Journey Of A Triathlete
I think back to my days of playing high school football. I think back to what has defined me as a person. I think back to why do I do what I do? I think back to a time as a kid watching Ironman Kona as Julie Moss collapsed before the finish line.
A bright eyed youngster astonished to see an athlete of her caliber not able to finish the pinnacle of all Ironman races. What could drive someone to push so hard and for so long to the point of utter exhaustion? This makes me think back to when I first started competing in Triathlons. What was and is my drive, purpose, focus and reason for getting up so early most days to train.
No one cares, asks or even lifted an eyebrow about me being gay. I have found that every online registration is the same. Name, address and an emergency contact should something happen while on the course and pay your race dues.
During my first race registration I scoured the website looking for the “gay” box to check. You know the one where you think EVERYONE is staring at you during an event composed entirely of straights.
Race day came and went without a hitch, no need for anyone to get disinfected because “he” swam in the pool, biked or ran next them. As I quickly discovered, I was the one feeling like all eyes were on me. Come to find out we do this to each other before and during the race, this is not some form of mating ritual or an attempt to find a date. This is purely the competitive nature of any athlete and is brought out in all of us during a race. No matter if we are straight or gay, white or black, married or single. Race day is the day that everyone is equal and everyone has a chance to win, PERIOD. This is truly an event based on your abilities, training and coach’s input.
After several races, I began to meet other tri-athlete’s. Most are straight but everyone once in a while I meet a fellow brethren or sister. When any of us compete we are there for one singular goal which is to either place in your respective age group or set a new PR (personal record). This one singular action drives ALL athletes no matter what sport, gender, sexual orientation or any other external factor.
When a gay or lesbian athlete competes he/she does so to win due to their competitive nature. We compete to win at life, win at being a human being, and win at being a productive member of society. We are who we are and can’t and won’t change for anyone. This is the problem most sports channels, broadcasters and athletes have. They can’t understand why we just don’t change or even go away. As of late we have heard the ramblings of homophobias in the sports arena.
I find it absurdly humorous that the anti-gays are yelling so loudly against us on TV. But these same people are quit and humble when they are cashing their enormous pay checks that we helped them achieve on the field. I look forward to the journey we are about to embark on!
Spokes is a Richmonder and resident of Virginia for 10 years. He is a small business owner with a passion for outdoor activities - competing in numerous triathlons, sprints, olympics and half ironman distances.
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