Jan 23, 2010

Searching for Strength

It’s been almost 3 years since I began writing about triathlon. Originally, I wanted to write about each race as a way to chronicle my growth as an athlete. My writing wasn’t thought out, but it was passionate. If you go all the way back to my first few posts, you can feel my pain and glory. I wrote for myself. I never had any intention of letting anyone else read my thoughts about life or triathlon. Well, things change over time. There are several individuals that made me the athlete I am today. It was their advice, guidance, and encouragement that formed me. In time, I have realized that everyone is shaped by their surroundings, and it is your peers that help make you who you’re supposed to be. Without a few people, I wouldn’t be in Tucson right now. I wouldn’t be chasing my dreams, and I wouldn’t be writing this.

Deer Creek 2007 - first triathlon ever.

Life was much different when I did my first triathlon. It was almost 3 years ago. My roommate at the time, Brendan Barton, went to Columbus with me for the race. He was the person who introduced me to everything triathlon. He was one of the people who helped make me who I am. Thinking back, if it wasn’t for his guidance, I wouldn’t have even made it in the water that morning. I was messing around in transition without my body marked 5 minutes from the start of my wave. I had no clue what I was doing. I think back on that day without any hesitation. It was a turning point in my life. After the race, I was hobbling back to the car with Brendan at my side. He told me something I will never forget. He said “AJ, I swear to god. If this was just a one time thing, I will never talk to you again.” He was the first person to ever make me think that I had potential as an athlete. He was the first person who thought that I could go somewhere special in triathlon. Even I thought he was crazy when he said it, but his words have come back to me countless times during training and racing. All it takes is one person to believe in someone. I like to think that I had some type of impact on his first Ironman. I like to think that he drew strength from me at some point that day. Regardless, as athletes we are constantly looking somewhere, anywhere, for strength. Once you find that source, you’re golden.

So maybe that is why I started writing about triathlon. Maybe it is a way for me to reflect on my life and, once again, gather strength from the people that originally influenced me. Maybe it is a way for me to influence others and provide them with strength. I have an eternal dept to this sport. I’ll never hesitate to give back to it. The kindnesses of others have shaped me as an athlete. I look forward to the day that I can be as influential as the people that helped me.

This week hasn’t been a good one. But again, it has been the people around me who have made it better. Earlier in the week, I got side swiped by an idiot driver. I later realized that my shifting was all tweaked. One of the guys from swim practice, an unemployed bike mechanic, came over and fixed my bike up. His simple generosity went a long way. Today, I flatted 10 miles from home. My spare was leaking and I don’t know anyone’s number in this whole city. It didn’t take long for a random guy to pull over and offer me a ride back

This week’s circumstances have made me really think. The old saying is true. What goes around comes around. Don’t be afraid to help others. Believe in your friends and tell them so. Your encouragement goes a long way. At the end of the day, your friends will be the ones telling your story, and we all want to be remembered the right way.

Cheers everyone.

1 comment:

  1. This post is exactly how I feel about the sport. Gathering inspiration from others, providing inspiration to those who want to listen.

    Game On AJ. Keep on writing.