Photo © Peloton Magazine
Seeing this picture by Peloton Magazine and all the others of the beer throwing knobs at Cross Vegas crushed me. Worse, hearing Lars Van der Haar say he would second guess coming back because of 'the assholes throwing beer' at the racers made me even more sick.
Don't get me wrong. I want cross to be punk rock in a way, but not at the expense of flagrant idiocy which does none of us any justice.
Then I read this piece by Bill Schieken from in The Crosshairs. Great tribute and one I felt compelled to write about...as a person who gave up on writing some time ago! But subjects like this...as they relate to the credibility of our sport...a sport which I've bled for, broken bones for, evangelized to anyone, coached kids to believe in, made my parents understand and pleaded with my bosses for time off for is too important to my soul. So I wrote this 'addendum' to Bill's piece. Hope he doesn't mind...
This is an exceptional piece by Bill Shieken from InThe Crosshairs . Here's my 'addition' to his great piece:
-Don't bitch, help - There's so many characters in the sport now. Old curmudgeons, fanatical newbies, timid juniors and more. If you are new to the sport, and maybe found some success, and likely felt a connection to the scene and are so wrapped up in it all, you may suffocating the sport. Step back from it all, look at it for what it is, less for what you want out of it and what you can do to make it grow. Volunteer to marshall a race. Help with registration. Attend a city council on why CX should use the grass at some park. Show up. Be present. Understand it's special.
-Evangelize like it's wiffle ball, not the Tour de France - CX is hard. But if you're reading this, you probably know that. Don't gloat in it and how strong you are, and the 10 lbs you lost to cat up. Talk about the bike driving, the friends cheering, the rad bikes, the announcers who know your name, the insane courses we get the privilege to ride on and the beer. And get the people within earshot to understand it (and not you/your pursuits) and help and volunteer and be radicle. Keep it real, not cross-fit crazy, and just a great way to spend a beautiful fall day with friends.
-Help kids. We're at a weird place now in 2014 with a lot of 35-45-something people who have found religion over the past decade in endurance sports. Recreating themselves through suffering, while starting to raise their own families. Now they have brood, many of whom are seeing their sporting lens through their parents: CX, road races, triathalons and other endurance-specific pursuits which most kids really don't understand because their lives haven't developed enough to know the beauty of intentional suffering. I say, let them play...anything. Whatever they want. If they show an organic interest to drive bikes, then pounce on the bike-nerd-youngling and have fun, without talking racing. Just drive bikes like Adam Craig. Or run hills like the Kenyans, or play soccer like they saw on TV during the World Cup. That's it. If they want to drill a soccer ball into the net, let them do that, take Saturdays off from your racing and go see the gromm channel her inner Mia Hamm. Support it madly. Like you hear you being cheered at in a cross.
Cross is not dead - Bill didn't mean that. But it is accelerating fast and will turn into something massive(ly fun) if we do not poison it. It's up to us to decide how it evolves and what we want that evolution to be like. I want progression, but not at the expense of ridiculous asshattery I'm seeing in other growing "fringe" sports. Obviously this is subjective but maybe you know what I mean. Punk Rock is a perfect analogy as the purists would want to evangelize and make a newbie appreciate the message and the tone it was delivered...while the newbie interloper to the punk rock scene would scorn the newer newbie for being a newbie and having 'no appreciation or understanding'. Never good.
OK, rant is over. Thanks Bill.