Mod­ern pen­tathlon to chal­lenge bud­get

NewsMail - Wide Bay Rural Weekly - - News - LYN IR­WIN-KELLY Jour­nal­ist, mum and farm widow

THE ABA­CUS beads were hard at work in­side the head of my younger daugh­ter.

“That could be the most ex­pen­sive sport ever,” she said in all se­ri­ous­ness while watch­ing the ju­bi­la­tion of gold-medal win­ning pen­tath­lete Chloe Es­pos­ito af­ter her Olympic Games vic­tory.

Miss 13 punches above her weight when it comes to ab­sorb­ing a huge chunk of the fam­ily bud­get, with her ath­let­ics coach­ing fees among the cheap­est on the totem pole of her costly pur­suits.

“Imag­ine hav­ing to own, let alone take with you, a horse, guns and fenc­ing gear, as well as ath­let­ics and swim­ming equip­ment,” she con­tem­plated, re­plac­ing the fam­ily AWD with a ve­hi­cle the size of a fur­ni­ture truck.

Just as well Mr Es­pos­ito is the coach of both Chloe and younger brother Max, although hav­ing him on call would negate his abil­ity to earn an in­come to fund his tal­ented chil­dren’s sport­ing dreams.

Sup­port crew and bank seem to be the pri­mary func­tion of par­ents of chil­dren with any tal­ent what­so­ever and, no mat­ter what she does in her life, I can only be grate­ful Miss 13 did not ap­pear to take se­ri­ously the prospect of be­com­ing a pen­tath­lete.

Mind you, I can pic­ture the out­back pen­tathlon with slight vari­a­tions to the Olympic va­ri­ety. For starters, the fenc­ing I pic­ture would not have an epee in sight and would be more likely in­volve gal­vanised wire, gates and ten­sion which is com­pletely dif­fer­ent from that ex­pe­ri­enced by con­tes­tants of the ilk of the Es­pos­i­tos.

The equine event could in­volve a cut­ting com­pe­ti­tion, but that laser air pis­tol event would have to stay.

It’s a beauty, es­pe­cially com­ing hot on the heels of a run, so the com­peti­tors have to be able to hold their puff­ing long enough to get five clear shots at each time. (I want an elec­tronic thingy like Chloe wore on her head­band.)

The swim might have to take the form of the Hell of the West at Goondi­windi (ie in the river) while the run would have to be up some dry gully some­where, per­haps be­tween the gun club would not be par­tic­u­larly lush.

Even more amaz­ingly, the Olympians com­pete in this gru­elling event in just one day. Track ath­letes have two days to com­plete a de­cathlon.

Hats off to the Es­pos­ito fam­ily, they’ve done the hard yards for many years and well done to Chloe on win­ning gold and young Max for fin­ish­ing sev­enth.

“That could be the most ex­pen­sive sport ever,” she said, watch­ing pen­tath­lete Chloe Es­pos­ito af­ter her Olympic Games vic­tory.

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