Puddle Jumpers

Enjoying life, off the hamster wheel

What Crossing the Finish Line Means

OLY-2014-NORDIC-MEN Peru’s Roberto Carcelen (C) is congratulated by Nepal’s Dachhiri Sherpa (L) and gold winner Switzerland’s Dario Cologna (R) after crossing the finish line in the Men’s Cross-Country Skiing 15km Classic. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

Remember the Peruvian Nordic skier at this year’s Olympics in Sochi? The one who crossed the finish line dead last, 30 minutes slower than the winner?

His name is Roberto Carcelen, and he is Peru’s first ever Winter Olympian. He was greeted at the finish line by Nepal’s Dachhiri Sherpa and Switzerland’s Dario Cologna, the gold medal winner, who both waited for Carcelen to finish so they could congratulate him. Carcelen had broken a rib in training and had contracted a respiratory infection while staying at the Olympic athlete’s village.

What crossing the finish line means, whether you’re first, last or somewhere in between, is that you’ve accomplished your goal. You’ve concentrated your efforts, yolked in all your energies and focused them into the pointed heat of challenging yourself. It’s discipline, hardship and reward that is realized at the moment when you touch that finish line.

Can you imagine the determination and will Carcelen had to wrest from the deepest part of him, just to finish? What inspired him? What fueled his fire?

The bellows fanning the flames of his determination was his desire to inspire others. He wants the younger generation of Peruvian athletes to dream big like him, to compete and possibly win at an Olympic event. His crossing the finish line benefits many others for generations to come.

The noble spirit of an Olympic athlete is something we can all understand. Even if we don’t aspire to be athletes ourselves, we can project our hopes and fears onto them.

Racing against time, crossing the finish line, inspiring others, this is something that people in the arts do as well, such as James Pollard and his team who have developed PreShow, a project management app that will revolutionize the way people mount shows and events. James is a theatre professional based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and has worn many hats from stage technician to production manager.

People creating theatre, special events, TV, and film productions are, more and more, working separately in different places, maybe even working on several shows at the same time. They’re communicating and collaborating digitally, scheduling, exchanging ideas, doing all the stuff that needs to happen before the critical moment when all the pieces come together, and all the people involved complete the process at the venue.

The manner in which the industry works in this way isn’t very efficient. Other industries working on large and small scale production that have similar complications can rely on project management software that has been purpose-written for their needs. The arts sector hasn’t had this done for them yet.

James saw a need to make something that will help people work more efficiently, so he assembled a team to develop PreShow. They’ve launched a website with a Beta version to demonstrate the program. You’ll have to sign-up to test it, but it’s definitely worth it! I’ve been playing with it and really like it.

It’s takes capital to roll-out a program of this caliber and scope, and so the PreShow team has turned to Kickstarter to raise $59,000 by Feb. 21 in order to secure a commitment by the Canada Media Fund of $177,000.

What makes their efforts especially urgent is that James was diagnosed with prostate cancer around the time he began developing the software. His prognosis has turned a corner and he is now living with terminal cancer.

He’s pushing to see his dream realized for a couple of reasons, the one is obvious – he wants to see this project finalized before he no longer has the strength to work on it – and because he wants to leave behind something that will benefit the arts community that he’s so passionate about, and in turn this will benefit everyone who watches or participates in the various types of performing arts and events.

I’ve taken up this cause because it feels like the right thing to do, and I think the software is exactly what the industry needs. I didn’t know about PreShow until about 3 weeks ago. James and I haven’t seen each other in many years, and I’m sure it’s been a bit of a surprise to him to see my posts and promotions for the Kickstarter campaign.  Neil and I worked for him a long time ago. He was gracious, kind and fair, and it was a complete pleasure to work for him. He even came into the shop while we were working, carrying a tray of tea and cookies and cheerfully called out “Tea time!” and we sat for about 15 – 20 minutes relaxing with a nice cup of tea that he poured from a china pot, graciously preparing the warm, relaxing beverage in china cups stirring in silky milk and sugar to our taste. That was the most civilized break I’ve ever experienced!

I’ve even pledged to shave my hair if it reaches $25,000.00!! I hope it reaches $59,000.00!

The PreShow Kickstarter campaign has only 50 hours left before it’s over as of this writing. PLEASE click on the link and contribute. If you’ve ever been to or worked on a concert, movie, webisode, play, ballet, musical, been to a trade show, convention, festival, watched TV, etc., you’ve experienced the final product of innumerable hours that people behind the scenes have put in to put the event on. Your generous contribution and sharing of their Kickstarter campaign will ensure that there will be an even better way to make quality productions in the future.

Help me help James and the team cross the finish line. Because it’s not about the medal, it’s about spirit, and PreShow has been developed with the same spirit that inspires Olympians – to inspire and benefit others and cross the finish line. Let’s help them get there.

Thank you!

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