An Open letter to Grant Dalton and all of Team New Zealand, their families, sponsors and supporters by former teammate and now AUT professor Mark Orams.
I know you will be devastated right now and nothing any of us can say or do will change that. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to write to share some things with you that I want you and the team to know.
I am intensely proud of Emirates Team New Zealand, you have expressed in the way you have prepared and competed what is best about us as a country. You have embraced the challenge of taking on competitors who are better resourced and who have chosen to play the game differently than we do. You have fought so hard, not just over the past two weeks, but over the past decade since we lost the Cup in 2003. I well recognise the sacrifices that have been made by you, by the team and by the family members and people who support the team. I know the long, long hours and hard work you have put in, all fuelled by a burning desire to put right what you saw as a travesty on the Hauraki Gulf 10 years ago.
Thank you for all you have done. Thank you for agreeing to lead our team. Thank you for restoring the pride of a sailing nation. Thank you for giving your absolute best.
Sport can be hugely inspirational, but it can also be incredibly cruel. Can I put it to you (even though I know you will not accept it), that success in sport is not only judged by the end result. Success is also measured by how you play the game. Your entire team has stayed focused, humble and honest. You have competed with integrity and honesty. You have resisted the barbs, the baited hooks, the allegations and the smears that are, unfortunately, such a part of the America's Cup game. In doing so, you have made me proud, you have made us proud.
I know these are just words, but words express ideals and deliver important messages. I want you to see beyond the score-line and what you will view as a failure and to have a glimpse of what I see.
I see a great team from a great country comprised of incredible people all of whom have given their absolute all in pursuing their dream. What you have done, and the way you have done it, I have the greatest admiration for. Well done mate, you have my respect, my appreciation and my continued support.
I look forward to seeing you and our team back home and I would be honoured to shake your hand and share a cold beer with you.
Your old sailing mate
(aka Mark Orams, member of Team New Zealand 2000 and Team New Zealand 2003)
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