A Dream Delayed is not a Dream Denied

By Joseph Campbell | Aug. 14, 2018, 2:12 p.m. (ET)

Joseph Campbell

I’ve been a sports dreamer all my life, and one dream I’ve always had is to compete in an elite sporting event.

This year, at the age of 54, I was finally going to have the chance by competing in the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships Sprint Distance in Cleveland, Ohio.

I focused my training on this event beginning this past June and even did my first open water swim at the Colonial Beach Sprint Triathlon in July in preparation. I could see myself, even with my basic swimming, biking, and running apparel and gear, competing with some of the top age groupers (even if my “competing with” might be from a little ways behind them). 

However, as with many dreams, this one came to an end July 28, when at the end of a 30-mile training bike ride, my left foot popped out of the clip on my pedal, and I slipped right out of the seat. The rest was just physics after that resulting in severe cuts and road rash to my right leg and elbow from the subsequent crash, followed by a frustrating visit to the ER.

My pain at that point was caused more by anger than the actual injury, knowing my elite sporting moment had slipped away. The ER doc and my own physician were all adamant that open wounds and Lake Erie were a no go — meaning a dream delayed.

Of course, to put things in perspective, many others have much more substantial setbacks and challenges to overcome. I'm still blessed with a wonderful family and knowing the great community of triathletes who are very kind and understanding of how life and the "tri-world" are hard to fit together, but worth it.

But, as Winston Churchill said, “Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.”

Like all of you, I can’t go a day without thinking about the thrills and rewards of competing in a triathlon. And now, I can’t go a day without thinking about competing in a Sprint National Age Group Championship, and I’ll be thinking about that all through the next year with the goal of staying upright on my bike to finally make it there. Who knows, maybe I’ll even make it to Internationals.

A dream delayed is not a dream denied. Never give up.

Submit your My Story contributions about your triathlon journey to communications@usatriathlon.org.