Conventional wisdom says that you shouldn’t send an email when you are upset, that you should step back, give it at least 30 minutes to see if you feel the same way when you calm down. I guess the same could be said of writing blog posts, maybe I shouldn’t write this one but sod it I don’t actually care.
Yesterday on the Pirate forum out of the blue I got a bit of a slagging. Now I’m a big lad and can take criticism when it is justified, and people are entitled to their opinions but the comments yesterday upset so much that I changed any photos of me on social media of me in Pirate kit. I was actually for the first time in my life ashamed to be part of all that. I was accused of selling out and making money off the Pirate brand by writing a book, and not sharing the royalties with anyone. Then someone else waded in and said that I was making money off of COLT as well. That final comment was what cut the deepest. I sat there in shock, not quite believing what I was reading. The people that made the comments have never met me ( unless you include me cheering her on in the rain at Ironman UK this year whilst she ran herself into a Kona slot ) and don’t know me from the next fat lad in yellow and black lycra.
Yes I’ve written two books. Yes the Pirates feature heavily. Yes my beloved COLT feature heavily. It wouldn’t be correct if they didn’t. The books were my story, the two clubs featured are there by default because of who I raced for. I can’t help that. To say I was trading on those two brands ( and I’m not sure they actually are, one is a triathlon club, the other is an online collective that races triathlon ) was insulting. I’m not trading on anyone else but myself. My books are about me, my journey, my family and friends. You don’t have to like them, buy them, read them….I’ll still sleep at night. They are only books. I’m a librarian, that’s what pays my mortgage. Being an author is a hobby, much like triathlon, it doesn’t pay the bills at all. People would be shocked by how little I actually get for each book, but I don’t care I was never in it for the money. The thrill of being an author, the butterflies I still get when I walk into a bookshop and see my work sat next to the likes of The Brownlee brothers, Macca, Chrissie and a whole load of other sporting greats is what it is mostly about for me. But most importantly is the fact that people have read my wittering and then been inspired to seek out there own challenges, to push themselves, and most importantly of all to enjoy themselves. Triathlon to me is about fun, yes I want to be a lot faster than I am, yes I have ambition, hey I may never go sub 10 or qualify for Kona but that doesn’t make me any less of an athlete. In Ironman and triathlon we battle our own limitations, we race ourselves and when we are done we can look at ourselves in the mirror with pure honesty and know that we gave everything that we could. If that everything is 16:59:59 then so be it.
It’s a shame really because I loved being a Pirate, I could relate to the ethos of it all, the group that didn’t take itself so seriously whilst at the same time admiring the likes of Rosey and Funkin who are very talented and quick. I’ve made some wonderful friends, had some cracking experiences because of being a Pirate. The distinct kit is recognised all over the world and it gets you an extra cheer out on the course when you need it but I’ll never race in it again.
It was very heart-warming to read all the messages of support that I got yesterday and it really cheered me up but I guess the damage was done. I still have many friends who are pirates, and I’ll always cheer on the yellow and black whenever I see them but I’m done.
Where’s the plank, I need to get off this Pirate Ship of Fools.