Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The Early Days of NETT (part II)
We'll continue our reflective period here with some thoughts from another one of NETT's founders, Paul Miller, about the early days of NETT. (To see part I go here)
"So in my memory, it was Dave and Bruce (not sure which one first) that got fed up of our previous club and decided to leave it. You said you had mulled over for some time the idea of starting your own club. With you and Bruce deciding to leave, I decided I'd rather join whatever you were up to as training with friends was more important. (We got some early flack from former coach about forming "a social club" rather than "racing team".)
In terms of the early name, I know there were suggestions of calling it "Banana" among some of early members and Bruce and I were against that as making the team name an "inside joke" would not be ideal for encouraging outsiders to join, and certainly not for encouraging any serious runners. Various names, including things like "MetroWest" were flung around but NETT became agreed upon. Whether there should be three "T"s or not (the third one being "Tri") was also a matter of debate.
The first track workouts I remember were at the Watertown track, before they shifted to Bentley due to too many "walkers" on the town track. The Weston High School grass intervals were a regular summer + early fall favorite workout as well. I remember my Dad coming to one of those the year Alex was born: 2003 (yikes -- seems like yesterday). He commented on what a nice bunch you were, after we had a meal post-workout. As an aside, seemed like you'd already been dating Doris for a while then ;-)
I'm pretty sure that Jerry was one of the early members as well as Paul Young, Ben Winter and Anthony Chamberas. I think Joe Hardin joined NETT pretty early too -- I think he joined NETT in the first year. Dave Shackelford came to workouts pretty early on too.
The early races I remember were the Mayor's Cup, New England XC Champs, Andover XC and the BU mini-meets in those first years I think. I think my first official non-tri race with NETT was the Marathon Sports 5-miler in Wellesley, a few weeks pre-Ironman when I PR-ed. Later that summer Dave and I both did the Pisgah 50K while I think Anthony and Dave Bartel did the shorter race.
I also did my only ever snowshoe race with Dave the first winter on the team. I would never have even worn snowshoes or done a 50K trail race without the influence of NETT.
The early social events I recall inclued the annual party with "awards" at your apartment on in Newton and "Table football" competitions were a big hit.
For me a great memory was seeing Dave after we all clubbed together to get him a decent bike when he was injured. He was quite overcome and surprised as I recall. (Editor's note: I'm STILL overcome when I think about it and tell people where I got such a kickass bike! I still don't feel like I belong on that thing, but love it nonetheless).
All in all, I think the way the team works is great -- without a strict set of rules or anything, essentially anyone who is willing to put in the effort gets to make something happen. If they are thoughtful of others then what happens will be popular and keep going. So, as it should be, those who put the most in are the ones who get to decide the direction of the club.
For me the ideal club is one within which you can find a training partner/company in any of your regular workouts (hence variety of members is good) and go to races knowing you'll have a team member there to look out for. Pretty much as it is -- no obligations, but the more you put in the more you get out.
If I had any recommendations to new members it would be to take what opportunity you get to try something new (snowshoe/orienteering/trail racing/triathlon?) and don't be shy of suggesting your own "meetups" and races to do."
Thanks for the memories Paul! Great stuff.