Welcome to my new website, blog, and podcast – the Minimal Multisport Athlete! It’s a mouthful! If you’ll give me a few minutes, I’ll cover a little bit about who I am, why I started this project, and what you can expect from it.
I have a long history in sports – as a kid I participated in soccer, basketball, baseball, swimming, cross country, track, weight lifting, and even a tiny bit of gymnastics. After college I took up racing triathlons (a three-leg multisport race, typically consisting of swimming, cycling, and running), and turned professional several years after that. Note, however, that I was definitely a C-list pro, and never made any real money from it (I worked full time to pay the bills). I’ve since largely stepped away from endurance sports competition to train for mixed martial arts – Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, thai boxing, and American boxing. I’m certainly no expert, but I love doing it and have met a ton of great people through it.
In my working life, I’ve worked for several manufacturers in the cycling and outdoor industry in a variety of roles. I also have several years of experience in journalism, as the former Tech Editor for LAVA Magazine, and current one for Slowtwitch.com. If you’re not familiar with Slowtwitch, it’s the #1 triathlon website in the world, with a very active reader forum. I also took the plunge this year to start my own marketing agency, focusing on the outdoor industry (website to come).
Why start this website? I’m passionate about multisport, which is any event that includes multiple different skills. I like this format because it favors well-rounded athletes, which always appealed to me. Also, it’s just more FUN to get to learn more skills and meet new people.
Now, why the name “Minimal Multisport Athlete”? Minimalism is a big topic these days, with lots of talk about downsizing, de-cluttering, or living with more intention. I’ve learned a lot from this “movement”. I’m not saying that you should sell everything you own, and everyone has to find their own specific path. But… I think that most people (Americans especially) would benefit from consuming less, organizing their life, and freeing up time to do things that are more important to them.
I apply the principles of minimalism to multisport – 1) to have a balanced life, 2) to have more fun, and 3) to actually get better at the sport(s) by focusing on the most important and fulfilling things. Being in the outdoor industry, I’ve seen firsthand how much the focus has switched from being a good athlete and experiencing cool stuff, to owning all of the latest technology and gadgets. There are apps, electronics, quick fixes, new clothes, fancy wheels, shoe insoles that send data to your smartphone… that’s just naming a few. Going for a run? It doesn’t count unless you post it to the latest running social media. Don’t have the latest $5,000 bike? Well, you definitely can’t compete at your local race. Don’t even bother signing up!
I’m being somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and I’m not saying that technology is bad. It has its place, and there are some wonderful products out there (and I like finding the ones that add value, save time, and don’t break the bank). My point is that for the average person that works full time and has a busy life has to pick their battles if they want to avoid burnout. Most of us are better off spending our extra time sleeping, with our families, or volunteering with a rewarding charity.
I don’t see enough voices saying that. So… here I am!
If we take a step back and look at why we do sports, what’s the answer? Things like health, fun, self-improvement, building self-confidence, friendly competition, and socialization. Most of my work experience is in the cycling and triathlon industry, and it’s been hard to watch these sports struggle in the last decade or so. Of course, there are economic factors at play. But I’ve also noticed that the more we try to be reductionist, and optimize everything, and buy our way into better performance with expensive equipment, the overall health of the sport has declined. Most of the advertising also promotes this mentality as THE WAY to participate in the sport – you must crush everyone and win the fashion show! Don’t just keep up with the Joneses – destroy them! It’s not inclusive. It further reinforces the elitist reputation of these sports.
George Bernard Shaw said it best: “We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” I’m here to fight the good fight.