cyclocross : a lesson on good sportsmanship

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This year, Lucas decided to race some cyclocross as much as we could do.  Because this fall has turned out to be a busy few months, we are pulled in all directions, going and trying new things.  Each one of us.

DSC_0097 copy DSC_0122 copy DSC_0099 copy DSC_0100 copySo, last month we registered Lucas and he’s gone to three races so far.

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This year the schedule was a little different.  With a hot lap well before the race time, and then a clinic before the race.  So we had some time to wait.  But with a day like this day, it was no problem.

DSC_0121 copyWe had a friend with us too.  DSC_0125 copyWe had time to hang out as well.

DSC_0132 copyWhat I didn’t miss from last year’s races though, was the attitude. Sadly, the attitude of the kids and the parents.  As a family, and each one of us, we are not very competitive. We like doing our best, and we are happy with that.  No matter the place or the times we get. As long as we are enjoying ourselves, as long as we are trying the best we can, we’ll celebrate our accomplishments.  We’ll talk about the frustrations if there was something we missed, and see how we can do better next time.  But we are there for the sports itself.  To enjoy the sport, each other, the team mates, with respect and fairness.

So check this out.  This is a non-competitive kids bicycle race.  Because we were there early, Lucas was ready to get started at the beginning of the line.  No one else was there at that moment.  Seconds later there are kids coming from all over, putting themselves next to him, and behind, to form a line, but also many were getting in front of him, in front of the line.

Because there is only so much space in the front, the kids are placing themselves outside the cones that mark the path, and moving the cones to make it wider.  The sad thing, many times this was instigated by their own parents (read adults.)

DSC_0135 copyDo you see my orange-helmet kid on the left side of the photo? This is just a minute or so after they had asked the kids to start to line up.  He is no longer up front.  Kids keep coming and setting themselves in front.

Lucas doesn’t care if he’s in front of the line really, but he does get bothered by the kids just trampling and shoving and pushing, to get to the front.  You don’t want to fall when there are mostly tires all around.  It bothers me too.  And it bothers me even more when the parents are moving the cones out of the way and saying “just get in there, get up front!”

It continues to be the same, just as it was last year.  But it gives us another chance to continue the conversation about doing the right thing. No matter what it is.  No matter if it’s a competitive race or a practice lap. Don’t cheat.  Don’t skip the cones or do a shortcut in the circuit.  It’s about having fun and doing it correctly, the way it’s meant to be done.  There’s no lap counting, no medal, no money, no gifts, no nothing at the end of the race.  It’s just for fun.  It’s about the sport.  Or at least we think so.

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My guy gets over much quicker than me about the competitiveness of this sport, of some kids and their folks. Even those that we’ve seen doing the same annoying thing from last year, or the year before, he just smiles at me.  I need to learn that from him.  To let it be.  He’s OK with it, it’s all good.

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So after the shuffling and shoving the honk signals the start of the race.  Fifteen minutes around the circuit.

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As many laps as they can do.

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DSC_0160 copy DSC_0164 copyIt was a hot morning in mid October but it felt like August.

DSC_0194 copy DSC_0185 copy DSC_0168 copy DSC_0206 copyWe ended with a very hot kid… very hot few kids really.

DSC_0208 copyIt was a fun race for this little guy and really fun for us to see him ride his bike.

At the end of the race, we have the good feeling of having raced and done our best.  The right way. Because everyone will get a sticker at the end of each race, and more than anything, we want that sticker to mean great sportsmanship, every single time.

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