Monthly Archives: January 2016

Getting OCR into the Olympics

Spartan head person Joe De Sena quite famously has a goal of getting obstacle course racing into the Summer Olympics.

Personally, I’m completely indifferent to this goal. I’m unlikely to ever compete Olympically, and while I recognize that growth in the industry is likely to have positive impacts on the availability and quality of races I have the opportunity to participate in, I have no idea whether seeking Olympichood is the most effective method of achieving that growth.

Nevertheless, I do love a good theoretical puzzle, so I’ve been wondering about what needs to happen to get OCR into the Olympics. And, while I can’t claim to be an expert on getting sports into the Olympics, I do have a few ideas that range from amusing to legitimate to completely-stupid-but-also-kind-of-thought-provoking-in-that-Ig-Nobel-Prize way.* And here they are:

Fantasy OCR: Let me start by saying that fantasy sports are something I don’t understand, in the sense that they don’t appeal to me and I can’t fathom anything that would lead me to join such a league. However, I have asked a friend who plays in multiple fantasy football leagues why he does so. According to him, fantasy football is great, because—and this is a direct quote—“Because it forces me to be excited about games that I don’t care about.”

One could certainly debate the moral gelatinousness of being forced to care about things you don’t care about, but that’s not important for this discussion. What is important is the fact that a sport with legions of fans is more likely to be added to the Olympic roster than one that has obsessive participants but whose only fans are people who know those participants personally and that one creepy guy on the internet.** And if millions of people don’t necessarily enjoy it but they start feeling compelled to obsess about every week’s results, well, that’s as good as fandom to the Olympic committee.***

Synchronized OCR: It worked for swimming. And diving. And biathlon. (It’s a shame synchronized biathlon**** doesn’t make the broadcast that often.) And none of this Team Ninja Warrior shit, where (as far as I can tell without owning a TV) it’s just a head-to-head race—to be Olympic-worthy, the synchronicity has to be judged, and it has to be judged separately from the performance, so it’s okay to perform absolutely shittily, as long as you perform absolutely shittily in synchronicity with your teammate. That’s what viewers want.

All the human interest stories: Olympic broadcasts, these days, are about 12% sport and 388% human interest. (Are there four channels of Olympic broadcasts these days? I know there was the Triplecast fiasco a while ago, but now there’s eight billion cable channels and there’s a limit to how many times the tapes of Wings can be played before they’ll disintegrate, so there’s probably more now.)

Anyhow, to be television-ready, every competitor should prepare a 3-5 minute multimedia package about their biggest failure, their greatest tragedy, and the childhood hero who changed their life. They should also prepare 3-5 backups for each in case their first choice is duplicated by a more prominent athlete. They also need to provide good B-roll footage of training (preferably including that shot where you clap freshly chalked hands together and the chalk flies everywhere), crying, and interacting with actors portraying an inspirationally disabled relative.

Americanization: We could pretend that the Olympics are about sport, or we could grow the fuck up and realize they’re about cash. I assume that the bulk of revenues from the Olympics come from TV deals, and that the U.S. is the most lucrative TV market there is (since we’re the ones with the wherewithal to watch at least 306 hours of television apiece over two weeks.)

Now, the Olympics do require sports to be played in a reasonably large number of countries before they’ll be considered. But Americans want to watch Americans win medals. We don’t give no fucks ‘bout foreigners, stealing our medals and impregnating our wimmins. So anyone with a legitimate shot at gold should defect. Except that a Canadian can win occasionally, as long as their top rival that year is Russian.

Mud Girls: Sex sells, so lots of sports have incorporated eye candy into their culture, in the form of ladies whose work is absolutely critical to the functioning of the match, while purely coincidentally having large breasts. There’s the Oakland Raiderettes, the Chicago Blackhawks Ice Crew, MMA Ring Girls, and, hottest of all, the Phillie Phanatic.

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Kickline

That last paragraph wasn’t entirely correct. In addition to having very large breasts, they also wear extremely small shorts. Public domain image by Big Cowboy Kev via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dallas_Cowboys_cheerleaders_Kick_Line.jpg

Now, OCR likes to think that it’s above that, and as far as I know, most participants are.***** But much as how the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders don’t actually have much of an impact on whether Dez Bryant catches that pass, the mud girls wouldn’t be there for the participants, but for the spectators. Anything for eyeballs!

In the name of equality, there probably should be mud boys as well. But while ladies would appreciate it, all of my cultural knowledge says that women get more turned on by emotion than visual stimulation. And thus, to serve them, there needs to also be…

OCR Erotica: Written-word porn is a powerful thing. 50 Shades of Grey—that bit of Twilight fanfiction gone horribly, horribly wrong—has been cited as one of the factors that helped Great Britain emerge from recession in 2012. (By a comedian, but cited nonetheless!)

So if someone turns OCR into a good popular porn romance series, then OCR’s burgeoning economic power would sweep it into the Olympics in a heartbeat. Seems like it’s time to figure out how spears, cargo nets, and monkey bars can produce female orgasms.


* As an aside, is it appropriate to award myself “The Ig Nobel Prize of OCR?” Because I like to think I could pull that off. If nothing else, that will be my Olympic dream.

** Not me. I’m that other creepy guy on the internet.

*** And nearly as good as a hefty, hefty bribe.

**** Biathlon is actually my closest Olympic connection, because when my brother was a kid and I was a much younger kid, he was on a swim team with Olympic biathlete Joan Guetschow. I mean, she wasn’t an Olympic biathlete at the time, but she eventually became one.

***** That’s a potentially huge bag of worms, so let me rephrase slightly: The culture of OCR seems to be one of respecting people, both men and women, for their accomplishments rather than creepily stalking them and turning them into sexual objects for their appearance. At least I have not seen or experienced any form of sexual harassment. But then again, to sexually harass me someone would have to be blind, stupid, racist, indifferent to humanity, suffering from acute appendicitis, and blind again. So I’m not a terribly valid authority on the subject. If it is an issue, then I hope that it can be discussed and eliminated. Now, back to hypothetical objectification for comedic purposes!

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Filed under Commentary, Funny, Obstacle Course Racing, OCR Ideas, OCR in culture

The Innuendo WOD

Let me preface this by saying that I am neither a qualified trainer nor an internationally known sex expert, so if you do this workout, I am not responsible for injuries, blushing, divorce, or chafing.

Secondly, let me express my surprise that this hasn’t been done before. Actually, that’s not completely true. You can find variations of the “fitness terms that sound dirty” article on several magazine websites—all from the same publisher—but that article’s a bit sanitized. It’s being dirty in a family-friendly way that won’t piss off the makers of that Noxzema goo that some people like to spurt all over their faces. Meanwhile, I have no advertisers to offend should I lunge toward obscenity. Really, you could view my lack of popularity as a blow for freedom.

(See what I did there? I said “blow.” Tee hee.)

With that said, let’s get right into the workout:

The Innuendo WOD

  1. Start with a set of running fartleks. Trust me, you’ll want to get those out of the way.
  2. A barbell will offer several solid, if obvious, exercise options. Squat presses are a good warm up, but you’ll quickly want to get into a nice clean and jerk. If you’re feeling especially frisky, you can also try to tackle the snatch. And finally, a wrist curl may be an option, depending on your thoughts about stereotypes from 80s movies. No matter what you do, be sure you put all of your weight back on the rack when you’re done.
  3. Place your palms on a 20-inch box and slowly lower your chest down to it for some inclined push-ups. Then, flip-flop and use the box for tricep dips, making sure your backside stays really close.
  4. Time for a bit of medicine ball work. Grab your ball firmly and slam it to the ground sexagesimally. You can grab multiple balls if you’re not sure what weight you need. If you need a break, you can split up this set with a round of wall balls. Just keep them spunky!
  5. For a cardio blast, rip 50 jumping jacks off, real quickly. It should take you less than a minute
  6. Climbing holds

    Seriously, the easy ones are called jugs. And they often come in pairs!

    Find the nearest climbing wall. Grab a pair of jugs, tight, and pull yourself up until your body gently caresses them. Stay there as long as you can until you just can’t keep yourself up any longer.

  7. Grab a set of battle ropes and make them undulate up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and back up again.
  8. Time for some work with the spear. While you can practice your throwing technique, you should also practice with it as a melee weapon, thrusting your spear into a hay bale forcefully, over and over again.
  9. Finally, find a swimming pool or lake and do 100 meters of breaststroking. Start by breaststroking vigorously, but after you’ve reached a climax you can cool off with some gentle, relaxed breaststroking. And if you are in a lake and you find you’ve gone out too far, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask a man in a boat to help get you off the water.

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So What Exactly is Fat Boy Big Wall, Anyhow?

Today is the 1 year, 2 month anniversary of this blog, roughly, which is the traditional time to look back and take stock of where you are and where you’re going. Right? If not, well, tough, I’m doing it anyhow.

I started this site because I was browsing at Barnes & Noble and saw a book—a sort of inspirational personal journey story about how someone got her (I think) ass off the couch and did a Spartan Beast or Ultra Beast or Mega Beast or Power Rangers Ninja Beast or something like that. I didn’t buy the book, and my subsequent searches haven’t found the book again, so I don’t have any actual detail about it.

I was of two minds in my reaction to the book. First, cool, someone wrote a book, and it’s about OCR, which I’m interested in, and it’s in a bookstore, which is neat. And second, ugh, because it’s an inspirational personal journey story that will inspire you to be inspired, and that’s a genre that just makes me cranky.

So my plan was to start my own site, which would be a demented comic take on the inspirational genre, with an OCR focus, and a long-term goal of turning it into a book. Yep, I’d like a book deal. Actually, I’d like about 50 book deals. I’ve had a book deal, and they’re not generally the ticket to easy street that people think they are.

There’s still some strains of that anti-inspirational focus, but as a main thrust of the blog it quickly fell by the wayside. I’m not really sure how to pull it off in the long term, or if a blog is really the right way to tackle it—I’ll freely admit that I’ve used this site for personal reflection, sometimes rambling in ways that amuse myself to see where those rambles go, and the anti-inspirational parody would probably need a lot more focus to pull off without becoming mind-boggling repetitive. Like, maybe even going so far as to create an alter ego to write as. Lots of effort—maybe worthwhile, but not really feasible for me at this time.

I’ve gone through my posts to roughly characterize them. If my counts are correct, there are 47 that I’d consider personal, 43 that I’d consider comedy, 25 that I’d consider commentary, and 22 that are event reports.

The “Personal” category is higher than I’d like, although I’m also not too concerned. On one hand, a lot of that is personal goal-setting, which I’m going to keep doing—in addition to being a comedy OCR blog, I’m hoping this will help to keep me honest and achieve my fitness goals. (Be inspired! Be inspired now, goddammit!) A lot of the more personal posts came in the early days of the blog, so the focus has already shifted in a direction that I’m more satisfied with.

The “Event Reports” category is also kind of personal, but I’m okay with that. I try to keep the information I include to that which is noteworthy, or at least interesting or amusing, so I’ll keep doing them.

“Comedy” and “Commentary” are the most interesting parts to me. First off, the line between the two is pretty fuzzy, which I’m happy with. It means I’m amusing (at least to myself) when I’m ranting, or being thoughtful (relative to my standard state) when I’m trying to be funny. Some good examples include “The Fiesta Bowel Has a New Sponsor,” “Why I’m Pro-Litter,”or “Giving the News about the New OCR TV Show an Arctic Enema.”

I’m really surprised that I enjoyed writing the commentary/nonfiction pieces as much as I did. I think there’s a couple reasons for that. First off, I don’t feel any pressure to comment on “the big news of the day.” Instead, I pick topics that amuse me.

Secondly, most of the topics that I chose are ones that I’m interested in but don’t have any personal stakes in. It’s a bit more of an academic interest. I’m definitely not arguing for the sake of arguing—I really hate the modern state of discourse, where you stake out your position and defend it without any regard for fact and anyone who questions anything you say is committing treason and anyone who you question is a liar and an idiot. Instead, not to be too immodest, I can be more nuanced. I like to look at a situation and say, this side is being silly here and here, and this side is being silly here and here, and here and here are things that are functioning exactly the way our capitalist system is designed, and it might be nice to curb that impulse but it’s not really practical, and so on.

I’m also not compelled to only make arguments that fit into a tweet, which is nice.

This definitely isn’t a news site—other places do that better than I could without quitting my job and doing this full-time, and I’m not terribly interested in a lot of the news anyhow. But I do harbor some delusions that I can introduce some analysis that goes a bit deeper than the hysterical hand-wringing I see on most OCR Facebook groups, and approach discussions from a somewhat different than typical angle. Maybe even raise the tone of discourse in the industry slightly, before lowering it again with jokes about sharting.

I’m still not sure if that leads directly to a book deal. Probably not, but that’s okay. Things will work out. Or they won’t. Things are like that.

(Hmm. If I keep spouting off wisdom like that, maybe I should forget about the book deal and start a cult.)

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2016 Goals

The second of my three New Year’sy posts is going to focus on my goals for (roughly) the year. Last year I did these monthly, which sort of worked. Definitely I do better with some goals on the books—I didn’t for the last two months of the year and, yug. But I’m not sure if monthly is the ideal way for them to break down. That’s both because it’s not always clear what’s realistic to happen in a month, and because when I didn’t meet monthly goals, they just sort of disappeared.

So instead I’ll do a massive list of all of the goals I can think of, and go from there. I’ll still follow up on them monthly, because I know that’s the most exciting part of this website. That’s despite the fact that I won’t be actively working on all of them at once—that’s simply not practical. And some of them simply aren’t practical, even in a year’s time. But I’ve adjusted for that in my head, so it’s okay.

Fitness goals
These are kind of weird in that they’re relatively connected—just about all of them will become a lot more feasible as my weight decreases. Also, some of them have incremental goals to meet on the way that I’m not describing here just to keep the list a bit more reasonable. In no particular order, they are:

  • Weight of 200
  • Kick into a handstand
  • Do the gym’s monkey bars down and back without stopping
  • Do the gym’s monkey bars one way swinging every other rung
  • Do a sloth walk the full length of the gym’s monkey bars
  • 10 consecutive pull-ups (4 currently)
  • 10 consecutive double-unders while jumping rope (2 currently)
  • 50 consecutive push-ups
  • 100 consecutive sit-ups
  • 200 consecutive squats
  • Complete a muscle-up on the gym’s monkey bar rig (I can currently do when aided from a 30-inch box)
  • Complete a dip
  • Hurdle the yellow thingy. (The “Yellow Thingy” is a device at my gym that is basically an upside-down squared-off U-shaped bar with feet—we often use them for inclined pull-ups, but recently one of the trainers has been using them as an added wrinkle in suicide sprints, where we can either hurdle them or crawl under. They have a name—it’s something like “Excelerator” or “Excalibur,” and the trainers use it all the time, and I’ve never managed to remember what it is. It’s about 28 inches tall.)
  • Do 30-inch box jumps
  • Row 500 meters in 1:30
  • Run a 5K in 25 minutes
  • Do a no-burpee Sprint run
  • Climb the rope in a Spartan race (I can do it in the gym, but not mud-coated)
  • Climb the 8-foot wall in a Spartan race (I can do a 6-footer, but I’d like to complete the obstacle that gave the blog the name)
  • Complete a pistol squat
  • Complete a 1-armed push-up
  • Complete a 1-armed pull-up
  • Complete an unassisted roll-up sit-up (to standing)
  • Stair climb challenge: This is one I don’t have a specific goal yet. I’m planning to do the stairs at my gym (8 flights, from basement to 7) 3 times and time it. Since I haven’t tried it yet, I don’t have a current time, or a goal.
  • Bouldering: Complete V2s at First Ascent Uptown. (I’ve only been there once and did V0s and a couple V1s.)
  • Complete 8 events—OCRs or other races—this year.
  • Do the splits.

General life goals
These are a bit more interesting, actually, even though they’re less relevant to the focus of this site.

  • Get a new job. The biggie. When this happens (I really hope “when” is the right word), I think everything else gets a lot easier. I should state that my job isn’t actually bad; it’s just not the right situation for me. The badness of that situation, and specifically the isolation of working alone, at home, where I live, alone, and recreate, alone, makes it a lot harder to resist the temptations that sabotage my other goals.
  • Create daily. After working out, creating (generally writing, though a few other things that I do qualify) is the best thing I’ve found to help me regulate my mood. For the purposes of this goal, I want to be creating at least 30 minutes a day—which doesn’t include the writing that I do for my job, and also doesn’t include things like editing or administration or planning stuff that is important but that are also easy to use to procrastinate instead of creating.
  • Finish major projects. There are four big ones—let’s just call them out as books—that are in various stages that I want to complete and submit for publication. Priority #1 is Dad’s Little Book of Rage, which… well, it’s hard to describe the status of. I mean, the first draft is written, and I’m pretty happy with it—but it also requires illustration, which is a realm that I don’t have any kind of understanding of. I’m illustrating it using South Park-style construction paper collage, which feels appropriate for it. That was coming along quickly, but lately I’ve started doing much more elaborate pieces. (Making a chain-link fence out of construction paper is a pain in the ass.) My best guess is that I’m about 30% done with the illustrations, but who actually knows? After that one, projects in the works in some order are Uncle Greg’s Guide to Uncling, Wormhole Village, and Solo Fondue Party.
  • Cook more. This is tricky—since I live alone, cooking from scratch usually means having 4-6 days of leftovers, which gets repetitive. Rather than specifying a number of times cooking, I’m going to set a goal of adding 12 recipes to my repertoire this year.

Excited yet? Tomorrow I’m going to be even more navel-gazy and write about the state of this site, in a probably futile attempt to define its mission and scope and other buzzwords. Stay tuned!

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