“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success” – Henry Ford
Earlier this week Jodie Swallow, in her words, put forward and published her motivation for helping start the newly formed Professional Triathlon Union (PTU). As like many of Jodie’s written pieces it had meaning, delivered a message that hopefully inspired those that were uncertain. Helped them to see that there really is only one motive for this new union; “for the greater good of our sport.”
I wanted to take the time to put together my thoughts. If Jodie’s message wasn’t strong enough already then I think we all agree, more voices are better than none.
Now hold that thought, read that again, “more voices are better than none”…now read on.
Why are we here? Why have we, Mirinda Carfrae, Timothy O’Donnell, Jodie Swallow, James Cunnama, Rachel Joyce, Sebastian Kienle, Meredith Kessler, Dirk Bockel, Angela Naeth, Andreas Dreitz, Mary-Beth Ellis, Pete Jacobs, Scott DeFilippis, Dylan McNiece and myself, come together and formed what is today known as the “Professional Triathlon Union”?
Honestly, because it really matters. It really matters that every single athlete that represents themselves as a “professional athlete” has a voice. We are “professional athletes” so rightfully we should help shape the future of our sport, triathlon. And how does that happen? It’s the same way that Tennis professionals, Golf professionals, Racing drivers and the like all became able to express their voice…it’s called uniting, coming together, collecting thoughts and inspiring change, pushing for the greater good of this sport.
Let’s be honest, we, professional triathletes are all ego driven, selfish individuals, if you say we are not then I’m not sure you’ve truly figured out who you are yet. We are. Some in mild forms, others in extreme forms, a minority in an almost non-existent form, but put bluntly we are driven by ego and posses a selfish mindset. With that comes opinions, varying opinions, but all of us with an opinion. Let’s go back to that above ‘hold that thought’, “more voices are better than none.” Yes, true, but when in reference to conflicting voices, no. Let’s take “Sister Act”, that well known movie whereby they all have a hidden passion for delivering something great. At first they are lost, don’t know their way or their direction, suddenly they get their act together, become unified and deliver one powerful presentation that is heard. Had they not, they would of fallen by the wayside, unheard, achieving little to no progress.
Now enough of my reference to good old Whoopi Goldberg and back to us. Over the past years we have all expressed our voices and opinions on topics that are directly in relation to our careers as professional athletes. There are many of them whether broadcast publicly, internally, discreetly or ‘homely’ at some point every single one of us as expressed a thought or opinion that involves the layout of professional triathlon. Hence the need for us to unite, bring those thoughts, ideas, concerns and disappointments under one roof. To influence change we need to gather all of our voices, centralise them as a mass voice communicating clear, thought-through messages with meaningful outcomes. A central voice that speaks for all, not one or ten, but all professional athletes; high tier, emerging, elite, low tier, developing, junior, the list goes on.
As the wheels of this newly formed PTU start turning, I personally write this message to you as a fellow professional triathlete, an opportunity is here for us all, an opportunity that we shouldn’t pass on. An opportunity we shouldn’t let our egos stand in the way of. An opportunity that we shouldn’t allow our selfishness to blur. The Professional Triathlon Union needs your voice. I can advise you what to do next but I can’t force you to do it. My advice would be this:
1) Familiarise yourself with the new Professional Triathlon Union. The homepage is there as a resource: www.protriunion.com
2) Sign up for the FREE to use members area. You’ll get a unique login. It is inside here where your contribution in these early phases is crucial.
3) Don’t hold in questions. Any questions you have about PTU put them forward either a) in the forum of the website b) to Rich Allen the Executive Director or c) any board member of the PTU whom you feel comfortable reaching out to.
4) Bring an open mind, don’t hesitate to contribute with thoughts, ideas, concerns and disappointments you have in relation to the sport, the union, our development as a professional triathlete.
5) Most importantly and above all else understand why your voice as a collective amongst many voices, matters.
Thanks to you all for taking the time to read. Enjoy the off-season and festive season. I’ll see you on that race course throughout 2016.