These are my year-end totals for running over this past year. A year in which I spent the first three weeks of January having numerous invasive health tests done, which limited my ability to get out on the trails to start the year. A year that had me fighting metatarsalgia in my left foot for over a month, which kept me at lower mileage as I nursed it back to strength. A year that had me fighting COVID for two weeks straight and stripped me of nearly three months of fitness in just those two weeks of downtime. See, sport…especially endurance sports…push you to your limits, reset your expectations, humble you, increase your empathy, inspire you, call you out when you think of phoning it in, and most importantly in my case…keep my mental health in check. I guess you could say those first six things are a recipe for the last.
Being an artist, as well as part of the world of technology, I often hear disparaging remarks and quips about sport. They are often delivered in the tone of “I could really care less”, but be rest assured they really want you to know just how little they care about it. I do understand there are aspects of sport, almost always due to the capitalist/financing parts that our dominant society has perpetuated, that people find obscene and unfavorable. Truth is, that could be said about damn near everything in these dominant cultures that make money the main driver to every aspect of something that is core to the human community…housing, medicine, sport, music/art/literature, food systems, appropriate technology, and ways of organizing.
I have always thought that the sport I was engaged in never really built up my character as much as it actually just revealed my character.
Sport has been a part of my life from an early age and the people it placed around me and the places it has taken me always taught me incredible things along the way. I have always thought that the sport I was engaged in never really built up my character as much as it actually just revealed my character. Whether you are on mile 35 with a 500 feet climb in front of you, struggling to calm your nerves in a crucial situation, or you are down by 2 with seconds to go and the odds largely against you, you’ll almost always find out what kind of person you inherently are. This is exactly why I am drawn to the endurance side of sport and spend hundreds of hours putting myself in these types of situations every year. It reveals a jumping off point from which you can start the real work on yourself. Your character, your health (both physical and mental), your abilities in persistence…and endurance.
Over the years some of the people surrounding sports, teams, and events I’ve been a part of have had a really large impact on these revelations of my character as well. Some have taught me hard lessons about loss, some have been exemplary in their work ethic and playfulness, and a few have even been perfect mentors on how NOT to act in pursuit of achievements by their ability of not being able to absorb a win with the grace at which one must absorb a loss. These are sometimes the best revealers of your innate character. These types of people have shown up in all aspects of my life, but the ones that show up with a diverse range of interests, put things into the world through creation, AND revel in the human affair of sport or endurance are often the most impactful for me.
So, for you other creative people and technologists that I engage with on a daily basis who find the act of sport to be a useless endeavor…perhaps it is time to reach out to me, lace up a pair of shoes, and join me in the woods to have some of your own character revealed in a way that you might have never imagined.