December 14, 2010

Home Sweet Home - by Curt Tomasevicz

This past week was the first of our bobsled competitions in the United States for this season. Since the season started in early November, we have been training and competing in Canada. I know that Canada’s culture isn’t that much different than that of the U.S., but it’s always great to come back home and compete against the world on our home tracks. There are two tracks in the U.S. – one at Lake Placid, New York and one at Park City, Utah. This latter track was the host track for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. My team has made numerous trips down the track, and in the past five years, my team has experienced great success. In fact, two years ago, we won two 4-man races on back-to-back days (one race was a make-up race from a snowed-out race in Germany). So needless to say, my team was looking forward to this segment of the bobsled world cup tour.

There is something to be said for the opportunity to compete at home. Athletes sleep better, eat better, and can focus easier. Maybe it’s the simple fact that we are more acquainted with the television channels. Or possibly, it could be the comfort of having our normal cell phone service again.

On top of that, competing on the Park City track is a great opportunity for our family and friends to be able to attend a race. With only a handful of operating bobsled tracks in the world and only two in the U.S., there aren’t many opportunities for American bobsled fans to attend a race. However, with the Salt Lake City airport only half an hour away and plenty of available ski village housing in Park City, this track offers a great chance to compete in front of familiar faces.

Whatever the reason, a home-track advantage in bobsled is a great thing and with the Christmas break just around the corner, we were looking forward to continuing our successful streak dating back to last February at the 2010 Olympics.

However, as we all know, life doesn’t always go as planned. We finished in 7th place in the 2-man event on Friday and 6th place in the 4-man race on Saturday. In both races, the taste of success was in our mouths as we were in the top three after the first heat in each race. But bobsled is about being consistent over the course of two heats, as we slipped down the ranks in the second heat.

Yes, we may be a little spoiled, but the desire to win is always present. But there are more reasons to compete in sports other than winning. It’s not an easy thing to say. In spite of our disappointing finish, I consider the past weekend a success. The greatest reason was because so many people made the trip to Park City to watch me race. I met new friends and I was able to spend time with some of my closest friends. The race results were quickly forgotten as the important things became evident with the Christmas season coming.

I will always strive to compete at the highest level I can. But it’s great to know people that keep the important things in life in perspective.

Just as important as families are to bobsled competitors, families are important to farming and agriculture. In fact, 95% of America’s corn farm are family owned. These families support raising food to feed the world, just as athletes’ families support them!

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