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October 13, 2009

Why do we compete? (lessons from lunchruntuesday)

I had a rather strange morning, going to Stellies to collect a car for my pops (check out his rear fender accessory here) and have 2 quick meetings, one with the honorable Dan Hugo, the other with a client.

After waiting for an hour (first meeting quick and klaar early) my 2nd meeting cancelled on me, wait for it, 15 minutes before the meeting was supposed to commence. Via email nogal, which made the taste that more woolies sour worm-ish.

Nevertheless, I took off towards the SafeHouse2.0, with some running gear in the car, and on the way had a look up at the sky, and made the decision to run early, over lunch today. What a decision.

Shirtless, I ran the trail around Lions Head and Signal Hill. 1 hour 7min today. I kid you not, the view was this good towards Clifton…

It was perfectly still.

Since the weekend, and Ironman Hawai, I have had this image stuck in my head, and its jumped back a few times in actual conversation with people.

This is the image…

Its one of the best images I have seen in ages, and gave me goosebumps when I first saw it. Its two guys, at the TOP of their game, in battle. Some people choose to fight battles with their fists, others with their minds. As a guy who loves Ironman, we choose to fight a loooong fight, in the ocean, then over land on a bike, and finally, we don our running shoes for the marathon.

The two guys in the picture are amazing, humble guys in person, from what Dan tells me about Andreas, and from what I know about Crowie, having met the dude last year. I also saw a tweet about them all being together at a braai tonight, chilling, having a good time. Those same two guys.

In that moment, they would not share a potato if it was the last thing on earth, even if they are friendly. They would not give each other an inch. Its the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, and a big paycheck is on the line, as well as a huge amount of honor and history.

Nobody remembers 2nd place in Kona.

F A C T

Pure competition only lasts as long as the competition is running. Further from that, its rivalry that extends to a personal dislike of that said person. Competition isn’t personal. Thats why I love it.

The image has had me thinking about the choices Pro’s make to give up corporate jobs to be there, IN THE MOMENT, in battle, competition, because that’s why they train, for the love of competition. Its why they race, for the love of competition. Yes, there is the money aspect, but I bet if you asked Tiger Woods if he would be happy being a semi-wealthy guy, instead of a billionaire, if the competitions were the same, I bet he would.

That’s why guys CHOOSE to throw their whole lives into the eggbasket of a small sport, in spite of there being limited cash involved.

Its for the competition, to go Mano e Mano on the playing field.

Its pure…

and I am in love with that feeling. To be right there, in the moment. Nothing else exists.

Could that be me? YES, I believe if I had the financial backing to take 3 years to get there, I could be there. I would have to give up just about everything I know, move countries, expectations, life goals, etc to be that guy, and that is why guys like James Cunnama do it, to be there, in that moment, racing the other guy, with ALL you have got.

Its honorable beyond belief in a society filled with fast solutions. There is no fast solution to get to the top. Something reiterated by Dan today during coffee. The kid is looking lean and mean, and knows the value of hard work, but he knows he still has hours to do, to pay his dues, to get to the top. He too, is taking the life I am talking about here.

I salute you, every single pro out there, in any sport, living the dream of being involved in competition in the moment. You are amazing.

I have a tiny drop of jealousy going about this, but value the life I am carving for myself just as much, because I took the chance to pursue a passion really close to me too, which is storytelling, which I now do for a living, leaving the corporate side for this. I have NO regrets. Life is GOOD.

Its alot of thought for a one hour run, but time did seem to stand still there for that while, running there, in the moment, at lunch time on a Tuesday, above one of the most beautiful coastlines in the whole world.

There is very little I would swop that for…

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