After being questioned recently about cycling, racing, my team, and why I love what I do I felt the desire to answer this question a little more in depth. What is my end goal? What am I doing? Why do I ride? Why do I love sports? It is a good question to answer without a simple, 'Well, it just makes me happy' which is where cycling began for me... to create a way of exercise, friendships, and fun! But now, over time cycling has become a little more than that to me, in which I didn't even realize. So, I wanted to look a little more intrinsically at my motivation and why I love the competition, because competition within sports can simply move us and consume us all in a very passionate way....one way or the other. Whether you are a non-competitive cyclist, to an avid Alabama football fan, or a professional athlete- the heart of the sport is within the competition of the sport, which moves us all.
It honestly stumped me for a minute...Until I sat down and thought about exactly why sport and cycling is important, and why racing is important, and why our team is important to our city, community, and society. I thought about the history and power of sports, and the power of cycling within our society, outside of my initial response of, 'It's just so much fun!'.....so I decided to look deeper and write about WHY I RIDE.
Sports draw us in for many reasons, such as the elegance, the competition, the history, and our identifying with great athletes of the past and of today. The success and failures. It is the essential building block of a prosperous and healthy society, and without it, a society can fail. Sport brings people together by celebrating common ideas of fairness, discipline, struggle, success, failure, and hope. Sports provides everyone in a society with some form of coming together, no matter background, race, religion, political beliefs, age, or gender. Sport can create a sense of community, in a shared story, no matter the individual involvement, or even participation.
According to the United Nations, “ Sport has the unique power to attract, mobilize, and inspire. By its very nature, sport is about participation. It is about inclusion and citizenship. It stands for human values such as respect for the opponent, acceptance of binding rules, team work and fairness, all of which are principles which are also contained in the Charter of the United Nations.”
Within our community, Sport often parallels our daily lives, which is why athletes in our communities can be so powerful and so IMPORTANT to developing our societies. It touches the lives of everyone. Both sport and life, whereby one must work between guidelines, expectations, challenges, rules, and outlines to live and execute by. In both, one must work efficiently, diligently, and intellectually to succeed. In sports, nutritional theories, nutrition guidelines, and training regiments can give some help to execute victoriously within the parameter of each sport. It is inspirational, where, within fairness and hard work, we see great athletes opposing the odds, pushing through obstacles, taking risks, and finishing a race first. Athletes work tirelessly to do 'better' within these boundaries... without being unfair or bending the rules. This process is exhausting and inspirational. I would call it RISING ABOVE THE ODDS.
Following the rules within a meaningful game or race, where limitations exist and are adhered to, and watching the victory through strength, fitness, intelligence, tactics, genetic perfection, nutritional expertise, sometimes luck, and the hard work and discipline of Sport is simply INSPIRATIONAL. This idea often parallels the daily grind of daily life. We all have boundaries within our daily lives, and within these boundaries we must execute to move up, to push through, above, or beyond. Within these boundaries of sport, creates a sense of security, fairness, and even magic.
What makes the magic and spirit of sports come alive is the execution of a victory, fairly, while adhering to the boundaries of the sport This is also why cheating creates such a huge emotional response within every beating heart, and which can kill the majesty of sport, or victory, within an instant. No one wants to watch the magic of sport die by deceit, inequality, or unfairness. Sport, which can unify countries, states, cities, or communities is an event to share the magic of success amongst opposition and that is CAPTIVATING because it creates a society filled with HOPE. Whether success or failure, sport bonds people in a way that nothing else can physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually.
The power of sport is not about about the athlete, or even just the sport itself, but the subconscious mirroring of the grind that we ALL desire to rise above. Just to be a part of the journey of the challenge or struggle of a deserving and humble athlete’s road to success or failure, can bring people together. The athlete, the sport, the team, the coaches, the family, the fans, the enthusiasts, spectators, sponsors, doctors, friends, or dreamers all surround the importance of sport within our communities, which essentially is a common bond within unusual backgrounds and circumstances. EVERYONE participates and feels the failures and victories of a good athlete or team. There is nothing worse than to hear an elitist athlete rant about the me, me, me, me, me... when, in reality, the success is MORE about the we, we, we we.... The mother that drove you everyday to practice, the bike mechanic who tirelessly put together every working detail, the coach, the friends support, THE SPONSORS, or family sacrificing for the dream of the athlete.... There is simply, never-ever, a 'me' in sport.
The truth is, sport is a parallel of life which we can all relate to, where many of us struggle to rise above obstacles and this daily grind. We all know we can't do it alone, despite the individuality we strive to possess. However, the spirit and tenacity of athletes to persevere, fairly, within these boundaries of sport, gives hope to our day to day lives. It gives us the hope to succeed, and helps us all to reflect on our own lives, which will always provide us a deep love for the heart of competition. Which, for me, is cycling.