While every athletic endeavor requires body awareness and control, my new found belief is that biathlons take this to a whole new level. At its core, a biathlon is a sporting even made of two very different disciplines. Classically, it’s nordic skate skiing and rifle shooting, but summer variations substitute running, biking or swimming for the cardio portion of the event. My current home of Casper, Wyoming happens to have its very own biathlon club (check them out on Facebook here) and I was blown away by some of the athletes at this event.
One cool thing about being in a “regular” town like Casper, versus a town where every block has a sponsored skier (Jackson) is the variety of people at athletic competitions. There were overweight 40-year-olds and gangly 11-year-olds having a genuinely fun time. But the guys that blew me away came from the club’s association as a US Paralympic Sport Club.
Most of the athletes with disabilities were injured military. I believe this was 7 guys at an event with a total of 60 people. That’s a noticeable number and it hit closer to home than any newspaper article or statistic I have seen. This is my generation and younger, with men and women missing limbs and having other less obvious impediments due to war. How have we not evolved past this?
Of course, the sport did originate as military training for Norwegian soldiers. In 1861. That’s a long time ago. And sadly, the skills it promotes are still relevant in today’s world as evidenced by the former men in uniform participating for the fun of it. And it was even fun to watch. Between the shooting and multiple laps, there’s a lot of action happening in one spot for spectators like me. Who knows, maybe next time I’ll be a participant. Because running and shooting an electronic rifle sounds like a neat challenge. Running and being shot at while trying to return fire sounds less fun. Thanks to the men in uniform that choose to do that so I can have enough adventures to blog about.
Comic-relief-of-the-day: Whew! You need it after that blog post, right. Get your Calvin and Hobbes fix here.