Jaws was a Rogue

By: Kevin Irwin

Probably everyone has heard Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” First off, it’s the theme from Rocky III and I pity the fool who has doesn’t know anything about that movie. Second, it’s probably played in an endless loop at some point on the course of every marathon (and maybe half marathon) to inspire you. Going to high school during the mid 80’s, I definitely heard that song many, many times – we used to listen to this on the bus to and from our meets in high school (that and the Vision Quest soundtrack). For some unknown reason during my run the other day, I began to reflect on it, even question it.

No doubt, a tiger is a fearsome predator – sleek, stealthy, and powerful. However, once it finds a warm spot in sunshine, it’s nap time for kitty. A few toys and its playtime. Really, the only difference between a tiger and your house cat seems to be about 600 pounds. (As we’ve learned from the Oatmeal, your cat is as just as vicious a killer and is probably plotting your demise at this very moment.) Wouldn’t we rather want to emulate an animal whose commitment to awesomeness is a little more certain? Something both hungry and determined 24/7?

What are some possible replacements? Crocodiles? Even more mean tempered, but also even lazier. Wolves? Not quite as fearsome and similarly close to their domesticated cousins. Velociraptors?  Face it, Michael Crichton wrote fiction and played fast and loose with science – pretty much all of that badassery was purely speculative. No, nothing quite says “insatiable” like eating everything and anything. That really leaves only one answer: sharks. Just consider this slideshow of items found inside sharks’ stomachs.  (Yes, goats also eat everything and anything, but are you seriously going to go there?)

Sharks definitely have hunger covered, but how do they otherwise stack up to tigers? Sharks are also excellent hunters, being able to feel pressure changes from movement, sense minute electric fields, and smell blood from 1/4 of a mile away. To top it off, unlike those shiftless tigers, sharks don’t sleep. (Well, maybe, depending on how you define “sleep.” Insufficient research exists, but it is known that most species swim constantly.) Arguably sharks would be an excellent replacement for the tiger, other than screwing up the meter of the lyrics.

Anyway, it seems to me we as runners could do worse than emulating the shark.  Drawing lessons from the qualities already listed:

  • A shark is always hungry. Do not be satisfied with your successes. Find new goals and continue to strive to improve.
  • A shark never rests. Remain tirelessly consistent in your training. Consistency is the key to improvement.
  • A shark is an efficient and merciless killing machine. Hunt down each of your competitors in the race, place by place. Let the theme from Jaws play in your head as you do this. Better yet, let the theme from Jaws play in their heads as you pass them one at a time.

Sure, you could aim to be an overgrown pussy cat for 2013. But you can do better than that. Be a frickin’ shark! With a frickin’ laser attached to your frickin’ head!

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