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Letter to the editor: Discouraged and overlooked, but still competing

In an article published in the Tribune on Dec. 1, entitled “Discouraged and overlooked, but still competing: A club athlete's experience at McGill,” the Sailing Team was profiled along with other club sports at McGill. The article sought to bring light to the underappreciated and often overlooked club sport athletes, an undoubtedly worthwhile cause. Club sport athletes at McGill practice early in the morning and late into the evening, they pay out of pocket to enjoy the sport they love, and they don’t enjoy large fan sections like the larger athletic teams on campus. The article pointed out how discouraging underfunding and under appreciation can be, citing that club athletes tend to have an “attitude of resignation.” In discussing this sentiment, the sailing executive committee felt it best to clear something up:

As sailors, students, and athletes, the 33 members of the McGill University Sailing Team refuse to be discouraged.

If you didn’t know the McGill Sailing Team existed, you wouldn’t be alone. Despite our 2nd place ranking in Canada last year and our competitive scores throughout North America, McGill Sailing tends to fly under the radar. The reasons for this are pretty easy to suss out: We practice in Dorval and tend to compete outside of Montreal. These facts have never discouraged the sailors on the team. With a dedicated executive committee and a group of incredibly passionate student-athletes, the team remains unequivocally positive and cohesive, despite the inherent difficulties that face all club sports at McGill.

The largest hurdle that McGill Sailing faces is a lack of funding. Sailing is expensive and we ask a lot of our members in order to overcome this obstacle. For everything from travel and accommodations to coaching and boats, we are entirely funded by students on the team. To add to that expense, the team is currently in the process of acquiring a new fleet of sailboats to replace our decades old, poor quality C420s. (Yes that’s what they’re called. Yes we’ve heard the joke before). Needless to say, getting through each season under budget is a challenge.

In sailing, there is a lot out of your control. The wind, the current, and the weather are almost always against you as you fight for speed on the water. Sailing is about managing all of these variables and putting yourself in the best position to win. The team takes this to heart on and off the race-course. In addition to the incredible talent that our sailors display everyday at practice, they demonstrate creativity, passion, commitment, and support to improving the team. To succeed, we use what we know: We acknowledge the inherent obstacles, we come up with creative solutions, and—above all—we always stay positive.

Isaiah Riesman-Tremonte is the fundraising coordinator for the McGill University Sailing Team. He can be reached at [email protected]. This letter was co-signed by the other members of the McGill University Sailing Team's executive: Amanda Ivey, Andries Feder, Renee Torrie, Jess Horne, Jacob Webster, and Catherine Ross
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