Generation Slow or Generation Give it a Go?

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Well after reading this article ( The Slowest Generation by Kevin Helliker )I’m filled with passion to publish my first blog post. Whilst trying to stay level headed, I must admit the article by the Wall St Journal, which claims that the younger generation have lost their competitive edge and are making races boring, leaves me disheartened and a little angry!

As you know I’m all about inspiring EVERYONE to get out and have a go! I don’t care if someone comes first or last, the moment you achieve something you never thought possible is the most important part of racing to me. I will never be the fittest or the fastest, and so when I compete/participate its all about competition with one person…me!

But what makes me most angry is the potential for this article to feed the doubt that’s in so many people’s minds when it comes to their first race- be it a fun run, triathlon or marathon. If the negative views of this writer scare just one person off ‘giving it a go’ then a true disservice has been done.

Yet again poor Gen Y gets a bashing for being different with Kevin claiming his field placing isn’t due to talent but a lack of competition.

“Rather, this old-timer triumph is attributable to something that fogies throughout the ages have lamented: kids these days.”

The author also slams races such as Tough Mudder and the Color Run for being about participation, fun and camaraderie rather than competition. These races promote the above, seeming positive qualities, by not providing race results or individual timing. Personally I love that races/events like these are popping up everywhere. They promote the active and healthy lifestyle as fun to people that may otherwise never have got involved, and I see absolutely no harm in this.

An article by veteran running commentator Toni Reavis, ( “Dumbing Down, Slowing Down” ) also comments on the ‘slowing down’ of American youth and blames the ‘everyone’s a winner’ attitude being promoted in American schools and sporting clubs. His main concern however is the loss of connection between the weekend warriors who are there for participation glory and the pros/elite. On this point I must agree somewhat, as an Australian we hold our footballers and cricketing pros in such high esteem and yet our professional runners, triathletes and cyclists (aside from Cadel) are largely unknown or invisible to the majority of us. BUT, is it really problem of our generation that we don’t know these elite athletes that race amongst us at so many of these events, or is it more a problem of the lack of media promotion or PR of these individuals?! I believe it’s a lot more of the latter, and if we don’t know who they are how can we possibly dream of competing against them?

Overall I strongly believe the ability of these newer events to get a huge variety of people involved far outweighs any lack of field competitiveness. The pros will always race the pros and for the rest of us our goal should be being the best WE can be and not comparing ourselves to others . What are your thoughts?

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  One thought on “Generation Slow or Generation Give it a Go?

  1. Danielle
    September 22, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Interesting post Donna.
    I must admit I’m a little conflicted. I wholeheartedly agree that the development of events that encourage people to ‘give it a go’ are opening fitness to a completely new generation and are benefiting society in numerous ways. I also feel that people are inherently competitive and that competition isn’t dead. You just have to see how crossfit and crossfit competitions have become so incredibly popular over the last few years. I also feel that in sporting events, competing against yourself is fantastic. I will never be the fasted, but I love giving it a go and enjoying the rush that comes with challenging myself.

    I agree however with the article in that there is a pervasive concept developing in schools and in the younger generations (and I’m an x/y gen so I’m talking about my generation!) that everyone is a winner and that you can no longer actually fail people because it will ruin their delicate psyche if they fail. I think that this attitude is growing a generation that feel entitled and like the world owes them a living. It is probably also a philosophy that does hamper competition and competitiveness. It is also th attitude that says there is no use trying if you aren’t going to win.

    Perhaps there should be a balance. Competition is a good thing. Not winning is ok. The winner at the end of the day is the person who gets out there and tries their best…whether they win or not.

    • September 22, 2013 at 10:54 am

      Completely understand where you are coming from with the change in our schools/sporting clubs and what effects we may see as a result of this ‘everyone’s a winner’ attitude. As you said- it’s all about finding a balance!

  2. David
    September 22, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I agree with you Donna. Any activity is better than no activity. I read a quote today that is related:
    Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started”
    Steve Prefontaine, Olympian

    I personally pick off people that are better then me and set goals to be as fast as them but that is only in order to better myself. I too k ow that I am not going o be the best but I CAN be the best that I can be 🙂

    • September 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Love the quote David!
      As you know you are one of the main people who have inspired me to get out there and be the best I can be! I love that you are always aiming that next step higher!

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