This week I had another opportunity to speak about triathlon. However, this time it was a totally different crowd than I had ever talked to previously. Before today I had only talked in church settings and to other triathletes that have at least a slight grasp of what triathlon is in my life. This week I was speaking to high school students at Bullitt Central that are involved in FCA.
I knew from my dabbling in FCA while I was in high school that many of the students probably weren’t Christians. I also knew that at least a good number of them wouldn’t even be athletes. So basically all that was left in common for the students is the “F” in FCA (Fellowship).
A good friend of mine that I met during my first summer in Louisville, Mallory Reid, is a teacher involved in FCA and asked me to speak to the students. I agreed to do so thinking that I could maybe use the talents that God had given me to maybe inspire some of the students to be more bold for Christ at school and on the sport team, pursue their dreams, and maybe even pick up some form of endurance sports later on down the road.
I started with an abbreviated version of my story of how I got involved in racing. If you haven’t heard my story, click here. I could tell that some of them were a little shocked from certain parts of the story, but without the background given, my involvement in triathlon would have no backbone or any significance to FCA.
Once I finished the story, I showed the a video on youtube that would help give a visual of what a triathlon is and an idea of what people wear during the race. Thankfully, we were able to locate a projector so the whole group, about 60 to 75 in number, could see it.
I then talked about how I believe God has given me the ability to race and do what I love to reach a very unique subculture and challenged them to look in the areas of their lives where they could possibly be the only one able to reach a certain person or people group.
I talked a little bit about my training… not going into too much detail so I wouldn’t bore them to death. After all, talking about swimming, biking, and running to most people tends to get blank stares. From there we entered a Q & A.
I was prepared for pretty much any question, since I think I’ve been asked most every question several times in the past. However, the one that I was hoping someone would ask came towards the end of the Q & A: “What do you do if you have to go to the bathroom?”
I told them I just pee while moving… by choice. That got a good response. Some people started laughing, others grimaced, and others, I’m sure, didn’t believe me. It sparked a lot of conversation between friends in the crowd of students.
To wrap things up, one of the teachers did a little devotional and a prayer. On the way out, several students thanked me for coming and a few talked to me afterwards for a few more questions. I have to admit, I didn’t expect the kids to act so well. Let’s just say that I’ve heard several horror stories from teachers in both Jefferson and Bullitt County school districts… and I feared the worst! Some times surprises are good!
I hope to have more opportunity like this in the future; reaching people that are athletes (but not always endurance athletes), talking to youth to inspire them about the future, and hopefully bringing glory to God, which is much more meaningful than swimming, biking, and running as fast as I can. Ultimately, no sport, experience, and adventures in life will fill the void that many are trying to fill.