I've decided to not run the European Champs (which are also the first round of the World Cup) next week, meaning that Team USA will be represented only by 2/3 of the population of Blodan 23. I have been sick and unfocused on orienteering the last few weeks, and I would rather get back to training hard so I can prepare for WOC as best as I can.
At the same time as I am making the *choice* to skip EOC, I have been nervously refreshing the Swedish orienteering federation's website, looking for an announcement of the Swedish EOC team. It finally came, and I was really upset not to find Mats' name on the list. He worked so damn hard all winter through injuries and setbacks and ran so damn well when it mattered, that I thought for sure he'd be selected. But this is Sweden, and there are at least six guys who were thought to be better, faster, hungrier, and it feels a little bit unfair that Mats is forced to stay at home next week, while I can choose to run or not to as I please.
In some ways, this is just how it is in sports - and the converse is also true, that representing Sweden in orienteering is a much greater honor than is representing the US. Still, the take-away message is that while I can't change the rules and let Mats run EOC or WOC, I can at least remember to never take for granted these amazing opportunities that I have had, and to train my ass off in the next two months so I can proudly represent the US at WOC.