Saturday, March 28, 2009

Endurance Sports as Controversial Topic

I aspire to be a writer, but I am searching for my topic, my inner muse. In the book I Talk About When I Think About Running, Haruki Murakami compares his approach to writing to running. It requires work and daily dedication and focus unlike natural writers who just have the words flow. I understand this but it also requires that you be passionate about the subject of your essay or book. If you don't feel strongly about a topic, your writing will be stunningly boring. And an unread writer is like a virgin porn star - worthless.

For example, while in Israel, I hung out with Seth Freedman a columnist for the Guardian, a British newspaper. Seth is a former member of the Israeli Defense Forces, and writes a twice weekly column principally on Israel's policies in Gaza and the West Bank. It's totally understandable for a former soldier to have strong opinions on policies that he had to enforce for 15 months. His columns are very provocative because he makes his opinions known.

It is painfully obvious that endurance sports are my preferred topic for espousing. But is there anything that can be written on the topic that can stir emotions other than agreement? I read a number of endurance blogs but they all are pretty much the same - emotional summaries of a workout or race in which the man or woman discovered their inner chi, salutes to the solidarity of the endurance community and a few self deprecating comments to make sure no one thinks they are taking themselves too seriously. This summarizes 79% of my entries.

Possible themes of controversy could include:

  • Prefabricated and expensive race experiences
  • Endurance bloggers and the disease of me
  • Defense of performance enhancers
  • Endurance lifestyle versus the endurance athlete
  • Occupied territories of running (OK - this doesn't exist but I need some bridge to the fascinating, intense topic of the Middle East)

There have to be more because endurance sports are like any drug - there is an upside and downside to it, depending how it is administered.