I’ve been living a double life. It’s time to come clean. I’m exhausted and uninspired. I hope this confession either reinvigorates me, or at least lessens the pressure that has left me turgid.
The worst part about my double life is that I started it as a cathartic exercise. I felt great, initially; anonymously, I was able to express the things everyone was thinking but no one had the guts to say. You see, the triathlon community is a small one weirdly fixated on being #INSPIRATIONAL and any opinion you vent is less than two degrees away from wounding someone’s feelings or “core beliefs.” So, if you want to get something off your chest, you resort to vaguebooking and subtweeting and hope your subject isn’t self-aware. Alternatively, you do that passive-aggressive thing Matt Lieto is so good at.
There are very few people who can get away with saying whatever they think. Jennifer Lawrence. Vladimir Putin. Andrew Starykowicz.
What a charmer. I didn’t recall that Starykowicz (“Starky”) was the Chicagoland guy who spent jail time for hit-and-running over a volunteer at the Abu Dhabi Triathlon. Last year, though, this big Purdue oaf corn-fed “CHAMPION” made news again when he declared that, in his first attempt, he would win the Ironman World Championship in Kona with a record bike split. You just don’t say these things aloud.
Starky went on to excuse away his literal meltdown in Kona with a picture of his hydration system’s straw. It was yellowed, you guys. The on course-nutrition in Kona was clearly “tainted” due to the heat, you guys. How could he be expected to win, when what the rest of us call “conditions” conspired against everyone him, you guys? OH NOT TO MENTION THE RADIOACTIVE WATER FROM FUKUSHIMA, you guys. Seriously, who makes these excuses aloud?
I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, so had my first run-in with the Starkymaniacs (namely, his wife).
The gift that keeps on giving then screamed at an interviewer (and had the evidence removed), paled around with human rights violators, and expressed dismay that WTC chose to contribute donations to the 3.2 million people affected by the 2013 Philippines Earthquake instead of Midwesterners left without power after a rash or tornadoes. It was hilarious: the non-fanboi tri-world found a ridiculous example of everything wrong with our sport –the most myopic and unprofessional professionals imaginable. Even Matt Lieto pales in comparison.
I adopted Starky’s personality and voice, and started the parody Twitter account juggernaut that is @TheRealStarky.
I am The Real Starky.
WHAT? YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME? FUCK YOU.
The Twitterverse and I got off to a rocky start: I made the mistake of linking directly to The Actual Starky’s blog, which got me booted off, temporarily. Afterward, it was smooth sailing –Starky kept being Starky; his wife tried to gang up on me, too; followers followed (I currently have 100 more than The Actual Starky); sponsors came on board; and the triathlon season wrapped up.
That’s when the real trouble started. The Actual Starky eventually ran out of things to say and so did I. And for a second there, I thought he found me out and everyone else would too. Panic!
But nope: false alarm; it was just a coincidence (that has made me seriously rethink my handle); and no one suspected a thing because no one knows who I am. YAAY, AGE GROUP ANONYMITY.
Eventually, I used Starky a mouthpiece to say scream all the horrible things I fantasized saying to peoples’ faces –or at least to their avatars. Things like DID YOU STRAIN A MUSCLE TAKING THAT NONCHELANT SELFIE?
or JUST DO YOUR WORKOUT! WE DON’T NEED PROOF!
or STOP TAKING PICTURES OF YOUR TRASH!
or OH THE MAILMAN CAME!
or A PICTURE OF YOUR GARMIN IS A WASTE OF AN INSTAGRAM FILTER.
or “DEAR” ANYONE OUTSIDE OF THE TOP 5 PROS IN KONA, NO ONE KNOWS WHO YOU ARE.
These things cross all our minds, no? But you can’t say them directly to the offenders, right?
It seems surreal, now, that some of the people I’ve sparred with include Sutto and Andrew Messick Hisself. Professionalism doesn’t run very deep in the arena of triathlon, it seems. Still, I could have been better, too. I could have stayed purely satirical and not sunk to, say, Matt Lieto’s level, picking on “sponsored” age groupers and their “elite” teams. Admittedly, TheRealStarky has jumped the shark.
I apologize to anyone I, as TheRealStarky, #UNFOLLOWED or offended. You just annoyed the crap out of me and the very few decent people left in triathlon, and deserved it.
Thanks for reading. It feels good to say all this out loud.