

I wondered if this design was faulty as everyone assumed. I then began to contemplate my entire experience. I realized that America was designed to be diffrent for good reason. An athlete from the US I sent supposed to be an ambassador. The experience had indeed taught me this. I had learned how to negeoitate with people of other nations. I had made friends and built relationships. I had to just to have what I needed to race at all. America was not going to just decide to at the eleventh hour change it’s status quo and support the soldier because it was right.

I had done all I could to try and make the vets sport stipend programs function in a fashion that would make this possible. I received much resistance on this and it had not yet occoured.

It was not until I got home and looked on the wall in the room in my fathers home that I recalled a hard learned lesson from the past.

The photo featured was of an award I was given when I finished my training as a US Army parachutist. I had received the William Red king award for excellence. Not many people got this award. It meant I had done an outstanding job. I had gotten my parachutist badge pinned on by a general.

I also recall the day a captain asked me to remove the badge from my uniform. She did this because this was the only way she could think of to explain to me that after I got injured the Army would no longer permit me to jump. This was a very painful and sad day for me because I had worked quite hard and had hoped that maybe I would have the chance to have a carrear in the Army.

Our worst days never make sense to us until later. Between the Paratroopers Creed and the letter that the Army included in my personnel file stateing that I had recieved the award was my bib from worlds and the tassel I hung around my graduation robe from my master’s degree program.

This was hanging on the hook where a plaque had been. The plaque was the plaque that I had been handed by the company commander when the award was given. I gave this to the captain who asked me to remove my parachutist badge. It was sort of my way of trying to put it all behind me I guess.

The thing about this was yesterday this visual provided me with a lesson that allowed me to gain perspective on my present life situation. Because I had been able to let my carrear as a soldier go space was made for something else.

In the time that had passed since I let that life experience go I had traveled a great journey. My bib from the 2014 worlds and my tassel from my graduation robe were symbols of this journey.

Yesterday, was the day I saw reality. Sometimes the fairytale story of the champion gold meadle winner is one that can be told. Other times a diffrent story is one that one tells.

Today I got to experience another chapter as I walked into the office and interviewed for a professional job. This was truly real proof that my concept of transition through sport could actually function.

I had made it home. I was able to use a skill set I had been trained in to get a job. I had refined myself being an athlete to a level where I now had the capability from going from field duty soldier to a professional woman in the world.

This was it. So success does not always look like the model one desires, perfection may only be something that is made up to sell sporting goods. I knew that life was filled with imperfections that were far more valuable to me than the times things had been ideal.

the Perfect loser? Own The suck and be beautiful!


I decided to write this blog today in response to all of my friends who struggle with what to do when the less than desirable result occours. People react in diffrent ways. For a number of years I have struggled myself. How does one let the world know they did not emerge victorious as intended? Should one display stoicism and not say a word? No post no nothing just slither away to bask in sorrow? I’ve done this. However, the outcome of this is no good because then no one knows I raced at all. That is bad for business.

Concept 2 the therapy post. “I did not have the result I wanted etc etc etc but I’ll come back next year” My friends all respond. You’re great we love you etc and all I say better. Wtf I call that the sad sac approach. I did that for a bit and I got depressed reading how pitiful I was. It was as if I had a disease and was going to expire.

Finally this year I came up with a new method. Own the suck and fake it till ya make it and if ya don’t smile anyway and just enjoy the amazing experience. When I started doing this I just posted the part of the race that was good that I was proud of and made my statement superb day racing I love whitewater and left at at that. I finding the one photo of the moment in time where I look like I know what I am doing and post it. I call this my “sham the sauce method”. The amazing thing that happened when I started doing this was I actually became more resilient,. I wa then able to remain engauged in the world and in the event and in those moments I was able to keep learning.

In the time it took for me to take all the effort to save Face on Facebook for all my followers I was missing brilliance. See the way racing works is the good people go last. Those are the people that demonstrate the perfection that I was not capable of during my run. While I am making my bs post I miss the good people that did things that I failed to do. Then when I take my second run I am ready to be better. No drama just go boat. Nothing is perfect or ideal in whitewater. This is the thing I have always loved about the sport is the unexpected element of the whole thing. Sometimes if one just rides it out things turn out ok. Sometimes they don’t.

Once I learned to apprieacate the beautiful nature of the sport my own feeling of inadequacy vanished. Who cares about what the rest of the world thinks anyway? I posted this photo because five minutes after this moment in time where I look beautiful and had a marvelous interview with Noria Newman the best female kayaker on the planet I swam getting out of my boat.

Yes, what a shocker. This was captured on film and the world saw it. How does one recover from such??.. Who cares! My boat was fine and at least I made the video.


Chio peeps hope the world is having a fabulous day and I have enlightened people about how to own the suck and still be beautiful.

Thank you for your service! (A poem)

Thank you,for your service! We know you stood up to do what was right!

Thank you for your service it does not matter that you were willing to stand up and fight!

Thank you for your service America has nothing at all for you,

Thank you for your service the agency designed to assist you will continue to say screw you!

Thank you for your service on this fine day !

Thank you for your service now shut up and go away!

Thank you for your service we do not care at all!

Thank you for your service now in the gutter you must now fall!

We are the agency called the VA to help you with your transition plan.

We are the agency that decides to do nothing for you who agreed to defend this land!

We are the agency that will Time after time decide not to help you!

We are the VA agency and we would rather count up our disparaging statistics than even try to follow through.

The fight

Good afternoon

Thank you for your efforts to assist Tracy Hines.  We understand your concern and wish to help.

To clarify the situation, 38 United States Code 322(d) authorizes the eligibility criteria for the Monthly Assistance Program for Disabled Veterans Training in Paralympic [and Olympic} Sports (VMAA) program.  Since its creation, the only modifications in eligibility were formally codified in Public Law 113-59, Sec. 4, and P.L. 114-223, Sec. 249. There is no distinction between sports or gender under the law and actually U.S. women Veteran athletes often have proportionately had a higher participation and success rate under the VMAA program than their male counterparts, such as demonstrated by their representation at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.   All disabled Veterans who have received the VMAA allowance met the criteria established by law.  All disabled Veterans who have been certified by the authorized National Governing Bodies as meeting the criteria in both Olympic Kayaking and Paralympic Paracanoe have received the VMAA allowance.  Paying the VMAA allowance to anyone not certified as meeting the legal requirements would be a violation of federal law.

Please let us know if you have any questions.  Thank you again.


Michael F. Welch

Paralympic Program Specialist

Office of National Veterans Sports

Programs and Special Events (10P4RN)

Department of Veterans Affairs

Ph: (202) 632-7136

Cell: (202) 725-6423




Dear ladies and gentlemen,

I am writing to you in order to question te situation some american athletes are in.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to meet Tracy, who was representing the United States of America in the C1 women’s category in C1 slalom.

She is an incredible person, able to brighten someone’s day just with her smile. Imagine how shocked I was when I learned what situation she was in.

She had no funding, she was not supported by any coach, she had to sleep in the lockers or in her boat bag and some days she couldn’t even afford food.

Mind you, she was training everyday to represent her country the best way possible.

Being an athlete myself ), I know the immense challenges that an athlete faces at an event of this level. How is someone going to do that without proper accomodation or nutrition?

To be honest, I was very shocked learning about the conditions she had to deal with. After all, Tracy is representing the United States of America, not just some third world country. How come that the USA can’t support their athletes racing on international level? I was even more shocked learning that her male counterpart did indeed get supported. How come a male athlete gets support while his female counterpart doesn’t get any? I’m not sure whether this is the best policy in terms of gender equality. It might neither shed the best light onto the USA. Other federations inlcuding Germany have made the same mistake, but that’s not necessarily a justification. Women’s canoe is worth just as much as men’s sports. It fills me with rage to see my canoe sisters to be disrespected and discriminated in this manner. I have raced the Green race in an open canoe and I am racing the Adidas Sickline Extreme kayak worlds in a canoe, come tell me anything that women’s canoe can’t do! We are not less than our male brothers.

Apart from the fact that she is representing her country on an international level, Tracy has already served her country before. She is a veteran and thus eligible for VA adaptive sports stipendium for veteran athletes competing in Olympic discipline sports . When asking her about it, she told me she had applied, but over and over, was denied funds that had been created specifically for people in her situation. Her being a veteran, she has definitely earned getting some of that back that she gave for her country.

With this letter, I would like to encourage you to rethink the situation of american canoe slalom in general. Especially the support of women in the sport. At the same time, please also consider the situation of veterans in sports who have given everything for their country.

Failure with Grace

Last year I got a chance to connect via social media with many people from the African Continent.

Many of these people I connected with needed help of some kind.

I would do what I could to make helpful suggestions for fund raising. I had gotten my Master’s degree in Organizational management with an emphasis on non profit management. I figured I could offer some help with advisement at least.

I researched and wrote grants, I looked over plans for poultry projects designed to sustain the orphanages I even made an effort to race in a kayak event that had a cash purse.

I did not win the race. I was saddened by this. During the course of the year my financial state declined. I was broke.

My friends from Africa continued to contact me for help. I would do what I could to help with plans to better the situation for the children in rural regions.

Many of the plans I had were not always successful and I was very frustrated. I was even more frustrated with my own life.

I expressed this to one of my friends from Africa that had been working on a project with and he provided me a hopeful message from Biblical text.

At that moment when I was in the deepest place of sadness the people that had been asking me for assistance actually provided me with help and spiritual counseling.

This was a moment in time where my ego had been leveled to the place of understanding.

The people I had been communicating with for over a year understood what it meant to be without and have to struggle. This had been the thing that had strengthened their faith.

Perhaps this was the purpose of this part of my life journey.

The measure of success that I had set to achieve did not come no matter what I did. No matter what reason I had to win the race it did not occur.

I had begun to realize that victory was not something that could be guaranteed in every situation. Grace however was something that clearly was possible.

I am grateful to my friends from Africa for teaching me this.