There’ve been an awful lot of funny Youtube videos circulating the net lately - and posted to Facebook - that depict comic dialog about marathoners, the Ironman, runners vs. cyclists, running vs. jogging, and so on. Based on some candid conversations that I’ve had with other athletes, and certainly all of the comments that the Facebook postings garner, I’d say that we’re all having a pretty good laugh. Self-deprecation has a way of doing that.
As I was out on a 4-mile recovery run today, I was thinking about these videos, and the way we athletes view ourselves. We like to think we’re a bit off kilter, don’t we? Perhaps even obsessed. And you know what? Maybe we are…
But are we really any different, any more obsessed than the football fan who lives for Sundays between September and January, the guy or gal who spends $120 on a Giants jersey with a “Jacobs 27″ on it, and wears it as they vociferously watch the game each week?
Are we really any different than the office hoops junkie who can recite the starting lineup of every Boston Celtics team from 1977 to the present? Are we decidely less obsessed than the Mets fan who chatters every day from December thru February about what happened during the winter meetings, the status of each players contract, and how if so-and-so was healthy all of last season they would have won the division and made the playoffs?
You know what? These other sports fanatics are just as obsessed about their sport(s) as we are. There is no doubt in my mind. But you know what else? We’re different than they are. A lot different. And here’s how….
It’s because (with a few exceptions) we are not fans of multi-million dollar athletes. We are essentially fans of ourselves. And also of each other. We don’t live our sport vicariously thru the lives of other people on cable T.V from the cozy confines of our living room or den. We live out our sport in real life, and on real playing fields that we set our own feet upon.
And if, perchance, we find ourselves rooting for an athlete, it usually has nothing to do with winning or losing. It has to do with wanting the subject athlete to perform at their best, or do something that they have never done before, like running a greater distance. Maybe an ultramarathon, or an Ironman.
Or sometimes we’re just rooting for the athlete to have fun. Have you ever seen a Yankee fan do that, just root for Jorge Posada to have fun at his game tonight? Ha!
Because you see, our sport isn’t about winning and losing. No it’s not. It’s about self-improvement, and community, and balance, and creating good health, and a better quality of life, and so much more. And to be sure, it is about having fun.
So are we runners, cyclists, marathoners, triathletes and ultrarunners all obsessed? Quite probably. ;p
Is it anything for you to worry about? Well, I’ll leave that up to you.
But one thing’s for sure: As obsessions go, it’s a pretty good one to have.