Champion Is As Champion Does
One of the couples on the trek was Al and Laura Sealey from Boise, Idaho. OK so what. Well Al, all 6/6 of him was a world champion, Olympian, Harvard and Oxford(double winning blue) oarsman. So its out with the autograph book. He also had a very good line in what we might call English humour, the best of his repertoire which just about survived the three weeks involved a German accent and an encyclopaedic knowledge of war films.
It turned out the sixty year old had won all his honours in the middle 1970s and as the competition began to hot up and there were no more prizes to win he called it a day. Then it was off to merchant banking selling bonds in the mad bad world of Wall Street in the 80s and finally he successfully ran several private equity funds. All American.
Actually a few years ago on the 150th anniversary of the Boat Race it was shown that while all the first crews became vicars all the modern crews went into merchant banking. Al told that the adrenaline flowing on the dealing floors was every bit as stomach turning as what went on in world rowing. He also modesty stated that his achievements were firstly based on the fact in terms of Oxygen intake and use, his body was in the world’s top three per cent. Of course it went without saying that for every competitive row there were 200 days of training.
Research shows that elite athletes who are around 1 per cent of those participating have usually trained 20 hours a week for eight years. Twice as much as average athletes. The mental and physical ability to train excessively plus skill are the two ingredients that make top sportsmen. Al said simply “I loved the training” Way to go.
Now as it happened on the trek Al got diarrhoea big time. Big guy, big diarrhoea. He was going ten times a day, he wasn’t eating, he was in pain. But it didn’t stop him , he kept trekking on. Champion is. He walked through what must have been an exhausting three days. By the end he was back cracking his Stalag 14 jokes and leading the charge. Way To Go Al.
And then came the return. We got to the railway station to catch the train to Delhi and home. The porters ,as they do, gathered around the bags. The haggling began. 1200 rupees was after a while beaten down to 400(£1-100r), This took time and a lot of gesticulating,the usual pantomime of Eastern bargaining.
But this was to much for big Al. I’m carrying my own. He says. Grabs his two bags and storms off towards the station. He has no idea what train, platform or direction to aim for. No matter he is carrying his bags and not putting up with any of this malarkey.
The deal is done. Even without Al’s two bags the porters get their 400 rupees. Al has to follow the porters to the right platform. I asked him why he made such a grand and pointless gesture. I wanted to show how I do business. He flew home via Seoul and Seattle.
Champion Is As Champion Does.