September 4 to 7 – Bluewater heads to World Tug of War Championships

“It’s time to win gold”

Ten-time Canadian champions chase elusive world tug-of-war title September 4-7 in Sweden

Photos and story by Casey Lessard

They’ve been the best tug-of-war team in Canada since 1997, but they’ve never tasted success on the world stage. For the Bluewater squad based at Matthias Metzger’s farm northwest of Dashwood, this year is different.
“If they believe they can win a gold medal, I think they can,” says coach Jim Connolly of London. The team heads to Stenungsund, Sweden to fight for the world championships September 4-7.
The difference this year, Connolly says, is the team has a cohesive plan to win thanks to help from his son-in-law, life coach Rob Di Cesare. He’s been helping the team overcome the mental barriers to their success.
“I always noticed that in and around Ontario and this area, they dominate,” says Di Cesare, who has been following their progress over the years. “They’re physically stronger and better trained than any other team. However, whenever they go to competitions in Europe, even as they prepared, you would see a difference. The results would show.”
“We tend to put our (international) opposition up on a pedestal,” Connolly says. “You can’t beat them if you’ve already done that. Rob has taught us to concentrate more on ourselves than on our competition. We’re ready this time.”
For Di Cesare, the first step was setting a cohesive goal for the team.
“Everyone had a different idea of why they were going to Sweden,” he says. “Some of them were going to finish in the top six. Some were going to finish in the top four. Some were going to win a medal. Some were going just to compete.”
Di Cesare encouraged the men to decide on a team goal, and they decided it was to win the world championships. The quest to achieve that goal hasn’t been easy; the team reached a breaking point last month.
“On their way to achieving the gold medal,” he says, “they had to set some smaller