Over the past four years since the inception of Fiera Race Team, it has often been suggested that we change the name to remove the word “Team”. The reason given for this suggestion is that the word implies exclusivity, and elite level competitiveness, and so, intimidates potential members who are not at an elite level of competitiveness. Officially we are Fiera Race Club, if that helps.
Because I have heard these suggestions so frequently, I have to admit that it is an issue. However, I am stubborn, and despite continued pressure, I insist that the word “team” is a positive thing. Frankly, I love seeing the word TEAM on our Jersey because to me it means a group of people working together to common goals – in our case these goals are physical activity, fitness, camaraderie, charitable works, enhanced community. In no way is the team meant to be exclusive or imply the requirement of a high level of skill or commitment on the part of our members. Anyone is welcome, no try-outs, no expectations.
When my nephew was 5, he was afraid of the letter “Y”. With so many things in the world to be afraid of, he chose the letter “Y”, not the small letter “y” mind you, just the big letter “Y”. As much as his family acknowledged and respected his fear of the big bad “Y”, they couldn’t really protect him from it because there wasn’t really anything to protect him from. I feel the same way about protecting potential club members from the word “Team”, its not possible.
Frankly, if you have never done it before, racing is intimidating, and so is joining a new club and meeting a bunch of people who already know each other. Wether we call ourselves a team, a club, a coalition, a committee, a gang, a pack, a heard, a flock or a gaggle, it is still going to be a little scary. You are going to feel like you don’t belong, and as if everyone around you knows that you are new………for about five minutes. It is those 5 minutes that people fear, not the word “Team”. I know this first hand. It took me over a year to work up my courage to walk in to a bike shop and say the words, “so……..can anyone join your club?” That was honestly one of the most important moments of my life, as it began an exciting adventure of friendships, fitness and competition that has provided a richness and balance to my life that I am not sure I would have found otherwise.
We are a Team, and for me that means that I don’t have to be fast, or win, or race at every opportunity or in every discipline — because as a member of a team, I share in the successes of everyone else on my team. For me, the fact that we are a team takes the pressure off and makes racing less intimidating. The fact that the word Team seems to cary negative connotation punctuates for me what is wrong with sport in general, and rather than cave in and stop referring to our club as a team, I am more inclined to dig my heals in and try to reclaim the word Team as the positive thing I believe it to be.
Finally, if you are considering joining our club, make sure you check out the About Us page on this website. I think we do a good job there explaining what the team is all about. In my opinion, there is no better club out there for a relaxed, no pressure attitude toward racing and competition. Now watch this, and then sign up.
See you at the starting line.