IJSBA is asking competitors to reflect on recent developments in the Tokyo Olympics where an athlete (Simone Biles) has withdrawn from a sport (gymnastics) due to a personal evaluation that, on that particular day, the athlete did not feel adequately in synch to accept the injuries associated with mistake or error. There are numerous public opinions regarding this decision and the purpose of this posting is not to weigh in on public opinion (although this office does state great admiration for the courage and judgment of Ms. Biles). What we do want to focus upon is that this same decision is one you make each time you engage in a Personal Watercraft competition of any sort and every competitor has the obligation, to themselves and each other, to make this self assessment.
The IJSBA waiver and assumption of risk agreement is your acknowledgement that you recognize that there are serious risks of injury and death associated with participating in a Personal Watercraft competition. By signing this agreement you memorialize your awareness of these risks and specifically agree that you accept them as possibilities and if the possibility becomes a reality then you will absolutely absolve any other person associated with the competition from any liability or responsibility for injury or death. You bind yourself and your heirs to this decision when you sign the agreement and compete in the event. Personal Watercraft competitions are not able to happen without risk and we cannot allow you to compete unless you accept that risk. Your obligations to acknowledge and assume this risk are owed to yourself, your family and loved ones, your fellow competitors, the event organizer and, the event staff.
Your obligations associated with risk do not end with signing a paper. Each and every time you participate in a Personal Watercraft competition, you owe the acknowledgment of risk and self assessment of whether you are at your very best thereby reducing the factor rather than increasing it. You owe this to yourself and to every other competitor with whom you share the risk. Likewise, they owe it to you. There is no shame in evaluating the circumstances and deciding that it is best to sit out a race until your equipment or yourself are where you feel you can participate without increasing the risk of injury of death to yourself or others. There is no shame in saying "I don't feel right," "something is wrong," or, "I am not ready." Conversely, you may feel a great deal of shame if you hurt yourself or others when you know it is something you could have prevented.
Please take a moment to see if there are any lessons to be learned or insight to be gained from seeing a world class athlete make a difficult decision knowing that an injury, or dying, is by far worse than competition pressure or difficult scrutiny from public opinion. If you ever need to take a pause, don't worry, there will always be plenty of Personal Watercraft competitions. However, there will only be one YOU to enjoy those competitions and to share the experience of Personal Watercraft competitions with your loved ones. Please always make the necessary self assessments and appropriate decisions whenever you compete.