I'm not good at anything.

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I was invited to play golf on Saturday with some old fraternity brothers in Lake Geneva.  After a week of intense training, I thought a little golf and bonding with old friends could be just the ticket to sooth my aching hamstrings.

After a few holes, it became very clear that I was the worst player in our group (best dressed however).  I'm an OK golfer, but I am not what you would consider a good golfer.

As I searched for my third ball on a par 5, I started to think, "I'm not really good at anything."

Put away the pity violins and stay with me for a minute.  I love triathlon, but I pretty much end up in the lower half of my age group.  I am not a good triathlete.

I love to bike, but get dropped like a fat kid at prom time on group rides.  I am not a good biker.

Same with swimming and running, back of the pack.  Not good, not fast.  I have told my wife on several occasions, "if I am ever in the lead, call 911, something has gone horribly wrong."

The last thing I was truly good at in sports was high jump in college,  but even then I blew my knee out and after that wasn't very good.

Just because I'm not traditionally good at a lot of sports, doesn't keep me from enjoying them and participating.  This is what draws a lot of people to endurance sports and sports in general, the individual accomplishment over the overall victory.  I out drove my friend Scott and got a par on a hole, as opposed to the rest of my triple bogie's.  I was thrilled!

Someone will win the Ironman in Wisconsin, someone will win the 1/2 Marathon, someone will win the marathon and plenty of people will place in their age group. For that good for you. For the other 50-60 thousand other athletes, who aren't very good, but are very focused, driven and passionate, making it to the finish line in any amount of time is a great accomplishment in itself. Which should also be celebrated.

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Last year, I was volunteering for a race in Wisconsin, help by a local
triathlon shop here in town.  One of their sponsored athletes won the
entire thing, crossed the finish line, looked at his watch and dropped
the F-Bomb in front of the entire crowd, because he didn't PR.  About 3
hours later a the last triathlete crossed the finish line with his
kids, a smile on his face, skipping like a kid, loving every minute of
it.  Though he would be considered "not good" by any standards, guess who was the better sport, role model and example for others to follow.

I knew another guy who was a hammer on the bike and decided to try
triathlon.  His goal from day #1 was to be on the podium at a race. 
After a season of great times, but no podiums, he burnt out, sold all
of his stuff and never raced again.  I asked him a little later on, did
you ever have fun.  "No." was his answer.

I may not be good, but I have a great time trying, from golf to kayak racing (not good at that either, Amy Freeze...good) I have a blast and I push myself to get better.

Just because you are not good, doesn't mean you are bad.  I have started my own team for not good athletes, I call them the Good For You Guys/Gals. 
We are the people that plod past the tired crowd, hot, slow, bruised and
beaten.  You can hear the fans yelling as we slowly make our way to the
finish line "Good For You!!!"  Keep Going, Good For You!!!"

So the moral of this big race weekend sermon, if you're good at a
sport, that's great, it you're not so good, that's not bad.  Have fun,
race hard, celebrate the fact that you are out there, trying, part of
something bigger than all of us.  Good For You.

Comments

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  • Way too often when you get together with triathletes everyone automatically falls into the PR discussion, how many miles they rode last week, how many miles they ran this weekend, what races they are doing this year, and where they placed. It is rarely about how much fun they had or what they did with their family last weekend. I like your perspective Dave.

  • You're a good blogger & writer! Honestly, though, I love your post. Sports are far from who's the best, it's about the activity, the competition, and enjoying yourself. I think it would be boring to be the best all the time anyway. The challenge is what makes sports great.

  • Thanks guys. I appreciate the feedback. If it's not fun, then why do it? I think they call that "work.":)

  • Dave, that is a great article. So true and often lost in the desire to excel and win at all we do. Having just finished the Chicago half marathon, very much in the middle/lower half of the pack but being cheered on the whole way by great Chicago support and running the entire race with my wife, I had a blast and feel great for having just completed the race (and well done to the winners...)

  • Great post, Dave.

    Minutes before my first marathon, I heard a a woman saying to herself "make it your race... you're not following anyone... you're running your own race...have fun..." etc. and that really caught my ear. I loved her attitude, and have thought of her many times while running subsequent races.

  • Great post, Dave.

    Minutes before my first marathon, I heard a a woman saying to herself "make it your race... you're not following anyone... you're running your own race...have fun..." etc. and that really caught my ear. I loved her attitude, and have thought of her many times while running subsequent races.

  • This is so timely! I'm done with my major goal events and was reflecting on this season and how I was a very mediocre performer. It got me in a funk.
    With racing over for the year, my husband and I just did a recreational ride this weekend -- the Lakeshore Century. I had a blast and it was the most fun I've had riding all year.

  • This is a great post! Thank you so much for drawing attention to this. I am not good at anything either. I finished the swim in the Olympic triathlon with 95 percent of people swimming faster than me! But, I was out there and I did it, and that in and of itself is an accomplishment.

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