Saturday, March 26, 2005

How did I get roped into this?

In exactly three hours from now, I will be up on a stage giving a speech to a bunch of strangers in a gay bar.

The last time I gave a prepared speech was Grade 5, when a prize-winning speech I wrote about "The Future" gained critical acclaim on the Royal Canadian Legion circuit.

Since then, my public speaking career has been limited to impromptu, and unpaid, appearances at Christmas and birthday parties.

Anyway, tonight I’ll be speaking at the launch party for Vancouver’s first gay and lesbian triathlon club, which was formed by a bunch of guys from my swim team a few months ago.

I’m not really sure why they asked me to give a speech at the launch party, especially considering a) I’m not gay, and b) I’m not much of a triathlete. I’m guessing that no one else wanted to do it. Plus I have this weird reputation for being outgoing and funny. Which is strange because that’s not how I see myself. I can be very shy and anti-social at times.

But I agreed to give a speech because a) I secretly like public speaking, and b) I believe in the cause (spreading the fitness gospel to gay men). I’ve cut and pasted my speech below, in case you’re interested.


Thank you for that introduction, Paul. Hi everyone!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been swimming with English Bay for five years, and I’ve been involved in triathlon for about three years.

Paul wanted someone to give a short speech on "why you should do a triathlon." Unfortunately, Simon Whitfield wasn’t available tonight so you’re stuck with me.

Luckily for you, I’m better at public speaking than triathlon, which isn’t really saying much. Anyway, my goal tonight is to convince every person in this bar to race in at least one triathlon this year.

So I thought about how I could do that, and I decided to create a Top 10 list of reasons to do a triathlon. But I could only think of nine things:

9. Eye candy: You will be surrounded by half-naked guys and girls all day. Who knows? You might pick up something besides a medal.

8. Fame and glory: If you are the only person in your age group, you will get a guaranteed first place and lifetime bragging rights. Warning: when you go to the office on Monday, your co-workers will start asking you if you’re training for the Olympics.

7. Personal satisfaction: There's no greater feeling than setting a goal and meeting it. Triathlons bring meaning and purpose to those endless hours of training. Pick a race at the beginning and end of the season and compare your times. It's all about control, achievement and mastery.

6. Distraction: Do you hate your job? Is your personal life going to hell? Triathlon is a great way to avoid thinking about everything that's bothering you.

5. Exotic travel: Triathlon is also a great excuse to travel to exciting destinations such as Salmon Arm, Duncan and Saskatoon.

4. Intimate encounters: How well do you really know your teammates? Spend a weekend with some of them and you might be surprised at what you learn. I have slept with about half the guys on the swim team and I know from personal experience who snores like Darth Vader, who wears tighty whities and who has a small bladder.

3. Free food: Don’t think of them as aid stations, think of them as buffet tables! All the Power Bars and mushy bananas you can eat. Sometimes there are banquets afterwards with lavish spreads of ham sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies and pickles.

2. Masochism: Because you love pain and want to swim, bike and run so hard it hurts.

1. Anything goes: This is the best part about triathlon. Anything goes! You don't have to qualify. You don't even have to swim freestyle. If you're tired, you can flip over onto your back or swim breaststroke. Mountain bike, commuter bike, road bike. It doesn’t matter. You can crawl if you don’t feel like running. There are all shapes and sizes and ages. You won't be the slowest person there, but if you are, you will get a standing ovation as you cross the finish line. So why not try something new this year? Who knows? You might love it as much as I do!


Anonymous said...

Sarah -

Wish I could join you at the launch party tonight; Sugar Daddys was a favourite haunt of mine, back when I was a WestEnder. Though I can't imagine a more intimidating hottub party than with a crowd of competitive swimmers. There'll be traffic jams on Davie Street tonight, I'm sure, as people strain their necks to catch a glimpse.

I really like your speech. It's almost enough to get me back in a pool to try another tri this season. I've been trying to think of a 10th reason to enter a race. So far, all I can think of is tripling your possibility of developing debilitating sports injuries (which doesn't sound very convincing). Maybe you can add that it enables people to geek out in three different sports at once - I mean, it's not just that you get to buy gear for three activities instead of one (which is definitely an attraction for many), but you get to be part of the whole tri geek culture: special cycling shoes, an addiction to power gels and other fake food, obsessive tricks to get your transition times as short as possible... Pretty tempting!

Have fun tonight,

Brian Lavery said...

Hi Sarah
Great work on your speech and also on getting the new club going. You always seem so shy, but I saw you entertaining the group after a ride when the tri club was relaxing on the patio at the motel in Penticton. You can really hold an audiences attention.
Your new tri club will be awesome with all the talent you have organizing it.
Please tell your bike guy that I have coaching plans and technical instructional material that I would be happy to give you.

have fun
I'll be thinking of you on my two hour run today. ha ha


Sarah said...

Thanks guys!

Delacey...the party was fun, and the hot tub was noisy. I didn't get in the hot tub, by the way. It was right on Davie Street and it seemed to be filled with drunk girls in their underwear (sports bras, anyway) screaming out "who hoo!" everytime someone walked by.

I think the speech went over well. People laughed. I don't know if they were being polite or were genuinely amused.

Brian...I will certainly pass on your name and info to the guys in the new tri club. I'm jealous that you're out on 2 hour runs. I can barely walk to the grocery store and back without my foot bothering me. Oh well...


Bill Doskoch said...

Hey Sarah:

Do you think maybe people are being ironic when they talk about your reputation, with fingers creating a lot of mock quote marks?

For example:

Person 1: That Sarah is so "outgoing."

Person 2: Yeah, she's really "funny."

And then the two share a cruel, knowing snicker.

Well, it's a possibility. :^)

Since your foot will keep you off the bike seats and roadways this summer, allow me to throw two words out: Sea kayaking.

It's not the same workout intensity as biking or running, but might be a fun activity until your foot gets better.

Bill D.
Who sees excellent potential in being hoisted on his own petard for part one of this comment

Sarah said...

Bill...ouch! I know you're kidding (I hope). And even if you're not, at least I think I'm "funny" even if my "friends" don't.

As for kayaking...funny you should mention that. My friend Annelle and I were actually thinking of taking up rowing this summer. It's not really kayaking but it could be fun. I'm not much of a boat person (seasickness and all) but I told Annelle I'd try it.

I like kayaking though. Hadn't thought of that one.

Bill Doskoch said...

Yeah, yeah, I'm kidding. Sheesh. :)

As I told you before over in my blogspace, your George Bush/pretzel line that you left on one of my posts was one of my best belly laughs of 2004.

If you want an affidavit from me attesting to the fact I think you have the ability to write in a way that provides significant amusement value, one will be forthcoming. :)

On sea kayaking ...

That's just another attempt by me to live vicariously. :)

But my cousin used to live in Deep Cove and he owned a sea kayak there.

It's relatively calm in there, you've got the North Shore mountains ... it seems like it would be a good place to get some exercise and clear the head a bit too.

Rowing can be a great workout.

There's lots 'o Torontonians into dragon boat racing, but methinks that's more a social than a fitness or competitive activity.

Bill D.

Sarah said...

Deep Cove is such a beautiful place! But such a pain in the butt to get to from downtown without a car.

I went kayaking there in the summer. Actually, it was a date with a nice English bloke I met at the gym. He asked me if I wanted to go kayaking. I said sure.

When we got to Deep Cove, it turned out that he had signed us up for a kayaking RACE! When the gun went off, he took off.

I was a little annoyed. It was our first and last date. He moved back to England two weeks after that anyway. It was the last time I've been kayaking.

Perhaps rowing will be a little more fun...

Is there kayaking in Toronto? There must be some spots along Lake Ontario that would be good.


Bill Doskoch said...

Be up-front with your rowing pal: No racing on the first outing. :)

I forgot about the Deep Cove accessibility issue. Oops. :)

But I do agree it's a wonderful little spot otherwise.

Probably the best place to try kayaking here would be around the Toronto Islands. They're actually relatively rich with bird and wildlife, considering their location. Now, how to get the kayak on the subway. Hmmm ... :)

T.O. rowers have a course running along the lake west of Ontario.

But frankly, give me a boat or canoe and a Shield-y lake! :)