Friday, September 30, 2005

Some refreshing news from the sport of triathlon, for a change!

Well in spite of the sport and all the stupid politics that goes on, there are some very good things going on. Recently I received a copy of the Home Life Magazine, actually the same day I received a copy of the totally bad rag, Triathlon Times sent by USA Triathlon. The magazines are in such contrast and it seemed ironic that they would come on the same day. It was like getting a special message from George Carlin and Bill Graham all on the same day. Tri Times is such a waste of those beautiful trees that grow somewhere and are ruthlessly cut down to accommodate useless information published by Tri Times. On the other hand there is hope on this green earth with such feel good publications as the Home Life.

The September issue of HL had a great article about Barb Lindquist and husband, Loren. Barb was even on the front cover in her USA Triathlon, Red, White and Blue garb. Why I received this magazine I really do not know why, since I am neither Baptist nor do I frequent these type of magazines. It is actually published by LifeWay Press and assures us in the index page "that the Bible has God for its author, salvation for its end and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter and that all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy." How can I go wrong on this article?

So, with that being said I would like to convey some of the great points that were brought out in this article about one of the most outstanding female triathletes the sport has been blessed with. The article really struck close to home for me since I have had some close up dealings with some of the "elite" athletes of the sport. While the majority of the experiences have been very good, the bad has been worse than bad. I will not dwell on the bad this morning since I am feeling good, and will dwell on the bad some morning when I really feel like ragging some of the scum in the sport.

The good news about Barb and her husband, Loren, is that they appear to have their priorities in good order and represent the best in our society. It is so refreshing to see this generation set their goals and stick to their guns, no matter the consequences. Barb states, "My relationship with God is definitely number one in my life, and number two is my relationship with[my husband] Loren, the triathlon can take a back seat." "People will say that you're never going to be as good a triathlete if you don't put it as your number one priority, and you have to sacrifice everything for it." Barb adds, "But I think if you're not right with God first, then nothing else is going to be right in your life."

Barb has enjoyed the great outdoors her whole life. She grew up in Casper, Wyoming, starting her swimming, biking and running when she was 8 years old. Her mother enrolled her in swimming very early and has been a strong influence on her athletic life. Her mother even started doing triathlons at the ripe ole age of 54, herself, and is still competing at 61. The story goes on to say that Barb met her future husband through a cycling club in Jackson, Wyoming. A match made in heaven, with both understanding the great outdoors and what it took to compete on the international level. They married eight months later and have become a great triathlon team, with Bard competing, and Loren being her strong support in coaching, managing, and the technical aspects needed to compete in three disciplines. They have learned to counter act each other weaknesses with their strengths, and it has paid off handsomely for them, both on and off the field of competition. While Barb has a long list of accomplishments, to include being on the Olympic team in 2004, she always goes back to the strong feeling of being right with God and keeping her priorities in life straight.

For the future, Barb has decided to retire from racing triathlon and will move forward in life, to the next step. They will focus their time now and building their family with children. They will continue in the sport of triathlon with camps, clinics and spreading the word of how to keep your priorities straight and still be one of the best in the world.

We wish them well, and thank them for all they have done for our sport.

Mike Greer

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Some Funny Stuff

As I had mentioned in my initial post I will attempt to keep this site diversified. While I spent over 6 hours on the Skip Gilbert letter digest it almost made me feel like a real tri-geek, in total obsession of the sport and the politics of the sport. But, alas, I have gained my senses and now want to offer some humor or just tid-bits of some things I have seen in the news, or magazines. I have a great article coming up within a few days on one of the great female triathletes in the USA, but we need a break. Here goes:

"Chief Justice nominee John G. Roberts said in his opening statement at the confirmation hearings that he has no agenda and no platform. You know what that means? He could be the next Democratic candidate for President."---Jay Leno

"Dolphins washed out of an aquarium during the hurricane were rescued from the Gulf of Mexico. Later the dolphins said, 'Thank God we've been saved from swimming freely in the ocean and put back in our tanks.' "---Conan O'Brien

Who said, "Mission accomplished", while the killing goes on. At least they are killing each other and very few of our soldiers.---(not a joke) Mike Greer

Arrested. John Bush, 21, youngest son of Florida Governor Jeb Bush; on charges of public drunkenness and resisting arrest; in Austin, Texas. The Governor called the matter "private" and said he son was doing "fine". ---The scary thing about this is that Jeb would have been president but he actually had all of the brains in the family, so he left it up to the W man to rule. Also, if John keeps it up maybe he can repent, be born again, and then be our president in 25 years.---Mike Greer

James Madison, the 4th President of the United States was also the shortest president, standing with high heels at 5' 4". They called him, yep you guess it, "shorty." The tallest President of the United States was Abraham Lincoln(honest Abe) standing tall at 6' 4", they called him, yep you guess it again, "slim." --Mike Greer

Trivia question: What two presidents of the United States were grandfather and grandson?--Mike Greer

Died. Sergeant Mark Matthews, 111, oldest of the "Buffalo Soldiers," a legendary regiment of black G.I.s who fought frontier wars with Native Americans(they nicknamed the soldiers, whose curly black hair reminded them of the buffalo's mane), laid hundreds of miles of roads and telegraph lines and won 20 medals of Honor; in Washington. One of the World War II veteran's early missions was tracing Mexican bandit Pancho Villa along the Mexican border. "I never met him," Matthews said, "but I knew where he was at."--Time Magazine

"Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it."--George Carlin

"I think it would be great if you could make a guy's head explode just by staring at him."--George Carlin

"Most people don't know what they're doing, and a lot of them are really good at it."--George Carlin

Definition of triathlon from an intellectual viewpoint: "Triathlon is the evolution of synergistic motion."--Mike Greer

"The problem with aging is that you grow older."--Mike Greer

"I have never made love to a 10, but one night I had five 2's."--(edited) George Carlin

"In today's world I am really concerned about the influence of religion on spirituality, it is so detrimental to it."--Mike Greer

Good day!!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Digest of USA Triathlon's, Skip Gilbert's letter

As I had mentioned in my "purpose of this blog site" presentation I stated that it would cover many topics and of course would have some triathlon stuff in it. Well after receiving the September, 2005 issue of USA Triathlon Times I felt that I had to make some digest observations of the over 1000 word letter, written to the membership from Skip Gilbert, the Executive Director for USA Triathlon, starting with the word, RULES. Please understand that this is not to criticize his letter, to the contrary I sent him a private e-mail after reading it commending him for the professional, comprehensive way in which he approached the subject matter. This letter is probably one of the best, if not the best, I have seen presented to the membership in a long time.

So, what's my beef? None really, I just felt that since most members do not read this rag(even worse this time with lousy paper, small print and over 1000 words) so I will offer a Reader's Digest version. My hope is that someone reads my site and will get the message this letter intended.

Digest. By Webster definition, condensation of a literary work; a collection of works. In light of this that is how I will present this letter. The only variance from that will be if I want to add my two cents worth and offer my own opinion on the subject, I will so note(MC).

As I mentioned this letter has over 1000 words in it, with 17 paragraphs not including the definition paragraph. The point of this letter was to cover in detail all of the rules issues concerning the well publicized split between World Triathlon Corporation(WTC), Ironman North America(IMNA) and USA Triathlon(USAT). While not a real big deal in the great scheme of things going on in the world, i.e. Katrina, NFL, Iraq, NBA, etc., it is a real big deal and very impacting to the world of triathlon.

Para 1: As the National Governing Body for the sport of triathlon USA Triathlon is responsible for establishing the rules of the sport, and training the officials that will uphold the rules in times of competition.

Para 2: Are rules meant to be changed? Absolutely. As the growth of the society or sport evolves the needs change. Time has a way of proving all things, both in life and sport. Self evaluation is always good and should occur.

Para 3: After attending a number of races since April it seems to me(SG) that some rules may need to be amended. Much time and effort has been put into the current rules, but there is always room for self evaluation and consideration for current trends.

Para 4: The entire staff just attended a "think tank" to brainstorm and think outside the box and look at ever aspect of the Federation. The goal was to emerge from that meeting with a new perspective and ideas for how the Federation can evolve to new levels. Details of this will be covered in future publications.

Para 5: Back to the rules. As many of our membership has heard the reason for the WTC/IMNA/USAT split concerns how the sport should be governed, not just the rules in question. My(SG) letter is to explain how this split occurred, from our perspective and what we are doing for the future.

MC: It should be explained now that World Triathlon Corporation and Ironman North America are totally separate and privately owned corporations. They have no mutual ownership and operate independently from one another. World Triathlon Corporation owns the rights to anything associated with the Ironman name and mark. Ironman North America is a licensee of the World Triathlon Corporation. While the IMNA races in North American has sancitoned with USAT in the past, WTC has nothing to do with the sanctioning or governance. To my knowledge WTC/IMNA has never had a beef about how the sport was to be governed by the National Governing Body. Their issue was simply about some of the rules, the conduct of some of the USAT officials, and the feeling by WTC that there is a need for a Global rule book. So, this conflict and split resulted after the rules became the primary issue and not about any other factor as far as the public knows.

Para 6: No one at USAT is happy about the split or the issues at hand. It will result in a reduced monetary stream to the Federation and has created some very negative overtures amongst our members. The separation is only in part due to the rules conflict.

MC: Excuse me Mr. Skip, that last sentence is really important. If there are other major issues then how about sharing them with your membership. For me I am annual member 039252 and I am not aware of any issues concerning this split other than the rules conflict.
Please enlighten your membership through your web site as to the other issues. You are double speaking here, fess up, what are the other issues?

Para 7: Discussions with WTC lead us to believe that they want to self-insure, self-govern, and self-officiate in all of its global competitions. We do support that business decision. Where we ran afoul was when WTC requested 15 rule dispensations for the Honu Half Ironman in mid season, we approved 14 of them and WTC said, "no deal and pulled the sanction request." One bit of interesting statistics should be noted, WTC-licensed races made up less than one percent of all races sanctioned by USAT, yet accounted for 18 percent of our reported incidents.

MC: Boy, I have never seen as much double speak in one paragraph in my life. First, if USAT could approve 14 of 15 dispensations why in heavens name couldn't both organizations come to some form of mediation on the rule. Since this action by both orgs supposing caused the split, surely they could have acted like grown ups here and resolved the matter. Just so we all know, the 15th rule dispensation concerned the "stand down" rule requiring athletes to stand down on the course after being penalized. Neither party would give on this, even though this had been done before in Kona. In relation to the percentage given on WTC license events this is really a bunch of double speak junk. First, while WTC license events only represent 1% of total races sanctioned, that is out of all races sanctioned by USAT totaling over 1500. These races have anywhere from 25 participants to 2000, while the WTC/IMNA license events have over 20,000 participants. Generally speaking these athletes within a 70% range, hold an annual license. So, the WTC/IMNA participation with USAT is significant and a huge loss. Second, of course the WTC/IMNA license events will have 18% of the claims. After all these are Ironman distance or Half Ironman distance races. Common sense tells me that if I am out on a course from 8-17 hours swimming, biking and running I have more of a chance of being injured than being out on a sprint course for an hour. Check you stats Skip, most races are in the sprint category. Third, what is the point here? Does this mean that USAT was considering not sanctioning the WTC events because of this or does this mean that USAT is such a compassionate organization they sanction events in spite of the risk. Anyway you answer it the double speak is bursting out all over the place.

Para 8: We believe that WTC should have a Global rule book, and we started a process to help them move in that direction. But, due to the checks and balances in our organization and the fact that WTC is privately owned we cannot move as fast as they can. The fact that WTC is privately owned and its focus on driving revenue allows it to make changes more quickly than the non-profit organization. We could not meet the demands that were presented to us in April by WTC and simply could not accept them.

MC: Double speak again, the only excuse USAT has for not being able to react sooner to any point of concern, not just this one, is the fact it is so muddled with so much bureaucracy it cannot make decisions like it should. I know for a fact that this issue of the rules was discussed in November, 2004, while I was the interim executive director at USAT, and I ask for a meeting of all concerned to start working out this problem. Due to many reason beyond my control it was never done, therefore missing our widow of opportunity for a mediation of this problem. Blaming this problem on a profit making organization is beyond comprehension to me. It should have never gone into the season, period. A report was filed by me to the new executive director and board president outlining the problems, but nothing was done. The process that Skip mentioned was a good one and well presented; however, it was a day late and a dollar short!

Para 9: We, in the sporting world, should hold our athletes responsible for the breaking of rules. The same model in society should carry over to the sporting world. Rules cannot be altered to appease the athletes whims and desires, to achieve a better performance. Calls must be made by officials as the infraction happens.

Para 10: USAT has been criticized for holding athletes accountable to the letter of the rule. People complain that the "intent" was not there. Simply stated, by calling the foul, the playing field level and fair, plus safer. If you run a race and do not call any penalties, you have destroyed the integrity of the competition.

MC: You only destroy the integrity of the competition if you see penalties and do not call them. The original statement appears to offer a "quota" system, meaning so many penalties must be called, regardless. In some circles USAT officials have be accused of the "quota" system.

Para 11: USAT will not change the rules just to appease the revenue-model philosophy or a knee-jerk reaction to the complaints of a select group of athletes. But, if you do have a complaint please contact us through our e-mail site, stating the problem and your recommended solution.

MC: This double speak is driving me crazy, I thought it was only reserved for the Federal Government. The statements about revenue-model philosophy are simply too much. Mr. Skip says write us with new rules recommendation, why they are good and needed, etc., but God forbid if you are a profit making organization please save the stamp. I am reminded of the enormous salaries that are paid the USAT staff, the $500m annual profits(I mean reserves) and the $2 million in the bank of this non-profit entity. Please note, and read my lips we are all revenue driven no matter the corporation makeup. If we are not we will be out of business(spank me for mentioning the b word).

Para 12: Our Board President Brad Davison will form an ad hoc committee to study the rules and rule changes. We will also work with the ITU to bring the national powers to a summit to work toward common ground.

MC: Couldn't hardly wait to get to this one. If USAT has any hopes of getting this problem solved DO NOT FORM THIS STUPID, WASTEFUL COMMITTEE!!! It will never get it done. The last committee that Brad form was called the "Re-think" committee for finding a site for the National Age Group Championship. It bombed in the worst way and ultimately caused a delay of over 4 months in determining the site. The site was finally acquired by the work of the staff. Then, bringing in the ITU will certainly not get it done. Boy, there is some big butt kissing going on here. Folks, the problem is with the largest organizations in the sport offering the premier events in the sport and USAT should be part of that. The ITU has no clue as to the needs of the age group athlete. Please remember they are the ones who drive the sport.

Para 13: There are rumors that our Federation are too militant in protecting our rules. My response is that we will use the dialogue from the ITU meetings, take a look at what our members send us and develop a strategic point of view.

MC: Double speaker, double speaker, read my lips, the ITU doesn't have a clue for the age group athlete. You are selling your soul to the devil of the sport!!!

Para 14: With more than 250,000 annual members and one-day license holders, more than 1,600 sanctioned races, countless volunteers, coaches, and officials USAT is the largest organizations serving the multi-sport needs of athletes on the planet. We have the safest and fairest rollback.

MC: Broken down, 60,000 annual members and 190,000 one day license members. USAT is not only the largest, but the only organization serving the triathlon/duathlon world.

Para 15: As the National Governing Body, it is our mission to create programs and initiatives to impact our sport positively. Rules are one of the most important elements and changes must come from a majority opinion and embrace many points of view. We will not make rule changes to enhance the bottom line, replacing the integrity of the competition for good television.

MC: Lip service bs Mr. Skip. You were sounding real noble until you got to the "good television" part. Your lovely org the ITU set the example here, everything they do with the presentation of triathlon has to do with television and revenue drive. Better re-think this statement.

Para 16: We stand ready, as we always have, to meet and discuss a common set of rules to be applied to long and ultra distance triathlon.

MC: This is confusing, the rules are the rules, having nothing to do with the distance of the race. Yesterday I did a sprint triathlon, next week I will do a half ironman triathlon. The basic rules will be the same, no-drafting, wetsuit based on water temp, mount and dismount line, blocking, improper abandonment of equipment, etc., etc. What do you mean relative to long and ultra distance? If you expect to get an answer from the ITU on this you are out of luck, since they never go over the Olympic distance and recognize the Ironman distance as cruel and inhuman.

Para 17: We invite the thousands of members to write us, consult with us at USAT, and we will take USA Triathlon and the multi-sport lifestyle to unprecedented heights.

End of letter and all for today, this took longer than expected but did reveal somethings to me I had not picked up before. This is a meaty letter, which also had more in it that I diagree with than I had originally thought. However, I still commend Skip for the letter even though I have some serious disagreements with some of it's contents. Hopefully, everyone will read it, either in USA Triathlon Times(not likely) or here. Comments are encouraged and expected.

Mike Greer

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Mission Statement

In my excitement to get this site going I failed to include the mission statement of Here it is in all it's glory:

The mission of is to provide a well diversified menu of subjects, concerning all that is happening in the world today, in a positive and informative way. Dialogue will always be encouraged and accepted, with the goal of keeping it in a positive tone.

Mike Greer

Monday, September 05, 2005

Sorry I said that!

Well I am excited about this new thing called a blog site, I am going to have some fun with this. Have only had a few bumps in trying to get it going, but after all I am from the manual Royal typewriter era. Fact is I made an A in typing in college with a personal best of 81 words per minute. Wow, I knew you computer geeks would be impressed. On to better ideas here. Well I would hope that most of my information on this site would be original, but I am sure it won't be. Fact is I received something in the mail the other day that I thought would be interesting to share. Of all places it came from my friendly electric co-op that sends me those outlandish bills each month. After recovering from the bill I noticed some tid bits enclosed in the envelope.

To start: "This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communications. The device is inherently of no value to us."--An internal Western Union memo, 1876. "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."--IBM chairman, Thomas Watson, 1943. "Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."--Producer Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, 1946. "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."--Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale Univ., 1929. "That rainbow song's no good. Take it out."--MGM memo after first showing of The Wizard of Oz. "You ain't going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck."--The Grand Ole Opry's Jim Denny to Elvis Presley, 1954. "You'd better learn secretarial skills or else get married."--Modeling agency, rejecting Marilyn Monroe in 1944. "Forget it. No Civil War picture ever made a nickel."--MGM executive, advising against investing in Gone With The Wind. "There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."--Nobel Prize-winning physicist Robert Milliken, 1923. "But it good for?"--Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip. ""Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"--H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927. "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy!"--Driller who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859. "The world is coming to an end in 1950." --Historian Henry Adams, 1903.

Now from Andy Rooney and I quote: "I believe that if you are selling me a milkshake, a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English! As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English!"-------"My father and grandfather didn't die in vain so you can leave the countries you were born in to come over and disrespect ours. I think the police should have every right to shoot your sorry ass if you threaten them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word, "freeze" or "stop" in English, see the previous lines."-------"I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you are qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or any other business."------"We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wares to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over and tell us our constitution is a living document; and open to their interpretations."------"I don't hate the rich. I don't pity the poor."------I know pro wrestling is fake, but so are movies and television. That doesn't stop you from watching them."------"When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling, it is the Law of Probability."------"I am sick of Political Correctness. I know a lot of black people, and not a single one of them was born in Africa; so how can they be African-Americans? Besides, Africa is a continent I don't go around saying I am a European-American because my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was from Europe. I am proud to be from America and nowhere else."------And in summary, "If you don't like my point of view, tough!!!"

In a followup to my comments on the criminal football player at Texas Tech and the criminal basketball player at Baylor University this is the latest: The player at Baylor is off the team, enuff said. While Head Coach Mike Leach(Coach Brilliance around here) stands by his man, who is now facing possible jail time. When ask if this player faced any team disciplinary action for his actions, Coach Brilliance stated, "that's an internal matter, and we don't share material on internal matters." When asked what constituted grounds for any player on his team to be suspended or dismissed, Brilliance said: "Stealing, drugs, mistreating a woman." Is this disgusting or what? The one question I have is if the player in question is in jail, will he be given an over night pass to play in the Tech games or will he have to break out of jail(after all that is not in the list of offences pointed out by Brilliance, so it would be okay). As the Raiders turn! Thank God for the integrity of Coach Sharp and Coach Knight! There is hope!

This is going to be fun!!