Obstacle Racing in Perspective

perspective“Child, you have to learn to see things in the right proportions. Learn to see great things great and small things small.”― Corrie Ten Boom

WARNING:  Strong opinions ahead.  Read with caution!

Obstacle racing is growing at a blistering pace.  Media exposure, sanctioning, OCR professional racers, and world championships have seemingly sprung up over night.  Money is a much bigger factor than it was just a couple of years ago.  When corporate sponsors and multi-millions of dollars come into play, things change – some for the better, but others not so much.  Money doesn’t travel alone.  Money brings exposure.  Money brings greed.  Money brings attention.  Money brings opportunity.  It brings excitement, scrutiny, skepticism, anger, and even vitriol.

Citizens of the OCR world are slowly, but steadily viewing the sport they we love with a microscopic eye.  We eat and breathe OCR and then share our thoughts in blogs (guilty), Facebook (guilty again), & Twitter (still guilty) where voices are amplified.  For some it’s a hobby, for others it’s a lifestyle, for a few (very, very, very few) it is a job.  We’re passionate about OCR, which is what helped launch the sport, but when I read things that are tinged with extreme anger & harsh judgment, I fear that our passion sometimes overpowers our perspective.  It seems as if minor news and events get turned into grand issues, particularly through social media.  While OCR is a fabulous sport (my sport) and has had tremendous impact on many individuals, in the grand scheme of life, obstacle racing simply isn’t all that important.  Wow!  I just said that.  [editor’s note: It’s difficult to preach to yourself.]

Not convinced that OCR isn’t all that important?  Don’t just take my word for it.  Ask others.

Ask the social worker who just discovered an abused 6-year old girl if he cares about the formula for determining the best OCR athlete.

Ask the fireman comforting a family wailing over the loss of their home what he thinks about a for-profit company sanctioning OCR events.

Ask the 17 year-old girl consumed with guilt for accidentally killing her best friend in a car accident if she cares that a racer didn’t do “real” burpees when penalized.

Ask the military men stationed in war-torn Afghanistan for a year if they realize how big of a deal it is to finish a 3-day Spartan Death Race.

Ask the widowed mother of 2 young children if she cares that an obstacle racing company went bankrupt.

Ask the 70 year-old woman who just buried her last sibling if it’s terrible that volunteers at obstacle races are inconsistent with rules.

Ask the homeless woman if she cares that someone didn’t make the podium at the latest (fill in the blank of your favorite brand) race.

Ask the 35 year-old man riddled with cancer and vomiting multiple times per day what he thinks about Crossfit for obstacle race training.

Ask the wife whose husband of 25 years unexpectedly abandoned her if she thinks Tough Mudders are better than Spartan Races.

Ask the 8 year-old orphan who witnessed the murders of her entire family in the name of religion if she thinks OCR should be more obstacle-centric.

After crafting this post, I’m even more convinced that we should enjoy obstacle racing for what it is: fun and games. Yes, it’s a game.  It’s a fun and challenging game.  So, celebrate the achievements. Relish the inspiration.  Embrace the motivation.  Remember the life-changing events.  Engage in competition.  Cherish the camaraderie.  Grow the sport.  Debate and address issues, just don’t place OCR too high on life’s pedestal and judge OCR-related issues as earth-shatteringly important.  At the end of the day, we I must realize that there are numerous other things in life considerably more paramount than obstacle racing.  If we’re I’m going to be overly passionate about something, then that passion should be directed toward addressing the true tragedies and injustices in this life.

These opinions are my own and you can choose to agree or disagree.  You can find more stuff like this (most of it a bit less philosophical) at http://www.facebook.com/onmywaytosparta

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5 thoughts on “Obstacle Racing in Perspective

  1. Hey Jeff, great post as usual! Of course this is true with most things in our lives…and we need to be reminded sometimes of perspective when things get “over-the-top”. In defense of these discussions though, passion is what drives progress (just ask Joe or any of the hundreds of Spartan faithful). Passion is what makes life worth living! I think we often feel that passion is misguided when it doesn’t fit in with our personal views of how things should be…lol. But even a good screaming match can lead to beneficial re-evaluations of positions afterwards (but don’t tell my ex I said that!!). Anyway, let’s see how things develop in the fast times of OCR…and look forward to the next post!

  2. Pingback: Obstacle Racing Blogs: Must-Read Posts from 2014 | On My Way To Sparta

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