Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pro vs. amateur

Most sports have me by the throat. (Except for this cage fighting thing.) I'd rather be out there doing it all myself, but I'm also happy to sit at home in front of the box or laptop (explaining everything to a nearly 12-week-old) watching nefariously.

I'm also a biker - nothing serious - really just semi skinny tyres on an old mountain bike to get me to work and back - so the Tour de France is one of my annual highlights. Last year I was totally sucked in. Had tears in my eyes (I get a bit emotional about all this stuff, much to my partner's bemusement) as Floyd Landis smoked everyone away. Subsequently, I almost decided to boycott watching it this year as I got extremely tired of the doping scandals.

But looking at this year's lineup, all the 'good' boys seemed to be there. Hey, even NZ's Julian Dean was competing! So down I sat each evening (explaining everything to a nearly 12-week-old), just delighting in the performances of both individuals and teams. Contador, Soler, Vino, Evans, Kloeden, Liepheimer, Rasmussen, Dean. But really, every single one of the boys on the roads. And who could forget Vino's pain and sheer grit and determination that had him winning not only a time trial but also a right nasty section of the Pyrenees, with 60 stitches in his knees!

And then last night it all turned sour again. Vinokourov has been sent packing, and the entire Astania team with him.

Well, last night I managed the first 176 pages of the final Harry Potter and, as always, am hanging on every word (also dreamed about it all night (well, 'til we were awoken at 0300 and never really got back to sleep), which had me thinking that there are probably MILLIONS of folks of all ages having similar dreams).

And it dawned on me that watching via my laptop the progress of those great girls and boys in the Missouri 340 is what it's really all about. The pure - amateur - FUN of paddling - whether it be a race or for the sheer heck of it - and with a group of like-minded folks who are similarly as passionate about propelling themselves along with a stick in two hands, and a vessel of some sort to steer them by.

And I'll also mention that Dawn (aka SandyBottom) is SMOKIN' that Missouri!


Michael said...

So true, Kristen. We get caught up in the thrill of professional sports, its actors, drama and intrigues, but pushing ourselves ahead on our bikes or in our boats is really what it's all about. Great post!

Noel said...

Great post, very well written!

I am not a sports junkie but the tour was on my very short list. Over the last few years it has fallen back off. I barely remembered that it was happening but I have read about the M340 3 times today.

Go Dawn and Mark and all the others!