By Scott Baldwin
Posted October 2014
As the season starts to wind down and we are finishing up our last race or two, there is one thing I’d like to remind ourselves of - being a good sport.
In the heat of the moment we need to remember to stay focused, stay positive, and keep our cool. Team FeXY® is full of good sports and it’s something we
can continue to be through example.
Sportsmanship, straight from Wikipedia, is an aspiration or ethos that a sport or activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with one's competitors. A sore loser refers to one who does not take defeat well, whereas a good sport means being a "good winner" as well as being a "good loser".
We all have an obligation to be conscious of our behavior and actions while training and racing; this includes being a positive representative of the team and of our sponsors.
We can have a large presence out on the trail/roads and at races...and people do recognize our gear and notice our actions - good or bad. Remember, then, that we all represent Team FeXY® while wearing the gear. So, it is important for us all to display good sportsmanship, even if the race/ride/run didn’t turn out the way we wanted.
I have heard all kinds of stories come in from the W&OD; from a team member stopping their workout to help a random person change a blown out tire, good example, to to team member cutting off a group of slower bikers because he or she were in the middle of a “very important” interval and couldn’t slow down, poor example. I prefer the former. No one workout is so important that we can’t slow down and help out (or be aware of) our fellow athletes…ever!
Our presence and actions do get noticed.
At a recent Team happy hour, I talked with a couple of prospective members. They both independently said "what an incredible presence we had at the Reston Triathlon, last month, and want to know how they can be part of it".
Be supportive of your teammates.
Part of what makes FeXY so amazing is there are so many athletic abilities and goals. While you may be racing in your 100th race, there could be a teammate standing next to you, completing in their first triathlon, with the goal of finishing with a smile. Think back to your first race - how nervous were you...how many questions did you have. Many unknowns. So, don’t be afraid to offer advice or kind words of encouragement.
Be a cheerleader for other teams.
There are many teams in the area and around the country; some are very similar to our Team, some very different. Whether it be our team or others, it really won’t negatively impact our performance to cheer each other on. But, it may help our performance by making us realize that we aren’t the only ones out there suffering on the race course. It may even makes someone’s race by being encouraged and knowing they were noticed.
Remember to have fun.
We aren’t professionals. We participate in this sport for many different reasons – because we love the sport, to maintain fitness, for the camaraderie, to reach goals you didn’t know were possible, or any other "laundry list" of reasons.
While setting season goals gives you focus, it’s important to not lose sight of the fun aspect or take yourself too seriously. Work towards those goals while pushing yourself and encouraging others, but if things don’t go the way you had planned, take a step back and assess. Learn from what worked or didn’t work, but remember to have fun while doing it.
A Good Sport plays by the rules.
In the sport of triathlon we have USAT as our governing body. They have a set of rules in and out of competition that we agree to follow as members. Things like drafting on the bike, pacing a runner, or taking performance enhancing drugs are not acceptable ways of getting that edge over your competition as a member of this Team. While no one on FeXY would ever do these intentionally, pacing and drafting can happen unintentionally if you aren’t vigilant.
Let’s all continue to work on being great Sportsmen and Sportswomen in the season to come. This is a great group of athletes. I believe that. Let’s just remind the rest of the triathlon community of that through great sportsmanship.