This article was originally published on John Fennell's website.
There've been a few moments in my athletic career that have made me think critically about what I am doing. Breaking my ankle, going to Sochi, and most importantly, this campaign.
The success of this fundraiser has shown me just how many people I have in my corner. It is a powerful and moving feeling that I can only describe as inspiration. It’s so moving to have your friends and family rally together to help you chase a goal. As an amateur athlete, I don’t exactly have time to get a part time job to pay for my season. And now that I am an “adult” (chronologically) the bank of Mom+Dad isn’t an option anymore. The little money I do get from the Canadian government goes to living expenses and I am solely liable for the rest. I feel so proud of those people from all parts of my life could donate or share the campaign- in my eyes this was a complete success. All additional funds that I received are simply an investment in future seasons.
It’s a hard pill to swallow writing this on the day that I would be racing World Championships in Latvia. What I’ve learned this season is that dreams are just that. They’re dreams. They aren’t guaranteed. They’re fleeting and they can crush you. That being said, I can wholeheartedly say that I’ve never been more motivated to get back to where I was. This season didn’t play out how I expected in my head. But, from that I’ve learned SO much about my strengths, weaknesses, and work ethic. Eventually raw talent runs out. When that happened to me, I had to face the harshest realities of my situation. Realistically, I am young slider with little experience on a national level. I practically skipped my junior career and went straight from a youth to a national level slider. Despite the fact that this gave me success early on in my career, it caused some serious gaps in my development; gaps that came to the surface this winter.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t have a single good race this year. There wasn’t one race where I threw down two consist, clean, fast runs. I’ve learned that my biggest hurdle going forward will be learning how to compete. I know I have the skills. It’s simply a matter putting what I can do into practice on race day.
I’d be lying if I said the last two months haven’t been hard. In fact, they’ve been the hardest I’ve faced in my sliding career. The conclusion that I’ve come to is that I am pouring everything I’ve got into next season. I know there’s an element of risk in doing that, but I can’t shake the feeling there’s more I could’ve done this year to be better. I have goals for next season and I’m willing to do what’s necessary to chase it. I’ve just had my wakeup call and I’m ready to work. It fills me with hope to know that I have people like those of you reading this who are here to support me.
PS: Internet is essentially not a thing in the places I go in Europe. I’ve got most (some) of your messages. I am going to make a concerted effort to get back to everyone who wrote/donated to the campaign. I’ll be delivering/ shipping out rewards throughout March! If you’re reading this and you’ve decided that you’d like one, reach out and we can set up something up. Again, this campaign moved me. Words can’t accurately describe just how proud this fundraiser has made me. I am surrounded by unconditional positivity and I’m thrilled about it. Cheers, folks. Thanks for being the best community out there!