I had mixed feelings of envy and delight when I saw friends post selfies while they watched the recently concluded Ironman triathlon last weekend.At this I thought, had I been there myself, I would have joined in their excitement (and selfie frenzy). It had seemed surprising that a large chunk of Dabaweños, plus those in neighboring Panabo and Tagum, had turned up to brave the intense heat of the day and amass along the route of this major sports event. This alone was a noteworthy indication that public interest in this sport format had indeed grown in the city.
Being an open competition of sorts, the race had attracted both international and local professionals and amateurs alike, not to mention a few weekend warriors who just wanted to be in on the fun (or torture). Surely, these uninitiated few, without ample preparation and training, but nonetheless oozing with confidence and a no-pain-no-gain mindset, came in, complete with selfie sticks, and their tag-along crew of close friends who bore witness to their finishing the race (if at all). Alas, who cares, nothing beats participation in sports anytime.
Personally, I had a special interest in the event because a couple of my close friends participated in this here Davao leg of Ironman. One is a long-time friend-doctor, who is no stranger to these types of extreme outdoor competitions. He religiously balances his pedia practice with a regular roadwork that is really worthy of praise. As an avid music lover also, he had jokingly referred to his training and preparations for the triathlon as having been interspersed with a night out with friends, so that in his own words, “it’s inuman then ironman”.
Another pal, a Bukidnon farmer, might not have directly participated, but his two young daughters had joined in the kiddie bracket of the competition. In other past competitions, not only were they mere finishers, they were deserving medal winners as well. Because of this, daddy-o, a non-sportsman, had somehow become naturally drawn into supervising and the training of his daughters, despite having no experience in coaching. Judging from their earlier successes however, it was quite clear that his lack of credentials had greatly been outmatched by fatherly dedication and total support for their passion to run and compete.
(After this writing, I learned that the girls won third and fourth place respectively!)
When thinking of all the athletes and enthusiasts who made the event a success, I am reminded of a theory I read somewhere. It hints that, within us all, there lies a dormant enzyme that can only be activated when we involve ourselves in sports activities. Once awakened, its innate ability thrives and thereby influences our demeanor and character, cleans out the moral compass, fine-tunes our concepts of rules, and more important, instills the rudiments of discipline. I am sure the sports-minded pips among us will agree.
But, like that secret enzyme, is there another hidden message in this brief chitchat? Our keywords might as well have been: Goals, Participation and Support, but at the end of the day, these only matter little, as something else is more important.
Wouldn’t it just be grand, that while we push towards any goal, a baby step at a time and without pressure from the outside world, we treat and run our life race the same way, on our own terms? Let the others watch as we disappear in the horizon towards our own sunset and finish line.
Ready, get set…