Because I am going to talk about sports and God knows MUT “participants” generally don’t give a shit about sports. Right? That’s my understanding. Probably because of an outspoken stance out there that renders much of what I write offensive. Genitalia! One of the biggest realizations of mine, hanging out with trail rats, running, racing and reading and writing about this junk for years, is the apparent disconnect between trail running (ultra in particular) and sports. I am not yet even talking about the “sport of MUT;” I am talking about people’s interests in sports.
Okay, granted, I am not sitting in your living room with you observing what you watch on TV or talk about with your family and friends. But I have a pretty good sense that most of the MUTters out there aren’t your average sports fans. That’s fine. So again, Don’t Read This!
Despite the appeal (look away, ignore this!), when I or others discuss MUT as a sport, a lot of undergarments get twisted and bunched in people’s backsides. It’s embarrassing.
Tim Long and I made fun of this dynamic when we did a parody podcast over on elevationtrail.com. Of course, it was brilliant. We talked in high pitch voices, described the pretty flowers and magic double rainbows that arouse trail runners. We purposefully steered clear of “race results,” “trends,” any celebration of athletic performance, etc. Instead, it was like a show on the Food Network: “the rice crispy treats at that 100k were apparently to die for.”
This criticism of the ESPNization of MUT is retarded. I’ve been grilled online because I’ve made commentary of the “sport” (Sure I’ve bitten off more than I can chew a couple of times, but the haters were already poised to pull trigger). Much of the problem is that these people don’t get the take, the perspective. For starters, they’re not sports fans. So the second part of the sequence – racing on dirt and mountains is a sport – is like some Martian dialect that offends they’re pretty little American ears.
But here’s the real retardation (why I have already coined such folk the “dingle-berries of illiteracy”): they are trying to demean people who have a different view from their own. This is a fact: one is criticized if is he/she communicates a genuine thought-process about this odd-ball culture that has evolved and/or joined forces with a more competitive version of trail running. You don’t think it’s about the competition? You don’t care about the athleticism of MUT, enough to take a closer look, to exchange ideas and perspectives, to prognosticate? You don’t care? Yaaaaay! Good for you. But, I (and others) care about the athleticism of MUT. I/we care about the “sport.” If that’s not your cup of tea . . . Don’t Read This!
A good writing exercise would be to re-write that last paragraph, in other words. The point needs to be reiterated, clarified. Some people spend quality time thinking about the competitive element of MUT. Some people actually care enough to spend time thinking about these topics and issues and perhaps communicating them to a public audience, often online. And get ridiculed for it. I suspect it’s left over angst from the playground, from getting picked last in 4th grade kick ball that’s got these readers up in arms. Is this a crime that there are people who see sport and want to analyze and share insight. Is it really offensive? Are feelings hurt by such wonton disregard for a purity of some sort of chi running approach to the trail? You no like the talk? Go find your double rainbow. Your intolerance is laughable and sad. Don’t Read This!
Of all of the heinous activities in this wonderful world of ours, it’s a shame that a very reasonable perspective of a little niche of running is getting this kind of low self-esteem garbage (or whatever it is). There are some very unsavory, even diabolical things going on online. Talking about the sport of, the ESPNization of trail running is not a candidate for this list. Piss off, Donny and Donna Dingle-Berry.
What I do is harmless, fun and might find purpose in the myriad of readers and runners out there.
For those of you who do care, please stay tuned for more on the ESPNization of MUT!