Before I begin, let’s just take a moment to appreciate that photo. It’s ok, take your time, there’s no rush.
I feel much better, don’t you? When I announced that we would be doing one part of the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief each day this week (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), I really looked forward to the anger day. But now that the day is here, I don’t know whether I am past the anger stage or if the model is wrong in this case or if it’s just because I am happy to be on the trip back home to Virginia, but I don’t feel anger. However, I can assure you that some people are angry right now.
Many of the US team’s fans are angry. Having read Eventing Nation’s emails and comments over the past few days, it is clear that there are many sources of anger. But perhaps the biggest frustration is the notion that our eventing team could potentially write the WEGs off as bad luck and head to London with a similar strategy. We were, after all, unlucky. The problem is that other teams seem to be consistently luckier right now.
I think fans are justified in wanting an explanation about what the higher-ups think went wrong and how we are going to make changes moving forward. If we are going to brand our “Landrover US Eventing Team” and use our fame, power, and prestige to sell stuff to our fans, then I think it is especially important to answer to the public when things do not go well.
The good news is that the riders are also angry. One of the things that I admire most about the best in the US is that they are the most competitive people I have ever met. Undoubtedly, this is not a coincidence. For Phillip, Boyd, Buck, Karen, Becky, and Kim, anything less than gold is not good enough–it’s just how they are wired. We can’t predict now which 6 riders will compete for the US in 2012, but I would predict that, for better or worse, at least three from this past weekend will go to London. No one will work harder over the next months and years to be ready to win when the time arrives. We just need to make sure they have the horses and support necessary.