Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How did we get here - 3 months post op, 10 months of a roller coaster, and a year of constant change

"I ain't trading my dreams for no suit and jacket"

From the song - Suit and Jacket, by Judah and the Lion

Has it been close to 4 months since I last wrote? I didn't want to believe what the calendar said, but there it was - June 26, the date of my last post. And as I thought about a minute longer, I realized that yes, I was never in a good enough head space to put my thoughts down in a cohesive manner. Struggling to recover from having my tonsils removed, something that, at age 44, really makes you wish your parents would have said "yes" when the doctor suggested it after getting strep throat at age 8. The 10 days turned into 6 weeks, leaving me a bit upside down, trying to play catch up with training and racing.

The time away from writing hasn't been easy at all. Racing has been successful, 3 straight wins post op, with a 4th place overall to boot. But that too took its toll - long days and nights, time away from my son, feeling pulled in different directions with coaching, training, racing, and most importantly, being a good dad. Often, its my son's face that provides me the much needed relief and moments of peace at the end of a long day to remind me of what is most important.

Over the last 3 months and change, so much has happened, both in and out of the world of multisport and CrossFit. The Games debuted in Madison to huge crowds, a phenomenal women's battle, and the unfortunate fall out of the 3rd place finisher, Ricky Garrard, popping positive for PED's. Proving that no sport is without its ties to drug use for the purposes of high levels of performance. With an increased prize purse, and perhaps more importantly, big sponsor dollars on the line, athletes felt the benefits outweighed the possible pitfalls leading to what we have just witnessed. Kona is a few days away, and the hopes of an American on the top step of the podium lies with spitfire Heather Jackson, whom I'd really like to see win the big show. Would do the sport some good to add her flare on that podium.

Outside of sport, I, along with everyone else, witnessed acts of hatred, anger, evil across the globe, most recently in Las Vegas. I would feel remiss not mentioning all the other things that are going on in the world because those events continue to shape everything around us. The sport is but a mere blip on the screen when taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. To stick your head in the sand and pretend as though everything is fine is not just niave, it doesn't stop these things from happening. Charlottesville, part 1 and 2, happened. Protests in the NFL happened and continue to happen. Ignorance isn't an answer. Ignoring a problem doesn't mean that you are sitting on the sidelines either. You are still picking a side. Inaction is an action. Its a conscious decision. Trying to avoid a problem doesn't make it go away, and it doesn't mean its not happening. It just means that its not in your backyard, at least not yet, so you're more interested in social media than social discord.

I promised I would not get political on this site, and I will stick to that. Perhaps the biggest thing I've come to realize is that in my sport, Multisport, as in life, the fear of speaking out, or trying to be ambivalent when there are obvious injustices, when you or people you know are being treated with a lack of respect, consistently taken for granted, stepped on, when people are in obvious need - like Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico - staying silent is approval of injustices. It is taking a side. I have seen in my sport, companies come in, make ridiculous promises to athletes without any ability to deliver on a quarter of those promises, all the while fleecing good people of hard earned money with these pipe dreams. Knowing that multisport is filled with people who have money, and will spend money to "get faster", one company in particular has charged monthly fees to be a part of a team that does what exactly? What do those dues get? Looking at it from the business side, if people are willing to pay, then why not charge them? But the bigger picture is this - those fees, plus astronomical costs associated with buying the company's products does something that this sport has become very, very good at recently - alienating people. Shutting people out of the sport instead of inviting them in. Exclusivity is the norm now. And that's, well, that's just fucking sad.

I can't personally sit idly by and watch all this happen. Its not how I was raised. I've fussed over the wording of this post, hemmed and hawed about couching my words in a way that the message wouldn't be too harsh, and I stopped and realized something so important. Life isn't a popularity contest. If you are living your life as if you are trying to win votes to be homecoming King/Queen, you will probably find yourself very alone and very disappointed. When you take a stand for or against something, half the people will salute you, the other half will vilify you. But does it matter if anyone stands with you? If you believe in what you say, if you know that a wrong has been committed and that your words can help someone heal, help someone realize that they aren't alone, aren't you obligated to speak? If you don't, aren't you simply condoning the bad behavior?

Understand, I'm not saying companies shouldn't make money. I'm not saying this sport is cheap, and I understand how margins work. Everyone needs to eat. To be successful. To create something that is lasting and has value. In any sport, there will always be equipment costs, coaching costs, entry fees, etc, that will add up. What I'm saying is that if someone can't explain fees in one sentence, then its most likely bullshit. Is that an oversimplification? I don't think so.

Moreover, if you have decided to simply "take it" whatever "it" is, be it inequalities in sport, at work, in life, and not said anything, then you don't get to complain about what is now happening to you. Inaction is an action. Indifference is a position. Its what gets you what you got. What is the incentive for someone who has been allowed to be abusive to stop if nothing is said? If no action is taken to end it? If there is no threat of exposing the injustice, then it will continue. Until you decide it won't. You. Not the person next to you, or your followers on Instagram, or the person who delivers your UPS packages. You. Fuck popularity. If you aren't willing to be the change that you want to see in your world, if you are waiting for someone else to do it, think of this - what if everyone else is waiting for "someone else to do it"? That is the attitude that allows for stagnation, and eventually regret, cynicism and derision.

My hope is that people will read this and perhaps, think about the things in their lives that require them to take a stand. It doesn't have to be something big or grand, but that one act can have a positive domino affect. I know that by writing this, by following my dreams and not selling out, I can look my son in the eye. You can't put a price on being able to live with yourself. So that might mean that I don't have the 5 bedroom house, or the new car every 2-3 years. That's fine with me. I'd rather spend 90 hours working on what I love, making a quarter of what I can at a job that I hate in a 40 hour work week. I'd rather stand for what is right, knowing it will cause some to leave my side, but ensuring those who are true friends will remain. I'd rather go down swinging than sit on my stool and never get in the fight.

May all of you find the strength to stand for yourselves.

Stay strong.