Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Triathlon Culture


Culture (Latin: cultura, lit. "cultivation")[1] is a modern concept based on a term first used in classical antiquity by the Roman orator, Cicero: "cultura animi". The term "culture" appeared first in its current sense in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, to connote a process of cultivation or improvement, as in agriculture or horticulture. In the 19th century, the term developed to refer first to the betterment or refinement of the individual, especially through education, and then to the fulfillment of national aspirations or ideals. In the mid-19th century, some scientists used the term "culture" to refer to a universal human capacity. For the German nonpositivist sociologist Georg Simmel, culture referred to "the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history".[2]


The triathlete is now a fast growing and readily recognized but diverse group of people. Still not so large it is a mainstream sport but what it lacks in popular sports culture it makes up with a core of dedication that will rival the religious jihadist .As Crowie says in the video clip it is dominated by Type A people so much so that if they were told if you eat 20 jellybeans you will go faster , lots will do it. Pure stupidity or unquestioning search for improvement.

The Triathlon culture is out there in the community , a group of like minded individuals who seem to embrace a complete lifestyle with a unique language and dress code. No different to the Amish . 

To some it borders on obsessive and extreme behaviour but no different to your ardent train or plane enthusiast or AFL Footy supporter . We thrive in the collective of our ideas and shared values. Sometimes it is ridiculous and sometimes very country or regional centric with the speedo issue the butt of ribbing in Kona each year with many Europeans walking around in speedo's which has launched the underpants run in Kona.

Tattoos are another reasonable sub group in the Triathlon Culture. IM is one of a handful of Brands on skin.It shows the depth and commitment of the following to Ironman a large subset of the Triathlon Culture. I haven't see Coke or Pepsi on any one's skin yet.

And yet for all the compulsiveness that seems to exude in this sport , it is for a lack of a better word , probably better to be in this culture mix of swim , bike and run then any other . Sure at the the extreme end , Ironman racing ,  it takes its toll on the body and literary shaves cells from your heart tissue , but it beats being a couch potato .

It transcends all ages . With the World Ironman Championship next weekend , there will be the usual  celebration of the many and especially the masters such as Theo Carroll at age 68 .Not quite the oldest but still as inspiring ( Preparing for her 7th Ironman .By Billy Cox Herald- Tribune)

I for one admit I am in this small but growing group of  Lycra wearing athletes .