Over the past three and a half weeks I have watched the ongoing drama of Team Corn Fed and its quest to bring a Spartan Race to Indiana. This fight has become as epic as rallying the thirteen colonies to rebel against England and no less heroic. The good folks at Corn Fed have displayed a passion and zeal to promote this race and the sport they love that is tragically lacking in the world today. If more people could show the same kind of drive and determination towards their own fitness goals it’s very possible that obesity and the health issues related to it would become a random anomaly instead of the American norm. Reading the many posts on Facebook and comments made by the loyal followers of obstacle racing has also made me understand something very simple and basic about this sport as a whole that I think many of us just fail to recognize. In our enthusiasm to share this part of our lives with those around us, and the positive effect it has had on our health and minds we forget that the truth is; most people in our nation just weren’t cut out for this kind of thing.
It takes a special blend of crazy, brave, and stupid to compete in something like a Spartan Race. Sadly it’s a combination of traits that most people, and I do mean most, just don’t have. What we do seems not only irrational but downright dangerous to the average person. Most people do everything in their power to avoid pain and uncomfortable surroundings, yet here we are Spartans and obstacle racers; seeking it out. You’d have to go to the military to find a bigger group of thrill seekers and hardy souls willing to hang it out there just because it was there to hang.
There is a certain kind of dissatisfaction in life that pushes people to do great things and what we do is great, make no mistake. Every race we run, every morning we hit the streets in the frost and cold with nothing but our thoughts and will to drive us on, is making a statement. Every day that we push ourselves on towards this goal of racing is accomplishing something great. We are showing people that anyone can be a warrior, a hero, a Titan. These days we don’t use words like Titan, and warrior anymore. These are throwbacks to a less civilized day. That’s what we tell ourselves anyway. In reality we hide these words because of the feelings they stir in each and every one of us. We all want to feel strong if not be strong but so many of us are afraid.
We are afraid to reach and fall short, to then fail. We are afraid of being criticized and worst of all; of standing out from the crowd and the protection of anonymity it offers. To rise above the heights of those who fear to dream is to paint a target on your back, just ask Junyong Pak. Once we Americans lifted up our heroes and fell at their feet in near worship. We aspired to be like them to achieve what they did and eclipse it. Unfortunately now it seems that the rule has become one of bringing our heroes down, knee-capping them and shredding them before they can rise too high. Why struggle to grow and do, when it’s easier to simply drag others down to your level?
I wish I had more friends that were as enthusiastic about fitness and the Spartan Race specifically. The reality though is that many of those closest to me resent me now. My accomplishments over the past few weeks irritate them. People often paint a picture of us in their minds of whom and what we are allowed to be and as silly as it sounds it is the truth. When we take it upon ourselves to change our lives and redraw that picture it upsets them for the simple reason that if we can do it then there’s no real reason why they can’t. Change is a matter of taking responsibility for your own life direction. You cannot steer your life in the direction you want without first assuming control of it. That comes with risk though when you’re in control and things go bad, then you’re to blame. Most people just don’t want to do that they want to keep blaming others and pointing fingers. It makes them victims in a cruel world instead of lazy adults in a just one.
Corn Fed may not get the required registrations they need to kick this race off in April. Would that mean they failed? I don’t think so, if anything it means that hundreds of supposedly reliable people didn’t keep their word. It may not be their fault. Some could have fallen on hard times, others simply forgotten or got distracted. I imagine truth be told quite a few never thought it would happen and now that it is their fear of the unknown and change has won out over them. That is okay though. However many registrations they get, each and every one is a victory. Its proof that change can happen and there are still people in this country willing to fight for a better future and that makes me sleep good at night.
However things turn out for Indiana and Team Corn fed I admire them. I learned a long time ago that, “That those who dare do!” The only people in this world that have ever changed anything were those who thought they could. History has been made by people who wanted more and were willing to do whatever it took to get it. Those kinds of people make a difference; they affect the world around them. They show us all that it’s okay to be something more than just the bare minimum. They show every day with what they do that the impossible is simply a matter of perspective and desire. I will hoist my flag with The Corn Fed Spartans and whatever happens I will see them at the races and we will know that we fought the good fight, what else can you ask for?