This past Friday I ventured to an elementary school in Louisville (right outside of Boulder) to speak to a group of fourth graders about triathlon and health. I was not sure how interested 10 year olds would be in triathlon, but they were very engaging and, honestly, insightful. When I asked them to help me list off a number of factors that contribute to success in sport and life they left me with littles else to add. Their understanding of hard work, nutrition, and health seemed well beyond my own understandings at their age ( and I considered myself to be more conscientious than most as their age). I tried to keep my presentation educational, but more importantly, fun. I was secretly trying to recruit a couple athletes, but I didn't want to come across as pushy!
I mention recruiting because my house recently added a new resident, Australian Triathlete Joe Gambles. Joe is a 26 year old professional from Tasmania who is stateside for six months to race in North America. When he arrived we spent some time asking questions about each other; sports and otherwise. We are still in the process of getting to know one another, but he did tell me a bit about his background (read his website for more info from the link above).
One fact I will pull from his bio is that he raced his first professional race at 16. I might be one year older than him in human years, but his athletic lifespan makes me look like a little pup. I spent my teen years getting to know Mr. Marlboro.
At any rate, his athletic lifestyle has not deterred his motivation and its pretty exciting to see that someone who has been racing for more than half their life is ready to tackle his training (he puts in 30 hours while working in AUS) and racing. Sport is the life he knows. I'm sure he will continue to do well and hopefully I can learn some things from him while he lives across the hall.
Back to the kiddos...
My hope, current and long term, is to grow the participation of triathlon with America's youth. I'd like to see 26 year old Americans mention that they have been racing for ten years (and still love the sport).
Check back in 30 years and see how that is coming along.
The Jouney of JD Part Two is now live on Xtri here.
Its May 13th and its snowing in Boulder.