Do you ever stop and think about what kinds of entertainment you gravitate towards? Not just in a broad sense, the way my fiancee loves practically all "rom-coms" (romantic comedies). I'm talking in more specific terms, like what kinds of stories do you find most appealing, entertaining, thought-provoking or otherwise engaging. For me, it's simple. I love "against all odds" stories. Overcoming the impossible. Sports movies like "Rudy" make me bawl like a baby, but some of you know that already. In short, I'm inspired by David, slinging the rock at Goliath's menacing head. Heck, I've got an Underdog toy at my work desk!
I was thinking about this topic as I snapped shut a 400-page book I read in about three days. It's called "Unbroken," written by the same lady who wrote "Seabiscuit." The story of "Unbroken" defies belief. I still can't believe all this happened to one man, Louis Zamperini. He went from being an Olympic miler in the 1936 Berlin Olympics to serving in World War II as a bombardier aboard a B-24. Zamp, as he was known by friends, was shot down over the Pacific Ocean and survived with two others aboard a raft for nearly 50 days. Then, he was captured by the Japanese and endured two years of horrible torture in POW camps in Japan. When the war ended and Zamp finally came home, he had to battle his own demons and the nightmares of warfare before dedicating his life to helping troubled kids.
I find that stories like this fuel me for triathlon training and racing. If Zamp can persevere against odds that far surpass anything I'll likely deal with, how can I not push a little harder or dig a little deeper -- even if it hurts or is inconvenient? Lessons like these help at mile 17 of an Ironman.
We are by-products of what we consume, nutritionally and in other ways. I enthusiastically consume anything with an overcoming adversity message.
Zamp is a survivor, and so am I.
137 days and counting.