Mile 23: Actually No, I Don’t Want To Pay for Your Vacation
I chose this month’s Mile 23 photo because I look utterly ridiculous and I seem to have developed bingo wings. But we aren’t here to nitpick – the reality is, it represents a really fun, happy day for me where Mark and I decided to try a duathlon the week after our first 70.3 and they ended up being qualifiers for the World Championships. It sounded like a really fun experience and we made our summer vacation out of it.
It’s been a really exciting process for me to plan out a trip this far in advance. We are touching base with close friends near Penticton and plotting our travel route. We have secured our lodging, purchased our Team Canada race kits and put aside money to ensure that we can have a really fantastic and fun summer vacation. You know what we haven’t done?
Asked you to pay for it.
There seems to be a trend in the endurance sports world where age groupers will qualify for a world championship event and immediately put out a plea for money to their entire facebook audience and it blows my mind that it works. Maybe I am the fool here for not trying this because I have seen people raise significant amounts of money but I view it as entirely inappropriate. If you are a grown adult with a full-time job and the good fortune of being able to be involved in a ridiculously expensive hobby such as triathlon, duathlon or even running, I feel it completely unbecoming to beg for money to go on what is quite frankly a really really expensive trip.
Part of being an adult is understanding the whole picture. Signed up for a qualifying race? Check. Put in the hard work and effort to train? Check. Forgot things cost money? …
Don’t get me wrong, if you need financial assistance, there are many ways that are more appropriate to go about it such as having a personal conversation with close friends and family to request money, taking out a loan or finding a creative (and legal) way to make more money. And if you are a student without a salary and you have a potential career as a pro athlete, or you are raising money to go to compete in the Olympics or you are a professional athlete of any sort, I really think it is a different story. But the reality is, when age groupers go to world championships, as exciting and as much of an honour as it is, it is still a vacation.
Before I spiral off and start getting needlessly ranty, I want to get to the core of the issue for me. The reason I am so bothered by this is not that people have found a brilliant and unbecoming way to work the system, I am bothered because of where potential donations are NOT going.
I compare this issue to a growing trend in needy areas in South East Asia where poverty is rampant and there are locals struggling to feed their families, but backpackers have started taking over the local “begging” scene because they blew all their money at the bar the night before. I find a quote from the article extremely applicable to the point I am trying to make.
Participating in and competing in sport is a luxury. Qualifying and attending a world championship event is even more so, because it means you have spare time to grow and develop your own personal interests and hobbies and you are not worried about where your next meal comes from. So before you set up your GoFund.me page or donate to someone who has, may I recommend considering a donation to the countless charities who feed, clothe and care for our neighbours around the world who simply are focused on making it through today.
Mile 23 is a bit of a different tone than my other posts and are meant to inspire conversations in the athletic community. We are all adults here and if you disagree, I would love to hear your side of the story. If you agree, I welcome your input because I naturally have missed some things. Thank you!