Today was a hard day in Bend--we said goodbye to Elowyn until Quebec camp as she is off to Ecuador for a semester abroad. I successfully managed not to cry while giving her a goodbye hug, but her departure did leave me inspired to write about our team. Most conversations about teams are about the unit, the collective group of people coming together to create something bigger than themselves. But ultimately, all teams are comprised of individuals. While the whole is often greater than the sum of its respective parts, the parts matter too. Just one person can change a team's dynamic, focus, and culture. The women's team was lucky this past year to have an incredible toolkit of parts, but, in particular, to have a little monkey wrench named Elowyn.
Monkey in action: "I tend to use other people's reactions to gauge how socially acceptable something is"
It's hard to describe just how Elowyn changed our team, but her unique mix of drive (some less polite folk might call it stubbornness), kindness, humor, and patience helped set a new tone on the women's team. Her Adidas warmups brought a new respect for game day, her competitive spirit pushed us all to give more (and do more pullups) out of fear of being called "soft," and let's not forget her straw visor--really no words needed for that one.
"Doing hair comes naturally to me"
Most of all, Elowyn embodies the spirit of Williams skiing. Simply put, she always places the team before herself. The best way I can think to explain this is to give an example. At the Colby Carnival the women's team had agreed to meet at the van at 2:45pm to head back to the hotel. At 2:40pm Elowyn and I were still in the lodge getting our stuff together, and not wanting to be the last one to the van, I just grabbed my stuff and ran outside. By 2:50pm, the whole team was loaded in the van except for Elowyn, and so I ran back into the lodge to find her. Back inside, I found her cleaning up the area in the lodge where our team had kept our stuff for the day: pushing in chairs, returning pens to the registration desk, and even picking up other team's trash from the floor. I stood there for a moment, just watching her clean up, and felt immensely proud of both my teammate and of Williams skiing. Instead of thinking of herself, and of how it would look if she was late to the van, she was concerned with leaving the lodge clean and of how the team was represented. Elowyn does this all the time, putting the best interests of the team and the college ahead of her own. This is a quality of hers which I greatly admire, and one which I am working on cultivating in myself.
So consider this a thank you, Weenie. Thank you for being such a supportive teammate, loyal friend, and humble teacher. Thank you for putting the team first. And thank you, for changing our team for the better. Your twerking, Tyga-sing-alongs, and 'tude will be greatly missed, but know that the entire team is supporting your adventures abroad from Williamstown.
Freshmen, you have big shoes to fill, but luckily you have 3 months to get your s*** together before Elowyn comes back and starts running the show again. Consider yourselves warned.
Rock the cow!