We are at the precise moment in history when the sport is verged on the cusp of greatness. The moment that it goes from being a passionate pursuit of a few to the wider mainstream of general society.
Live the day!
Because like so many sports before it, once the sport hits the big time it will become commercialized, popularized, materialized, and sanitized. It is already happening. Have you been to a Ironman race recently? The Expo now looks like a Ford Dealership. While you are checking out the latest in bike, run and swim equipment, why not purchase your next explorer?
Enjoy the day!
On most Thursday nights during the summer you’ll probably find me standing in the cold and gray waters of Boulder Res. I’m waiting for the start of the weekly Stroke and Stride (a short race that’s made up of a 1500 meter swim and a 5 K run).
Standing next to me on my right is Simon Lessing. On my left is Cameran Widoff and just in front of us is Bella Comerford. That’s a pretty interesting foursome. Three out of those four triathletes have won an Ironman race…one has not. Three out of those four triathletes are considered the best in the world…one is not. Three out of four of these triathletes will be trying to win Kona….one will not. I’m sure you can guess which one will not.
Image being in a golf tournament and teeing off in a foursome with Tiger Woods, VJ Singh, and Annika Sorenstam. You know that’s never going to happen.
Embrace the day!
I’ve been visiting my new triathlete friends recently. And by visiting I mean checking out their blogs and I’m amazed at the amount of time, energy and passion they put into triathlon. I salute you all! I can tell that triathlon is much more than just a weekend hobby or casual pastime for you. It has become your passion and driving motivator in your life.
I think that it used to be this way with many of the other now “major sports” when the Everyman athlete could compete and put himself among the pros. But today the distance between the pros and the fans of the major sports has grown to an enormous size. A night at the ballpark can cost not tens, but hundreds of dollars. And the closest you’ll likely get to a top ballplayer, is if he happens to hit a foul ball your way. In football they even put a screen up to keep the balls away from the fans.
Is it no wonder that so many people play fantasy football and baseball? The real sport has become just a far away television show for so many fans.
Be the day!
All sports have defining moments and elements that distill the essence of the sport to a moment, sight, or sound. For me, in baseball, it is the crack of the bat as the baseball leaves the ballpark. In football, it is the snap of the ball and the roar of the crowd as it is passed to the quarterback. In basketball, it is the squeak of the shoes on the court and swoosh of the ball as it passes through the net.
But how many of us have actually experienced any of these moments? Sure you can go to the local gym or ballpark and play a game with your friends. But can you play it in a packed stadium, next to the best in the world, with a world championship at stake? You know that’s never going to happen.
Celebrate the day!
My defining moments in a triathlon are broken down into the three sports. I love the feeling of the swim, when my head is in the water, when everything is quiet, except for the sound of my labored breath to the back beat of my pounding heart.
On the bike, I always remember the salty taste of my sweat as it drips down my face, into my mouth and down onto the spinning wheel front wheel of the bike.
On the run, I’ve come to expect the moment when my thighs seize up as I push them from biking to running. However I treasure the feeling when my legs finally get used to the new motion and I settle to a good pace and beginning to really run.
And while I’ll never cross the finish line at the same time as Simon Lessing, Cameran Widoff or Bella Comerford. I’ll be there next to them at the start. I’ll race the same course, with the same fans, put in the same painful miles, with the same weather, use the equipment, and suffer the same, pain and joy…on the same day.
For the day will pass all too soon.