The highlight of my month was watching the World Athletics Championships. The best track and field athletes spent nine days competing in Budapest. Imagine the Olympics with prize money and with no sports other than track and field. It was bliss. It was agonizing. I cannot wait for the Olympics in Paris next year.
I love track and field because most of the athletes look normal. Like someone you'd see at Planet Fitness, taking a yoga class, or hanging out at the shore. A lot of the athletes have careers. Middle distance runner Laura Muir is a veterinarian. Triple jumper Hugues Fabrice Zango has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Marathoner Susanna Sullivan teaches sixth grade math. There are teenagers competing with people twice their age. The women and men compete in the same sports (except for the heptathlon vs. the decathlon). Non-binary athlete Nikki Hiltz is one of the sport's biggest stars.
There are still problems. Some people in the media mis-gender Hiltz. The governing body discriminates against DSD and transgender athletes. The uniforms still sexualize the athletes, especially the women. There is still pressures to develop eating disorders, especially for women. There is still pressure to take banned performance enhancing drugs, especially for athletes in the Global South. The way sponsorship works, while improving, remains fraught. The way the competitions are organized and promoted is a clusterfuck.
Even with its problems, it's the sport I appreciate the most. It's more global, accessible, and fair than any others. The part I like best is running: the 100, 200, 1,500, 5,000, and 10,000 meters, plus the mile, and half and full marathon. I also love cross country, and trail and ultra races.
It took me about a year to get it. I listened to podcasts. I read Allison Wade's Fast Women and Kyle Merber's The Lap Count. I watched videos of the races they cover. Now I recognize most of the biggest stars and can follow the stories as they unfold.
For me, the "major" sports feel remote, perverse, and pervasive. I appreciate following a sport I can play and watch. It's a joy to take pleasure in sports again.
Welcome to August 2023’s Disappearing Moment, an inventory of my experiences. I hope you enjoy it.
I used IMDB from the start. I didn't realize I was missing a superior resource. TMDB has restored some of my faith in the Internet.
Pine for an inflation-protected pension? Now is an ideal time to build a ladder of inflation-protected TIPS.
Thanks for spending a few moments with me. I look forward to corresponding again next month.