Thursday, May 6, 2010

My favorite 2 (4?) sports come together to fight cancer

If you're a regular reader of the blog, you'll remember my occasional mentions of my love of all things hockey. Before I got into triathlons, hockey was the sport that most encompassed my life (it mostly still is). I am such a hockey fan that I was a founding member of an NHL booster club, and was even the clubs president for a while. Yes, I'm that cool dorky. That club is the Jacket Backers, and my team is the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The CBJ came to Columbus early in my time living there, and from the first season on I was hooked. For the first few years of the franchise, the team was comprised mostly of experienced journeymen, minor leaguers, and rookies new to the league. While I have enjoyed watching all of the teams players over the years, the players from the first few years have continued to stand out as my favorites.

One of these favorites is a guy by the name of Tyler Wright. In hockey circles, he was what was known as an agitator. A guy with a mix of hockey skill and grit, but whose true value to the team is his ability to get under the skin of the opponent either to get them off their game or more beneficially into the penalty box. Tyler excelled in this role, and soon became a favorite among the local fans.

But it was his work off the ice that really made Tyler stand out. Mr. Wright joined the CBJ in their inaugural season (2000-2001) and took the opportunity to establish (in conjunction with The Blue Jackets foundation) "Hats for Heroes" as a charitable foundation benefiting the fight against pediatric cancer and other life threatening illnesses.

Hats for Heroes sells hats with the proceeds going to the foundation, which uses these funds to positively impact the lives of the children and families impacted by these diseases. Blue jackets players sign some of the hats, allowing the foundation to raise even more money for the cause.
This is a cause I very much believe in. The Jacket Backers make an annual donation to the CBJ Foundation helping to provide funds used for projects like the Family Resource Center at Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Now that I've given you the background, here's the hook: Tyler Wright is going to take on the 2010 Subaru Ironman Canada as a fundraiser for Hats for Heroes. Tyler has no experience as a triathlete, and though he's long had this goal, he's never acted on it before. He has partnered with Blackberry and Trek to help with the training and equipment needs of "Team Tyler".

I'm not normally one who asks folks to donate to a cause. When I make donations to charity, I feel the only ones who need to know are Rach and myself (oh, and Uncle Sam!). But this is a combination of a person, a cause, an organization, and 2 sports I very much believe in. And with Rebecca's recent passing, I am more willing to put aside my discomfort in asking others to join in the fight. If you have it in you and in your wallet to make a donation to Team Tyler, you can do it here.

I've inquired about interviewing Tyler for the blog, and I'm hoping to hear back soon. I'd love to get some of his thoughts as his training starts to get serious. I've interviewed him in the past for the Jacket Backers, and he's a down to earth guy with a wicked sense of humor. Either way, I'll definitely be passing along updates and making a donation.


- We followed up yesterdays AM swim with a short bike. 4.5 miles at less than race pace. I'm still getting that stange clicking when I pedal while putting any weight on the handlebars. I'm going to thoroughly look the bike over tonight to figure that out.

- Sand in your wetsuit is a bad thing. It means either a very uncomfortable next swim, or intentionally getting 10 pounds of neoprene wet and hanging it to dry in a small bathroom. Not my idea of a good time.

- Rachelle's last final for the semester was this morning. Nothing other than another day of work standing between us and the triathlon. We're headed out to Hopkinton to pick up our entry packets on Saturday. We'll be scouting for parking as well as getting a basic layout of the course.

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