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College Spirit in Tempe

Sunday, June 22, 2014
UC San Barbara sent costumed support

The triathletes at the USAT National Collegiate Championships in Tempe, Ariz. last April were well... triathletes. It was the team spirit and spirited inter-school competition that turned a good event into a great one. The supporters from UC San Barbara put both feet in the effort -- and then some. 

USAT National Collegiate National Championship
It may seem a little odd to be talking in a historical context about the 2014 USAT National Collegiate Championships held this year on April 4-5 in Tempe, AZ. But honestly, the event was a revelation – the embodiment of what the early visionaries in this sport had mind. Or was it actually beyond what they had in mind because such a thing was pretty much impossible to even contemplate 3o years ago?

The ascension of triathlon to the Olympic stage was an exercise of patience and political mastery. No doubt in some near future we will write on these pages the story of Carl Thomas, Les McDonald and How the Olympic Triathlon Came to Be. But there was nothing political about the collegiate competition in display in Tempe in April. I'm not sure how better to put it than joy. Folks were racing hard, yes, but they were also having a heckuva lot of fun. Triathlon is not yet a varsity sport with the NCAA universe, but if anything, its current club status seems to add rather than subtract. Under the tents that bore names of more than 40 U.S colleges and universities, from West Point to USC to Texas A & M, from Cal/Berkeley to Colorado to Georgia, were triathletes of every possible level of experience and skill. There were parents on hand to cheer, and rowdy groups of students on hand to cheer louder and harder. There were team chants and team tactics. The multisport lifestyle in the context of college club competition seemed neither intense nor all-consuming. It was loud, enthusiastic, and inclusive. Most of all, it was engaging. What a way to build a sport, I thought. What a way to build a national program. – MP