So I was sitting in traffic today… What a shock! Living in San Antonio, it is a fact of life. The city is becoming more and more crowded and despite the work that they are doing on the roads (which seems perpetual), traffic just gets worse. I suppose it is because people think that it is a nice, affordable city. But that too seems to be changing judging by the rising prices of just about everything…but I digress…
So, sitting in traffic…Right! Behind a well appointed Toyota Sequoia with a 26.2 sticker in the back window. Gets me to thinking again about how many of those I see lately, along with all the adventure race stickers, and half marathon stickers, and Crossfit stickers…ugh. And I think about how, between social media (Facebook) and conversations I hear at work, at the grocery store etc. I get constantly bombarded with people mouthing off about their workouts.
Disclaimer: I admire the way that the running community supports each other, especially in light of the recent tragedy in Boston. I also respect people who are fit because I know the effort it takes to get there. I respect people who run marathons, triathlons, etc because I don’t think I could do any of them, mainly because I don’t have the desire to. I am not denying people their pride in their athletic endeavors. That said…
My question is…Why do they have to talk about it all ad nauseum? If your greatest achievement in life is the fact that you ran a marathon or completed a particularly intense WOD, you probably should aim higher. Unless of course you are physically (or mentally) challenged in some way other than the fact that you finally got up off of the couch. Train for it, do your best, compete, say you did it and move on! I am sick of seemingly intelligent people who turn into myopic, one-dimensional lemmings who feel like they need to prove themselves to the world by doing the latest adventure race in the mud. Prove yourself to yourself and leave it at that. Nobody cares! Except for perhaps your circle of ‘friends’ who can’t seem to hold a conversation about anything else either.
I have competed in athletics all of my life…some I was suited for, some I was not. I gave my all in many sports with good results and sometimes disappointing results. It helped to shape who I am as a person. The point is, I didn’t find it necessary to scream to the outside world every time I did something noteworthy. It was enough for me to have competed, given my best, left it on the field and shared it with my teammates. I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone but myself.
Several months ago a guy I know was trying to talk me into doing an adventure race. The race in question is one of the tougher ones. He was all fired up about doing the race and along with ‘checking in’ on Facebook everyday from the gym, it was all he could talk about. I told him that I wasn’t interested in the race. His rebuttal was, ‘Don’t you want to prove how tough you are?’. I looked at him and told him that I didn’t need to prove that to anyone. I played rugby for 10+ years with a lot of great men that I call friends and comrades and I don’t feel that I have to prove my toughness. Every day I go to the gym, I do it with headphones on, challenging myself…trying to get stronger and to maintain a healthy balance in my life. I don’t crow about it. If someone asks me about it, I share my thoughts or my stories…but I don’t feel it necessary to inflict it upon anyone.
That is one of the things that I like about rugby. It is a sport where team is hugely important. You rarely see showboating, you rarely see people beating their chest, you don’t ever see anyone faking injuries. What you see is hard work, determination, crazy physicality, and intense competition. You also see the gathering of guys you played with and guys you played against afterwards at the bar. There is an air of mutual respect, fatigue, camaraderie, songs and good stories to share.
I had to chuckle the other night. I went with my daughter to a festival that her school attends every year. She is part of a club that sets up a table for the kids to make Spin Art pictures. On one side of her table this year, one Crossfit outfit had set up their own table and a competing box (I think that is what they call them) set up about 50 yards away. All of the very fit looking people affiliated with the gym were working the table, talking enthusiastically with all the passing people, getting people to do pull ups or toss a weighted pillow back and forth. The thing that made me chuckle is that I never got more than a sidelong glance. I clearly was not the couch-potato type that they wanted to attract. I clearly have spent many years of physical activity and know my way around the gym. They had no use for me. I didn’t look like I wanted to spend time at their kool-aid dispenser. I guess I didn’t fit the demographic…which was fine with me 🙂
Maybe this is just my philosophy on life. I don’t feel the need to inflict my politics on people (I really hate politics anyway). I don’t feel the need to talk about my spirituality (unless someone is interested). Most people who want to talk about their religion or their beliefs want to do just that…talk about their beliefs, not yours. I guess I just try to live by example. If all that anyone can say about me when I die is that I was a good father, a good friend, a good partner, a good teammate, a good brother and a good human being…I will be satisfied. I doubt that anyone will care about the other stuff. I could be wrong, but if I am I guess I don’t really care… 🙂