If you are just joining us, I wrote an article last week about why I didn’t apply for the Spartan TV show (check it out here). The next day Rose Wetzel and Evan Dollard wrote a response (here). After reading my article again looking through Rose or Evan’s lens, I can easily see how they could interpret some of my statements as offensive. I do stand by my original article but here is my attempt at a brief clarification. If you haven’t read the first two articles, I would probably go back and hit those up now.
- Both, Rose and Evan, are phenomenal athletes that also possess human interest stories. That is not who I was talking about in my original article. There is a big difference in my mind between people who are human interest stories primarily and people who are athletes with a human interest aspect. Lumping you two into the topic of my other article is like saying Lance Armstrong* is a human interest story because he had cancer and ignoring his 7 (now unofficial) Tour De France wins (*doper in an era full of dopers). Adding human interest to elite athletes adds depth, which is different than just having human interest stories primarily attached to people with average to slightly above average athletic ability.
- My complaints about human interest stories were primarily targeting reality TV in general. I actually think Spartan does a good job with their current race shows, focusing primarily on competition and then just adding a touch of human interest at the end and mixing in some of the elite athletes stories (reference 1st statement). I continue to watch their show unlike the Ironman Hawaii coverage, which turned into 70% human interest a couple of years ago (I think they lowered it back down, but it left such a bad taste I have not gone back to regularly watching it).
- Emotion is different than overreacting. The examples Rose cited were all about emotion. Showing emotion post-race or when talking about an ill/dead family member is different than quitting in the middle of an event because it is too hard. I’m referring to the latter in my original article. Emotion makes for compelling video, just YouTube search the last 5 min before the 17 hr cut-off of any Ironman triathlon. That is raw emotion about athletics at some of its best and is much better than the human interest stories Ironman Triathlon puts out in their broadcasts.
- As far as “airing all my personal business” that is a line that each of us draws differently. I am on the more conservative side (for large aspects of my life, but not including my fitness) but everyone has a line subject to their own interpretation. There is also an aspect that can’t be measured…the reason behind sharing your story. I know people who share their stories to help others going through similar circumstances and I also know people who share their story of tragedy/service/hardship for personal fame. I am not implying that either of you fall into the latter category, but it is often impossible to tell the difference without truly knowing someone.
- As far as OCR needing human interest and TV coverage. That depends on what we ultimately want as a community, Olympics? Fame? Million dollar athletes? Will that stuff bring more revenue and possibly better events? Probably, but it will also bring things like performance enhancing drug use, cheating and probably losing the sense of community/good natured athletics that OCR currently displays. Maybe we just need to stay at the level we are at with competitive athletes, age groupers and average people toeing the line just to get out there to experience something new while the top athletes win some money but still have side jobs. Not everyone knows Ryan Hall, Andrew Talansky, Hobie Call or Scott Jurek despite being some of the best Americans in their respective sports….and maybe that is the way it should be, but that is the topic of another article.
Hopefully, that clarifies things, and if there are still hard feelings just know they are not coming from me. To prove I have no hard feelings here is a video of Evan Dollard destroying me at OCR Warrior and a still image of Rose Wetzel at Spartan Super PA where she eventually passed me finishing with a sizeable lead. Like any competitive athlete, I am always up for a challenge though, so if there are still hard feelings…you know where to find me on Nov. 14th – World's Toughest Mudder – and we can race at a distance I tend to do better at than short distance OCRs. 😉
Also…Evan Dollard wins for best bio award on Mud Run Guide.
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