THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT
Despite doing everything possible to avoid relegation from the UKWAL Premier Division, this fate finally befell the only club in Britain that had never before been relegated in the league's 39 year history during which time Sale had won an historic 23 UKWAL titles and were runners-up 9 times. However, the future looks bright! This is now a time for review, to take stock and to put right those things we'd possibly become complacent about in the past and with the knowledge that the club has emerging exciting groups of young middle distance athletes that, hopefully, will quickly return Sale Harriers to its rightful place in the Premier Division. An interesting short debate took place on the club's (closed) Facebook site to which several valuably contributed. For those unable to follow it or to contribute to it, I provide a resume. It begins with team manager Cara O'Brien's commenting on the relegation.
Cara O'Brien: We need to regroup this winter and commit 100% to getting our team back where it belongs next year. I cannot give enough praise for performance effort and team spirit over ALL 3 MATCHES to Alison Rodger Kirsty Law Lucy Evans Chiara Collins who have ran, jumped, thrown and filled gaps in the team that we shouldn't have had! We need to strengthen the team particularly in the middle distance section by attracting new members. It won't be enough to simply plug the gaps with cross country, road and fell runners. That is not a solution! Let's not kid ourselves, though. The lack of middle distance athletes is not solely to blame for our relegation. With the exception of those who have had or are injured there are still athletes that could and should have done more for their team this season. Let's completely start over next season and set the target of all completing at least 2 out of the 3 matches. This team has so much talent and does not belong outside of the Premier Division.... so let's prove it!
Coach Les Randles: Well said, Cara! Kirsty high jumping.....Lucy triple jumping. ....throwers running middle distance....no 400m representation in hurdles & flat....no relay teams for 4x100 and 4x400. For the future, if an athlete is injured or competing internationally or otherwise then the management should know. Athletes prepare their competition programmes well in advance so why don't we have a plan of what athletes are doing? Injuries are random and cannot be foreseen! However, injury for a match or non-availability at late notice is not acceptable especially when an athlete competes shortly after the match with no sign of injury! Perhaps Cara needs an assistant to collate and keep track of the athlete's conditions! Honesty! Loyalty! Solidarity! All for one & one for all!! We need our best team to turn out every match and if that's not possible, replacements must be made aware early enough of their selection. No last minute phone calls or texts to athletes! I am sure with the resources the club has we will not be out of the premiership for long.. Let's take stock and address the short comings now and plan for the future!
Coach & team manager Jack Frost: We must ALL get behind Cara, and next season support her 100%. We have magnificent talent, and could easily win the premiership. It's up to you!
Team Manager Alison Pye: Well done, Cara, for your first season and all who showed commitment to the team. We all need to train hard this winter and come back stronger and more committed than ever to return the team to its rightful place in the Premiership. This season needs to be used as a stepping stone to rebuild the team to its full strength ready for future seasons. We need to improve communication between coaches, athletes and team management. It's a two way process and managers need athletes and coaches to respond to emails and texts, and also need to be alerted of changes in circumstances as early as possible so team changes can be made. Successful communication between all involved in teams will make everyone's life easier and result in stronger team performances on the day.
Club Communications Fechin Mc Cormick: A big clap on the back to Cara for doing a great job in difficult circumstances. A promising element for the future is, in fact, Cara herself! An interesting debate is the area around 'individualism' of athletics and the commitment to 'team'. Which is the greater good? The club's stated objectives are to maintain national positions in Leagues and Cups. Whilst there are major individual championships for athletes that must be paramount, at other times are there individual competitions that sometimes should be sacrificed for the higher good of the club and team?
BAL Team Manager Dean Hardman: (Responding to Abigail) It's the same for all clubs. Every club has a mixture of elite and "club"/aspiring athletes. Every club has the fixture before the UK champs. Every club has to balance the best interests of individuals and the needs of the team. Indeed, it's the same for our men's team and we have 4 matches, rather than 3. So, it's the responsibility of the club to ensure that we're not reliant on too few individuals, so that we aren't too adversely affected by international commitments, injuries etc. It's the responsibility of the athletes to support the club when it's reasonable to do so, and so that the athletes' individual goals and the club's team targets can both be met. The whole point of the league is to provide competition for athletes who need it. It IS possible to marry the needs of the athletes with those of the club. And we'll do it. And we'll be back. Cara is doing a great job and there are plenty of people to support her and the team. It'll take a bit of time, but it'll happen.
Lisa Davies, Eric Hughes 'daughter and coach: I really hope we will make progress on this. Thank you, Cara for all your hard work. We all owe it to Cara and Dad to pull together and get back to where we should be. We need to address the weakness in middle distance. I know Dad was worried about this when, over the years, this has been our strength. We have some good girls coming through but we need more.
Posted 09/08/2013 07:00