Waco’s Ironman weekend needs your help (and you don’t even have to swim)

One great thing about Waco: A spirit of volunteerism runs through our city.

The Ironman festival is counting on it.

Next weekend, the world’s greatest triathletes — and plenty of gritty amateurs — will flock to downtown Waco for Ironman weekend. The Ironman Waco 140.6 race is slated for Saturday, with the Ironman Waco 70.3 race following on Sunday.

Even if this isn’t your bag and you haven’t been training for months to get into triathlon shape, you’re still needed. These kinds of events don’t happen without an army of volunteers, and as of this writing there are still more than 1,000 people needed, said Mike Vogelaar, director of the Greater Waco Sports Commission.

Maybe you can’t swim 2.4 miles, or pedal for 112, or run for 26.2. (You’re not alone, my friend.) But what you can do is hand out water. You can help register athletes or help in the awards ceremony. You can point participants in the proper direction during the race.

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All of those kinds of volunteers are needed. Vogelaar said the absolute biggest area of ​​need is people with a medical background, everyone from those who have CPR training to full-on physicians.

The GWSC’s research estimates that the Ironman Festival weekend brings in as much as $16 million to the Waco economy. That’s a lot of hotel beds, a lot of meals, a lot of shopping. So, let’s say thanks to all those visitors spending their hard-earned dollars in our city by giving of our time. Come on, Waco. I believe in you.

To sign up, visit ironman.volunteerlocal.com.

Give it up for Goodnight

Speaking of the Ironman, let’s offer a rousing cheer for Waco’s favorite IronWoman.

I’m referring, of course, to Nancy Goodnight. This weekend Goodnight competed at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. By Nancy’s standards, it wasn’t her “smoothest” triathlon by any means. But come on, it’s the Ironman. Just finishing is a victory.

“It’s never easy, they are ALWAYS hard, but my 20th Ironman, and my 190th marathon, was my slowest and most humbling,” Goodnight wrote on Facebook. “I knew I wasn’t trained going in — new career, right glute injury (a total pain in the …) that has kept me from running since May. … But I had trained and fought so hard to qualify last October, I just couldn’t let it go.”

Goodnight later wrote that the wind, heat, hills and her injury conspired to make it a miserable race in many respects. She considered quitting, but persevered and ultimately ran across the finish line with a smile on her face.

And yes, amazingly, Goodnight will be back home in Waco next weekend, as the local race director for the Ironman Festival.

Her nickname is Squirrel, but God bless her, she’s really more of a Nut.

We’re so over these activities

With Baylor football on a bye week, I spent my Saturday night at the Heart of Texas Fair, enjoying the Midland concert. (One sentence review: Great show from one of my favorite modern country bands.)

That said, I witnessed one of the most overrated concert habits. If you’ve been to a concert anywhere within the past decade-plus, you’ve undoubtedly seen it (or done it).

Whenever a band starts playing one of their biggest hits, out come the cell phones by the hundreds. What a waste. You’re so focused on the camerawork that you’re not even grooving to the song. Meanwhile, when will you ever watch that video? Seriously. If you really want to see a (higher quality) video of that exact same song, just pull up YouTube.

Got me thinking, though: What are the most overrated things in sports? Not players or teams, mind you, but things.

I’m glad I asked. Here’s the list:

5. Super Bowl parties: We’ve all attended as many bad ones as good ones. They’re filled with folks who only care about the commercials or the food. If you really want to enjoy the game, just stay home.

4. In-game interviews: Doesn’t matter what sport it is, they tell you nothing and serve no purpose but annoying the coach/player being interviewed.

3. The Wave: It was played out 40 years ago. If you think the Wave is fun, you’re probably into leisure suits, too.

2. Thursday Night Football: We all watch it, because it’s football. But is it? The short week of preparation leads to some truly bad games. I think we were all checking Amazon’s return policy after last week’s Broncos-Colts stinker.

1. OVER-RATED, OVER-RATED: Retire this terrible chant yesterday. Do you not understand how, while trying to disparage the opponent, you’re actually insulting your own team?