Charles Agar: Eye of the Tiger
July 23, 2009
I’m living a sports improvement montage.
You know that scene in a movie when someone has a plan to win a race or a take on a deadly enemy and they set out to do it over a few minutes of artfully edited footage.
Stallone perfected the technique in “Rocky” as he boxed with hanging sides of beef and ran the steps of the Philadelphia Museum, and the makers of “South Park” spoofed the cliche of it when Stan learned to ski in Aspen.
I recently signed up to do a triathlon scheduled the week before my fiance and I tie the knot in September, and my sports montage starts with me rising from the couch one day in late June to jog a two-mile circuit on the roads behind our condo in Fraser. Can you hear the music swell?
Those first efforts are pure pain, but my “Rocky” triathlon training scene finds me cycling up Berthoud Pass, first slow and struggling, later at a good pace and steady, and eventually out of the saddle and pushing it (I haven’t filmed that last section yet).
The sequence artfully dissolves betweens images of me doing pushups in the early morning, splitting and stacking wood, and a long tracking shot of me as a lone figure running across a wide Rocky Mountain panorama. Inspiring really.
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There are of course setbacks and days when it’s nothing but misery. I crap out on a run one day and nearly granny-gear myself to death on Berthoud on another as a massive truck nearly pushes me off a switchback (never mind the new three-foot law – lots of big pick-ups and 18-wheelers still like buzzing by as close as they can).
But then there are those runs and rides when my legs and lungs work effortlessly and carry me along with a sense of inspiration, or when I can almost keep up with my friend Dane on our rides along the Fraser River Trail to work or out on the mountain bike trails.
The most inspiring shot of my training montage is when I spook a herd of horses in the field at the base of the Fraser Tubing Hill, the wild young steeds running along the fence ahead of me and then circling out into the field as I chug along – I think this was my training breakthrough and might mark the climax of the sequence.
I’m still not sure what music I’ll use as accompaniment, but when I train I hear refrains of “I Believe I Can Fly,” or the “You’re the Best Around” song from “The Karate Kid.” Not sure if I can get the rights to those popular ditties, though.
The only thing I’m missing is a plucky and eccentric trainer who delivers inspirational speeches and the occasional verbal beat-down, but this summer has inspired the eye of this tiger in me out on the trails and roads of the county and there’s just nothing like it.
– Charles Agar has just watched way too much TV over the years and is worried that the boundaries between art and life are slipping away. Contact him at email@example.com.