Not a crisis

author : Kyle Pawlaczyk
comments : 0
By Kyle Pawlaczyk 

I listen to a lot of sports talk radio. Hopefully, this explains why my brain functions so poorly.  If you listen to sports talk radio and are actually able to read the words I’m typing, you know that sports talk personalities can turn a complete non-issue into something worth talking about for three hours on the air.

I was driving into work last week, listening to SportsCenter AM’s personalities talk about how the Boston Red Sox started the 2011 season 0 and 6. They wondered to each other if the Red Sox were in a “crisis,” having started the season winless in their first six games. Immediately, my poorly-functioning brain reacted by saying: “Are you kidding? It’s a 162-game season and they’ve lost six games! Come September, the Mets will be losing that many games in a single weekend!”

Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge New York Yankees fan, and the idea that “Red Sox Nation” is squirming because of a 0-6 start delights me to no end. However, at this particular moment, I find myself identifying [cringe] with the Boston Red Sox. Let me explain.

My Red Sox-like opener

I opened my season at Ironman 70.3 California last weekend, and it did not go well. After losing touch with the main chase group during the swim, I spent most of the bike leg alone, trying to find my cycling legs. An “acceptable” run leg helped me salvage some pride and left me somewhere in the middle of the race’s very competitive pro field. After a long winter of hard work, it was a disappointing result, and not the way I wanted to begin my season.  The beginning to my season was much like that of the Boston Red Sox.

Does that mean that I am in a “crisis” mode, like ESPN Radio’s personalities might suggest? I don’t think so, and if you ask the people down at Fenway Park, they’re probably not panicking either. It’s a long season, and a difficult start can serve as a gentle reminder that competing against the best often requires a bit of “re-dedication” each season. It can also serve as a reminder of what being a “professional” in your sport entails.

Ups and downs

On that note, I recently watched a very good interview with Peter Reid and Jordan Rapp, two guys who I have admired from afar since beginning my triathlon career. The interview can be found here. It’s about an hour long, but if you’re a tri geek with too much free time and no life (like me), it’s definitely worth checking out. In the interview, both guys talk about what being truly “professional” meant for them. Having come across some of the sport’s best early in their triathlon careers, Jordan and Peter became acutely aware of the level of commitment necessary to succeed in triathlon. Jordan went to Canada to train and compete among the sport’s best; Peter did the same, moving to San Diego. Things were difficult for them at times, but they seem to appreciate the time, patience, and dedication it took to become a successful pro, and do a great job of articulating this throughout the interview.

Like many early moments of my pro career (including last weekend’s race), Peter and Jordan’s early experiences proved to be equal parts discouraging, eye-opening, and motivating, and seeing the best “do business” first-hand gives you a very clear impression of what it takes. Sometimes this experience reminds you that you have a lot of work to do. Other times, it reminds you that you are in a sport where success is measured by a body of work grown over months and years, and that patience is necessary. Kind of like a 162-game baseball season.

So, I got off to a bad start this year, just like the Red Sox. But things are looking up for them. Just this weekend, the Sox took two out of three from my beloved Yankees. Good news for me? I guess so. Ask me again at the All-Star break.


Follow more of Kyle's journey at his blog: Kyle Pawlaczyk - Pro Triathlete

Article Downloads
(2610 downloads)

Rating

Click on star to vote
5787 Total Views  |  41 Views last 30 days  |  7 Views last 7 days
date: April 14, 2011

Author


Kyle Pawlaczyk

After a collegiate distance running career, Kyle Pawlaczyk began racing triathlons in 2009. Kyle recorded two top-10 finishes in the Ironman 70.3 series in 2010, his first season as a pro. He resides in Charlottesville, VA.

This column will follow Kyle as he faces the challenges associated with becoming a viable professional in the sport of triathlon.

Author

avatarKyle Pawlaczyk

After a collegiate distance running career, Kyle Pawlaczyk began racing triathlons in 2009. Kyle recorded two top-10 finishes in the Ironman 70.3 series in 2010, his first season as a pro. He resides in Charlottesville, VA.

This column will follow Kyle as he faces the challenges associated with becoming a viable professional in the sport of triathlon.

View all 12 articles