Friday, July 10, 2009

Munich - Dachau

9th July 2009

Two thoughts seem to dominate my thinking today whilst Iam relaxing in Munich.
First I have spent a great deal of time analyzing these past few months and IM Austria .Where I can improve and avoid the same results. But most importantly how the race can and is a metaphor for life in many ways.I read Enrico's blog for that very reason .Many lessons to be learnt in Triathlons as corny as it sounds.

I realised that in the failure to realise my primary and secondary goals for the race I learnt an even more valuabe lesson. I take full ownership for what I do in the race , for all the decisions both good and bad ones and most importantly I learnt from them and how lucky I have been to enjoy the many opportunities I have had , the results I have had and all the more sweeter the future results will be.Taking responsibility and not dwelling on the result is critical.Move on with the lessons learnt but remember the mistakes. My mistake was not testing my nutrition in race conditions and adapting them to the weather.

The second thought that has dominated the day for me is the facts and history I learnt visiting Munich a big and historic city with a 850 year history.Despite that 850 year history the city and the country will forever have a 12 year past dominate its historic landscape ,the period of the reign of the third Reich and Hitler. The city is filled with small memorials to the fallen , the people who did try and stand up and fight for what was right and historic events in that period.The German people unlike others have learnt to take full responsibility for the past but have moved on.According to our guide ,luke most German children have a significant knowledge of the holocaust and the war.

Most moving was the visit to Dachau a concentration camp just outside Munich which was also the first Camp set up in 1933 and the training camp of all SS Guards and Commandants for all the concentration and extermination camps .Put into perspective the suffering of so many occurred because a small minority ie. the Nazis could by propaganda and fear influence a whole population .Humankind has a sense of repeating history.Dachau as a memorial was and is there to educate and the many victims convinced the US liberators to not tear down the gas chambers and crematorium was much later that the camp itself became a memorial.The lesson was Never Again should humankind perpetrate such violence on anyone . The lesson is still valuable as we face the same conditions that caused the kind of rise of Hitler.In 1928 Hitlers national Workers socialist party had approximately 2-3%of the vote and in 1932 it was over 30%.

The Euro elections have seen a rise in the right wing movement again for in fear and uncertainty we always blame someone and that someone is usually the bloke you don't know and who doesn't speak well or is a different colour.

That brought me to a conversation I had with a Canadian In Austria...David a motivational speaker .I asked a really dumb question...are all the triathletes he has met wonderful people? For me most of the people I have come across in the tri world have just been great but he said like in any company or organization or country , you will come across all kinds good and bad . He recounted an experience of a friend of his who was punched so badly in the swim by another athlete he had a swollen face .That is equally true for the tri family.There are the stuck up and aggressive triathletes and the many others who are giving of their experience.The trick is to weed the bad employees out or turn them around.

But what is important is to stand up for what you believe .If we stay silent we are liable to suffer.

There is a famous saying by a catholic priest in Germany during the war:

First they came for the Communist and I did not say anything.
Then they came for the Jews and I did not say anything.
Then they came for me and there was noone left to say anything.

Learn to not categorise and simplify the world .There are good and bad everywhere.