Team Stages 2022 Applications Open Through Nov. 2
This post was written by Team Stages Coach Markus M. Earnst. Team Stages is accepting applications for 2022 athlete through Nov. 2. Team Stages is open to cyclists, triathletes, runners or all-around athletes of all ability levels. Team members get access to coaching resources and industry discounts, including discounts on Stages Power meters, Stages Dash and SB20 Smart Bike, and the ability to paricipate in team challenges.
*Open to US athletes only, must be 18+
The Essence of Sport: What It Means to Be an Athlete
By Markus M. Earnst, Team Stages Coach
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves why we do what we do. What does sport mean to you?
For example: who is more of a runner? The person who runs a sub-2:15 marathon, or the person who is struggling to break 5 hours? The question asked is not “who is faster?” It is quite obvious who is the faster, more talented runner. The fast elite runner may not consider the 4-hour marathoner to truly be a runner, but that elite is missing the whole point of what being a runner actually means.
As a performance driven country, we apply “winner” and “loser” to nearly every facet of life, especially in athletics, and our legitimacy is judged on a spectrum of how near we get to “winner.” However, such expectations do not reflect the true nature of sports, and often make us lose sight of why we invest ourselves into sport in the first place. What does sport mean to you?
The beauty of the nature of sport, no matter running, cycling, swimming or football is how it fuels and changes lives. Both of our hypothetical runners have a story behind why they toed the start line, a story that leads their individual passions for running.
The pain, the tears, and the obstacle ridden path of the professional runner, cannot be understood by anyone but that runner. He or she has overcome immense odds to achieve their prowess. The elation painted on their face when they fight and claw and emerge victorious is what we see, celebrate, and personally revel within. Ask any elite athlete – they do not remember the numbers; they remember the journey.
Now, our runner who just managed to break 5 hours in the marathon…what is their story? They may be struggling and barely surviving the fight against cancer. For any number of reasons, waking up and facing the day may be a struggle. However, they woke up, showed up, and believed they might be able to achieve their goal for the day. Beyond their goals, they are likely demonstrating hope, perseverance, and pure grit to many unspoken observers. This runner’s pain and agony also cannot be understood by anyone but that runner. Their journey as journey and performance is equally as valid and impressive as the elite runner.
That is the beauty, essence, and reason of sport. It fuels, inspires, and changes lives – it is an intricate piece of our stories. Throughout your training and racing journey, take time to check in with yourself, and revisit why you do what you do, what sport means to you. Remember how powerful of a tool sport can be, both directly in your life and in the lives of those watching you walk through fire.