Nadia Gruny captures the major takeaways from the USA Women's tour of Australia. This is the first of five articles that describe the tour's highlights.
By Nadia Gruny
Last month the USA national women’s team spent two weeks in Australia – the first tour down under for any USA national cricket team. This tour was the beginning of our campaign for the 2019 ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier. We are likely to be given another wild card entry into next summer’s ICC Europe’s Qualifier, like we were given last summer. The work has begun.
Many have asked about the Australian experience so I thought it would be enlightening to share the major takeaways from the tour. This is the first of five articles in which I will be sharing what I consider to be the tour highlights.
Building Teamwork through Resilience
On our tour itinerary, one half-day session was titled “Resilience Session Testing Limits Together”. Team management never disclosed details – we were told to wear our training clothes and that the session would occur at two different places requiring us to drive to the second location.
We arrived at the Queensland University grounds to meet five strapping men in uniformed clothing – intriguing! Formalities were brief and general expectations were set. It all happened so quickly.
They watched us as we scampered around to get the first task done – that is, simply to get important supplies into army-like tactical vests for each of us. Before we knew it, they were screaming down our throats about seeking our own interests rather than helping one another.
We were split into two teams of seven, each team running on the side pavement carrying a stretcher. With four persons holding a stretcher at any one time and one on the stretcher, it meant that there were always only two people free on each team.
We ran for about a mile with the stretchers, stopping at intervals to switch who lay on the stretcher. Body dimensions on our team vary quite a bit and so did the pain of carrying each person. Rotations were fast. They often needed to be.
We finished that session with bruised hands, and sore legs and shoulders. We were happy to be done but fearful for what we would be doing next.
We were now wearing tape-covered goggles and jumping into a 16-feet deep pool from the ledge. It didn’t matter if we could swim or not. No one was left behind. As if that was hard enough, we jumped off an almost 10-feet platform and then a 16-feet platform.
The session ended with activities in the woods including being guided by a teammate through a mouse-trap infested zone while wearing those same lovely, tape-covered goggles, and no shoes. I stepped on a mouse trap twice but luckily for me, they missed my toes.
By the end of the entire session, vanity and ego went out the door. We all became vulnerable as we trusted those running on the pavement, not to drop us while we lay on the stretcher.
We were vulnerable when we couldn’t see through the goggles but still jumped into the pool even though some of us couldn’t swim. We were vulnerable as we stood up on the 16-feet platform, not only afraid of heights but jumping into a pool that was 16-feet deep.
We trusted the Queensland Police officers to retrieve us from under water and we trusted the encouragement of our teammates. At one point in the pool, Claudine Beckford reached out to me and reassured me that everything would be okay. I felt safe knowing she was next to me. What I did not know at the time was that Claudine could not swim. The power of her positive words was amazing.
More than resilience, we learned teamwork and support. If it were not for each other’s encouragement, half of us would not have completed the tasks. Instead, we all pushed the envelope, got out of our comfort zones, and achieved new goals.
That day, we became different people. We learned the true definition of TEAM - together everyone achieves more!