Cross-Generational Collaboration In Sports And Science – Be Generous And Kind

Deer Feeder small file

Hi folks, welcome!

Deer ejected from feeder small fileWhen undertaking sports, don’t let your desire to win trump your humanity – help people along the way, if it is appropriate.

I was watching the deer around our bird feeder the other day, when a doe aggressively chased off a fawn. Later the fawn returned to graze in peace – yes, the bluejays throw seed on the ground! This got me to thinking about different types of behavior during triathlons I’ve undertaken. Boy, there are all sorts out there. I can understand, though not necessarily excuse, a certain amount of aggression if you’re younger and fighting for a Kona slot – but don’t lose perspective.

Aggression towards other athletes should never be expressed physically or verbally, especially on the swim – take a chill pill!

Patience rewarded.

Patience rewarded.

I’m in the older, and sometimes oldest, age groups, and even those guys can be a bit much, taking themselves too seriously. In fact, my favorite memories of races come from a local 5k run and the end of the Boston Marathon.

In the local run, I was approaching the finish line, and came level with a young African American woman, probably in her 30s. She was obviously very fit, but laboring along. I came alongside and said in her ear, “Do you want this old white guy to beat you?” She screamed, “NO!” and took off like a rocket. She had more oomph than she realized.

FitOldDog at the Boston Marathon 2009.

Boy, I’d love to do this again. I’m the guy in green. Note: I actually bought the photo and lost it, so I had to use this proof – sorry about that! Hope it doesn’t get me into trouble. I contacted the company about it – no reply.

In the Boston Marathon, as you pass mile 26 you think, “Ah, I’m done!” Then you look ahead to the remaining 0.2 miles, and it looks like a mountain – actually a gentle slope, less than 1% grade, if I remember correctly. In 2009, at the 26-mile line, I passed a young (40ish) Japanese guy walking tiredly, with slumped shoulders. I asked him if his friends and family were here at the finish line. He said that, yes they were! So then I said, “Do you want them to see you running or walking at the finish?” He thought for a second, and he took off like a rocket. You’re not necessarily as tired as you think you are!

Both of these young people high-fived me as I came over the line after them – it was the best part of these races for me, except maybe the beer and pizza.

It’s good to win, but not so good you should forget that all sports are really a team sport, in the broadest sense.

-k @FitOldDog


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.