Pro teamers race hard and inspire us all with their performances but what if their presence at an event meant much more to building a brand and making the race experience that much more memorable for those out there participating?
I believe this is exactly what happens when Pro teamers head out on the course after their race to help instruct participates in how to better perform obstacles and, when necessary, lending a helping hand to those in need.
My Battle Corps teammates and I have always tried to do this but ours is a local race and has a slightly different feel because a lot of our participants know us personally. However, while at my first Conquer The Gauntlet race this weekend I had the pleasure of seeing a number of their Pro Teamers head back out on the course immediately after to help out their fellow racers in any way they could. This included Nathan Palmer manning a paddleboat on the lake, and Cody Peyton instructing at the CTG version of the Rig. I'm not saying that this doesn't happen at races like Spartan Race because I've seen Brakken Kraker out encouraging people on the course but I don't believe this is the expectation of these athletes that they head back out on the course. I can hear the peanut gallery trolls now… “I see the elites out there all the time!” Yes, there are pro teamers out there but I’m suggesting that this not only be a nice gesture but now an expectation from team organizers because I don’t feel there is enough of it.
Imagine a participant who has seen World Champion Robert Killian on one of the Spartan Race TV shows only to look over and have him offer a boost up on the wall? How about a young female Spartan who is nervous about the spear throw and hear Amelia Boone tell her “you got this,” and walk over to offer a few pointers.
Anyway, you understand what I'm saying. People come away from races with a variety of memories, but I feel like there would be nothing like seeing a professional there helping you. In most sports the pros are literally in a whole different league. Not in obstacle racing; we get to compete right along with the pros. Some people think this is pretty cool.
To me, Rose Wetzel is not only a great athlete who is on the Spartan Team Challenge and American Ninja Warrior, she is a really nice person and fellow competitor. To new Spartans she is a pro athlete and a TV star. While I know she is very approachable most people are not aware and may be a bit intimidated. However, if Rose is helping them on the course then those participants are now out there “in the trenches” with them. Those are the memories that create stories people will be telling at work or school on Monday that other will actually understand. Trust me, I get the difficulty in telling OCR stories that people can relate to. I might as well be telling them how I surgically removed my own appendix.
The bottom line is, pro teamers I am calling you out! Start earning your keep. Get out on the course and do whatever the rules allow to cheer on and help out participants. This is an excellent way of building the rapport that invites people into our great OCR community and let them see why we love this sport so much. If you want to shoot the breeze with all your friends who have reunited at this particular event then take them out with you. You don't have to spend all day but being out there for even a short time makes a difference. I want to see our sport grow and what better way to do so than by starting at the top of the leaderboard.
What do you think?
Are Pro-Team Athletes doing enough to help continue to foster the sport?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below…
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