By Mike Steele, Team OAM NOW Triathlete
Who do you call a family? In the past, thinking of a family I thought mostly of my wife, kids, parents, grandparents etc.. But, recent events have made me really think about family as a concept. Our families really extend well beyond our immediate families to all those who you share similar interests or are involved in our lives in a myriad of ways. We may have a work family, and maybe a golfing family or a family of musicians with whom you play… none of these are relations by blood or through marriage, but the connection remains and is undeniable.
Similarly, sport teams make up a family, even when we compete independently. Some sports, like triathlon, lend themselves to big extended families. This weekend, while racing at the Michigan Titanium Triathlon, I unfortunately tangled with a car on the race course. As most car/bicycle incidents go, the bike lost. The cause and result of the incident is immaterial… it’s what happened afterwards that really got my attention.
It’s natural for people to give well wishes when they hear you are injured. And athletes, especially those sharing the same passion as you, really step forward to show their support and well wishes. I had no fewer than 40 phone calls, hundreds of text messages, and dozens of emails within 24 hours of the event. Some from people who I barely even know or just met in passing at a pre-race meeting or during transition set up. There’s nothing quite like that kind of outpouring of support to remind you just how connected we all are, even if the moments we connect seem fleeting. This thing call triathlon, it makes us a family.
And, whether it’s triathlon, mountain biking, cycling or any other group activity where everyone has an opportunity to compete alongside and against one another, we form a bond, we form a family. It’s something I know I’ll never forget. See you back out there, brothers and sisters!