I talked to everyone last night during our end of the year party. I didn’t want to cry again while reading what I wrote, so I promised I would post what I wrote. Some more was improvised in the moment, but this is the general sentiment.
I want to thank everyone for another year here at Total. By the fact that you may have finally gotten the shirts I told you I’d definitely get about 4 months ago, you can see that everything is going as planned (HA!). This has definitely been one of the longest and hardest years of my life. We’ve changed a lot around here and I still haven’t even finished everything I’ve aimed for in 2022. Not even close.
After about 90 leagues here, I finally got around to seasonal awards. Of all the suggestions for new awards, the one that came up more than all others combined was Most Improved – though Dolly also got Best dog/mascot. I tried figuring out the best way to discern “Most Improved”. Would it be based on percentage increase in average? Raw score gain? More bulls, clutches, etc? I went about it in several different ways, attempting to track bulls, clutches, high score, and average from season to season or year over year. No matter what method I used, the results were different in many cases. There wasn’t one person who was most improved. Everyone improved over the past year.
I’m proud of how far everyone has progressed this year. I know not everyone was able to hit an 81 before we exited the IATF, but I’m also proud that the pursuit of one statistic hasn’t blinded you to the community of axe throwers. Whether it’s an 81 in IATF, 64 in WATL, 102 in Michigan Rules, a perfect game is still an arbitrary measurement. Validation doesn’t come from councils of axe throwers or some guy in Toronto. It comes from within yourself.
Last night, I stumbled on the original business plan I wrote almost 5 years ago for Total Axe. The goal of Total Axe was to make axe throwing more accessible to more people and to grow a community where we could celebrate each others’ accomplishments. I wanted a place to grow a love of the sport, but more importantly, to grow a safe place in the community where everyone could come together and have fun. On thing that has inspired me along the way is the The Olympic Creed::
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
Our champions list is not an all-encompassing list of our best thrower (sorry Highlander). Our greatest throwers are the ones who continue to show up despite setbacks and despite never getting their name up on the wall. The greatest throwers are the ones who help others even when they’re having bad days and who always lift up those around them. Most of our greatest throwers are not up on the wall.
As we move into the new year, I really do appreciate those of you who are coming back, despite leaving the IATF. I believe their system no longer serves the best interest of the players. You’re putting your trust in me and the people here that we will build something better out of nothing. I promise to listen to every voice in this room and every suggestion you’re willing to give me. While I can’t promise that every idea will be adopted, they will all be listened to and given proper consideration. If you’re here to have fun, 2023 is going to be our best year yet.