Monday, April 11, 2011

Let's go back to the beginning....

How the Fighting Tortugas came to be. I'll try to be brief. After doing the Wasatch Back with a team of complete strangers and seeing the great potential of how fun a relay race could be my sister, Cali, and I wanted to share that horribly, exhaustingly, awesome experience with a team that would actually care about each other. Not that our Utah team didn't care, we just didn't know each other and didn't have the camaraderie we saw other teams exhibiting. So when we found out that there would be a relay in Florida, where we just happen to have family, we (and by we I mean Cali who is the obsessive planner of the family) began plotting, planning and cajoling all those who could possibly be interested in running the Florida Keys. We began with family. Brothers and sisters, in-laws and out-laws, and when we were 3 people short Jacob managed to round up a few friends who were Florida locals.
Since it was Florida we wanted a team name that expressed who we were and what we stood for and had something to do with pirates. Somehow we ended up with Fighting Tortugas which did none of that and had half the team complaining that all they could picture was the ninja turtles. But since we were already registered we went with it.
Since then we have worked with our image and other than the "Turtles Don't do Drugs" banner that decorates at least one van each race we stay away from the ninja turtle connotation. Everyone knows our vans by the 4 foot inflatable turtles strapped to the roof and, at night, the disco ball. This last race we added bubble machines (bubbles just make people happy). We may not be the fastest, but we try to be the friendliest. We cheer for everyone and anyone and as Jason told one of the race directors, "We're going for the Congeniality award". (FYI there wasn't one, he was hoping they would add it.)
When we finally finished our first race after overcoming incredible obstacles we realized that we truly were fighting tortugas. We weren't fast, but we kept going and we encouraged each other and pushed ourselves to the limit and finished the race.
As the opportunity for more races come up we want to continue in that spirit of fun, family and friendship and although we strive to be competitive and eventually win, we know that sometimes just finishing the race is winning.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Calling all Tortugas

So far the Fighting Tortugas have officially done two races, but considering those races have involved 20 team members and 9 drivers/volunteers (some participating in both races) and those individuals are scattered across the country. I thought it would be nice to have a "Tortuga central" where we can compare notes, share stories, and invite others when someone needs a team for something. So the storytelling begins tomorrow and I will probably be poaching photos and stories from my facebook and daily mile friends. If you want to be a contributor just let me know and I'll add you in. Remember it's about having fun on the way to the finish and finishing no matter what.