Saturday, March 22, 2008


"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” - Ryunosuke Satoro

I've never played a team sport.

Never shouted "1-2-3-Pride!" in the team huddle. Never passed the ball. Never watched the scoreboard in anticipation with my teammates beside me.

In fact, for much of my life, I've shied away from the dreaded "group work" in any form and have reveled in my independence ---my ability to get things done ON MY OWN.

Lived alone in my own apartment for years? Loved it. Developed successful community programs with my department of one? Owned it. Drove cross country with just me, my Jeep, and my CDs? Did it twice. Hiked and camped alone in beautiful settings throughout the U.S.? Any chance I could. Made my way to my local Master's swim practice? Um...Not yet.

But that's all changed now. Even though triathlon is incredibly individualized and self-focused, it's through this sport that I've discovered the power of a team.

This week, I had the privilege of working out with two of my Sage Endurance teammates. Early Wednesday morning, Natalie and I met at the pool and each knocked out close to 3,000 yards. Even though, we had different sets planned for the day, there was something incredibly motivating about simply sharing a lane, looking each other in the goggle-blurred eyes as we pushed off the wall for our intervals, and knowing that someone else knew what the other was thinking and feeling as the set got long and the sun came up.

Friday morning, teammate Claire and I met for our respective long runs of the week. Having never run together before, I wasn't sure what to expect. Would our paces be complementary? Would conversation flow easily? Would we push each other or let each other slide? In short, the run was one of the best I've had in a long time. During the first 6 miles that Claire was by my side, I learned about and was inspired by her passions and life goals, we planned for the future, we analyzed the differences in the ways women and men approach life, we talked and talked -- and we ran. Having a teammate for that first hour, made the last 30 minutes during which I was on my own a piece of cake.

I'm so grateful for these women and the many "teammates" I have in my life. It's my team that helps me remember my reasons. It's my team that calls and leaves motivating voicemail messages on my phone -- and somehow knows just the days when I need them. It's my team that calls my bluff when I want to go short. It's my original teammate Rachel who is helping me get through my longest brick workout yet of the year in just a few short hours. It's my team that is helping me meet my fundraising goal for the year, step by step. And..I'm excited to announce that it's my new team - Team Stayput - that will help me take the Tri to End Homelessness message far and wide (More on this soon....).

I know for sure that THIS TIME, I can't do it alone.

Genesis Home is that team for the families that are living there. It's the kids running through the hallways that help the parents (and the staff) remember their reasons. It's the case managers who help each family set goals that will lead to their independence -- and then challenge them to keep doing the work that make those goals reality. It's the many donors that provide the often unseen support that keep the doors open so that there's always room for the next family.

Won't you join the team that is working to end homelessness one stroke at a time, one pedal at a time, one mile at a time, one family at a time? I can't do it alone and neither can Genesis Home. Please consider making your donation today.