True story. When I was in grade school, we had to memorize two passages and recite them every other Thursday in class. The first time we did this, I stayed up the night before and practiced. I committed passage one to memory that evening, but decided that I could memorize the second passage in the morning before class.
I did get up a bit early the next day to read through the second passage and thought I had it down. When my turn to speak came up, I made it through the first recital perfectly. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as lucky with the second. I remembered the first six or seven words and then it just went blank. Absolutely blank. Nothing. Just deafening silence. I could feel my face get red and my heart began to race. After what seemed like an eternity, it became clear to everyone that it was "one and done". The teacher told me to sit down and he moved on to the next student.
Now, you may be asking yourself what on earth does this have to do with Triathlon, Cycling, or anything even remotely associated with Endurance Sports. To that, I’d say, hang on, it might make sense shortly. You see, the crazy thing is that after all these years, I cannot even tell you the name of the first passage, but the second one (that was forgotten at the time) is permanently etched in my memory. It goes like this:
“There is a tide in the affairs of men that taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyages of their life are bound in shallows and misery. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or forever lose our ventures.”
Despite having the quote branded into my soul, it took a couple of years before I thought about what it meant. You see, it’s from the play Julius Caesar and two leaders are trying to decide whether they should act immediately or wait. Brutus advocates for seizing the moment and is basically saying that if you take action at the right moment you’re on a path to glory. If you do not…well, it’s all lost. To all of us at Coeur, that quote captures the essence of what is going on with the Fifty Women to Kona movement.
Even from our perspective as an admittedly small player in the industry, the momentum behind this issue has gone up dramatically. It seems to be at a Malcolm Gladwell type Tipping Point, and every fiber in our being is saying that the volume will continue to grow exponentially. For all the reasons discussed in the wonderful series by Sara Gross via Witsup.com, the ones we mentioned in our previous post, and dozens more by industry leaders and triathlon participants, it seems that the message is crystal clear. Do not wait! Act now! WTC, please seize the moment and just add the 15 extra spots. Every fiber in our being is saying that if you don’t act now, you will have missed the moment and (as Brutus said), the rest of your voyages will be “bound in shallows and misery”.
And you know what? That possibility really scares us. There is literally a flood of emotion building behind this issue, and we really fear that the consequences of not acting now could be devastating to the sport of triathlon.
Look, the reality is that we love triathlon and until recently the M-dot brand and the sport have been virtually synonymous. Despite efforts from other players in the industry, Ironman and Triathlon are almost one and the same. Now, there’s a fracture and people are starting to draw a bigger distinction between the two. We’re concerned that the separation process could cause permanent damage to the sport we love, and we just don’t want to see that happen.
As a small player in the sport, we know our voice isn’t very loud, but the delay in making things right has caused us to make business decisions related to where we spend our money. Last year, we bought a booth in Kona and we advertised online during Oceanside. Now, our hand is being forced and we cannot in good conscience do either of those things. We wouldn’t be true to our values if we did. We have to think that we’re not the only company making these type of financial decisions.
For one last time, we’ll say, “WTC..please do the right thing and invite 50 women pros to Kona”. If not, we truly fear that permanent damage will be done as the sport of triathlon fights with itself.
So, there you have it. Perhaps this is one of our last comments on the topic. Now, we'll just go about our business trying to make great clothes and take care of our customers.
Oh…and by the way, I'll probably never figure out what that first passage was, but it might have been a quote from Lincoln. You know. The one that starts off with this…”A house divided against itself cannot stand…”
Happy Training and Racing Everyone.