Here I am, poised and confident, ready to take on the mechanical bull ride at our church’s annual Fall Hoe-Down yesterday.
Here I am, getting thrown from the bull approximately 12 seconds later.
On the surface, a 12-second ride is nothing to be ashamed about. After all, professional bull riders spend their entire careers aiming for an eight-second ride on top of the real thing. So 12 seconds on a mechanical bull seems fairly decent at first glance.
Decent, that is, until I tell you another small detail: the bull was set at level one.
Apparently there are six levels of increasing difficulty on this contraption. Level one is the newbie/baby/beginner level. It’s also the same level that my 3-year-old daughter rode for over 20 seconds, and my 6-year-old daughter rode for over 30. My wife was able to ride it for 40 seconds, then hung on for another 10 seconds after it switched to level two.
To repeat, clearly for the record: level one threw me in 12 seconds. On a related note – it’s hard to tell for sure, but in the second picture above, I’m fairly certain the bull operator is laughing at me.
My performance was so dismal that even my normally-compassionate wife felt compelled to tease me. Which led to the following exchange:
Her: I did a lot better than you on that bull.
Me: I know … but I’m not used to riding anything that doesn’t have aero bars.
It wasn’t my snappiest line ever, but it was the best I could come up with on the spot. But the triathlon analogy may not be too far-fetched – because …
Truthfully, I did terrible. But in comparison to my wife and daughters, I did great – because for some reason, they decided against putting live crickets in their mouths, and chose not to compete. So score one point for me in the cricket category.
I’ve often said that to be a good triathlete, you don’t have to be excellent at anything – you just have to be willing to muddle through three disciplines in a halfway decent fashion. You can’t let your weaknesses dictate your level of participation. And that's exactly the point I was demonstrating at the hoe-down.