Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sourcing quotes and the extraordinary

In George Sheehan's 'Personal Best' there are a number of quotes from philosophers and writers that have some bearing on running. Mostly they are well chosen and crystallize a particular point, however none of them are referenced. They are introduced in a really lazy way like: "Emerson said...", or even worse " A French sociologist pointed this out.. ". I don't know who is at fault, an author who can remember a quote but not its source or a publisher who does not want to clutter up a page with footnotes. Whoever it was does not matter, the other person should have insisted on proper standards. Even a popular books should allow the reader to follow-up its content, through an index and references.

I particularly wanted to look at a quote from Jean-Paul Sartre:

"Only in games is man free because only in games does he understand what is going on"

I have no idea of its source and Google has failed me; so I will have to keep on looking. However the search is not without its rewards - not only have I decided to reread Roads to Freedom I have also found this quote from Nausea:

" I believe the word adventure could be defined: an event out of ordinary without being necessarily extraordinary."

This is a great definition of how I view running. When you look at the population as a whole, what we do is out of the ordinary but it is for the most part not extraordinary. There is however the possibility for the extraordinary, even the heroic. This report from Andy Collier about his completion of the Lanzarote iron man despite being ill with a stomach bug is a case in point. I don't know whether his endurance and bloody mindedness is exemplary or stupid, but it is certainly heroic.

The other thing that shines out from is account is the behaviour of Matt who offered both kindness and support out a sense of community. I think that is the great thing about triathlon or running. Mostly we are alone in our practice but we are also part of a community who share an understanding of what we are trying achieve and what we need. We are never really alone.


b-z said...

part of the reason i run--is because for the first time in my life-i feel accepted
thats the running community

and i can give back to it too

beanz said...

I was moved by Any's report - I could no timagine such fortitude.

Currently reading 'Feet in the clouds' Richard Askwith about fell running - some extraordinary tales there too.

Highway Kind said...


It is a very open society - if you run you are in. Nothing else is important.

I know you give back.

I have read that book. It is both humbling and uplifting. It made me realise how soft core I am.