Will's Blog: A good day all round

19th Aug 2014

Today has been a good day. We sallied forth to the Congress Centre to collect accreditations, car parking passes and catering packs. Ok, so I am probably despised by most Organising Committees – I ask too many questions, want online platforms to work…immediately and am horribly impatient:  I am a little surprised that I was allowed back in to France. So credit where credit is due, we were greeted by a wonderfully friendly team who clearly will do back flips to make WEG 2014 work. Yes, there were teething problems, and we were there just as the milk teeth made their first appearance, but we worked our way through all of that and left a happy little Team GBR!

In the same building as the National Federation desk (where we were) is the Volunteer Reception….damn impressive, and full of people smiling (weird).

Alongside our visit to the Congress Centre, Debbie and Sarah went “walkabout” and drove every route possible; have a transport Plan A, then a Plan B and then a Plan C. We might trust the OC but we will also have a GBR transport plan. We all then met up to fill far too many envelopes with accreditations and car passes. I am VERY concerned….we are on schedule with our Work Schedule. Yes, of course we have a work schedule!


I am very fortunate that the Mother is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and as a Christmas present I was given tickets to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. I have to admit to being a tad suspicious as to how much I would enjoy it. How wrong I was. This was everything I love about elite sport encapsulated in a garden; well, a series of gardens and displays. The attention to detail and the drive to achieve excellence was absolutely what we, that are privileged enough to be embedded in elite sport, seek to emulate. During our time at Chelsea, I was lucky enough to chat to a number of the Show Garden designers, Stand Holders in the Great Pavilion and Judges:  The politics in the gardening world are no different to those in our world….I can assure you! What an environment Chelsea would be to generate discussions around looking for a winning edge…. 

And if you are ever passing through Clipston, Northamptonshire, the Mother’s garden is open through the National Garden Scheme; and it is a damn good garden, created from “not a lot”…well it does have vegetables, fruit and herbs (flowers are overrated!).

Tomorrow our lives are disturbed by the arrival of Team Staff and then…damn it…horses will turn up. I guess we will have to get our noses to the grindstone then!

I am sure the next 2 ½ weeks will bring highs, lows, frustrations, hilarities and, most certainly, memories. My “former” life was in the military and I still value many of the lessons I learnt in that world. It has always intrigued me as to what makes a team successful at something like a World Equestrian Games (a pressure cauldron)…why do some Nations, athletes and horses over perform and some go to pieces. I have always believed in the importance of “the environment” – a recent edition of the Royal Military Academy’s “Serve to Lead” includes the following from Gulf War supremo General Sir Rupert Smith….I think it rings true for the sporting environment….;

“The spirit that seeks to triumph in adversity and arms a man against the shock of battle is called Morale. The Morale of an individual or group is not of necessity a measure of happiness or contentment; it is a measure of the cohesion and power of that individual or groups resolve to pursue its objective come what may”

So maybe what we, as the central staff, seek to do is to provide a catalyst (through good planning) for cohesion.