Growing up playing sports, there were always the superstars and then everyone else. This did not change from practice to practice as the sport did not change. No one got to take turns being the superstar for the day – either you had the ability or not. Oftentimes, the superstars were held up on a pedestal while the others were held down which only leads to further discouraging them from achieving their best.
One thing that I have always found very special about triathlon is that the superstar does change from practice to practice. Oftentimes, someone who is the best swimmer is not always the best runner or cyclist. On swim day, this athlete gets to swim in the fast lane and lead the pack, while on the run day, they may be learning the basics in the back.
This creates a very special and unique environment which causes the athletes on a team to respect and support each other differently. Obviously there are still the strongest overall triathletes but everyone understands what it is like to be in the back of the pack as they probably have been there at some point. I love what this does for individuals’ confidence. I love how it creates a team cohesiveness that is unparalleled in other sports.
Additionally, I love the parallels to life as we are rarely always on the top in life either. We must learn to graciously be the best at some things and humbly learn from others in or allow someone else to take the lead in other situations. This skill is essential to success in both triathlon and life.