Tuesday, December 01, 2009
That was the hardest course conditions I have ever experienced at Ironman. Had it been my first, I don't know if I would have made it. Full race report to come when I get back to The States and dry out, but can I just say one thing?
Mexicans cheer WAY better than Anglo spectators.
Not even close. We’re talking Mexicans are to Michael Phelps as Anglos are to me.
If you’re doing an event in the U.S., you’ll get the occasional “way to go, guys,” or maybe “good job” or the dreaded “you’re almost there” along with the ubiquitous “WOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
This would be sorry fare indeed, judged by the prevailing norms south of The Border. The people of Cozumel lined their streets and made them into the equivalent of a rowdy soccer match. Men, women and children were out all day long, cheering pros and age groupers alike.
They were beating on drums.
They were beating on buckets and pails.
They were beating on pots and pans.
They were singing and chanting.
They cheered audibly and rhythmically for every sad sack that was limping by, well into the night. We heard:
We heard much that I did not understand (which might be best later in the day), But every competitor decked out in the Mexican flag was regaled with a rhythmic:
The little kids in their soprano voices were the best. They cheered every Mexican competitor as if he or she was an Olympian in the home stretch on the way to certain gold for the Mother Country.
Late in the evening, a little boy about 8 or 9 years old was sitting on a wall by an aid station as the walking wounded and left-over carnage from the bike course were limping through their marathon. In his little, heavily-accented voice he singled out an older, Anglo participant, and broke out his elementary school English training:
“GO! You-cahn-doo-eeet! You-cahn-bee EYE-RON MANG!”
The participant, to his great credit, acknowledged the encouragement. He looked straight at the boy and said:
“You can too. Some day, you can be an Ironman.”
Pay it forward people. Currency exchange is not necessary.