By Tim Sullivan

Run. Bike.  Swim.  Do your homework.  So it goes for Matthew Davis of Sandy Springs, who is in 4th grade at Holy Innocents School. Matthew turned 11 on Valentine’s Day and is the eldest of the three Davis children (Champ, 8 and Brooke, 18 months).  He is serious about his sports and here he talks about tackling the physical and mental challenges of a triathlon, small calves and beating Dad.

For most 11 year olds dedication means mastering a video game.  But you, my 21st century friend, are a triathlete.  Ok young Matthew, explain yourself.

Triathlon is more fun, more active, and better for you than sitting around playing video games and getting dumber. Every kid, though, should have a little video game time. Call of Duty on X-box is awesome.

So I hear. When I was 11 it was Pac-Man and Space Invaders. Equally awesome! What part of the triathlon comes easiest to you and which one do you have to work the hardest at?

The easiest part is definitely the bike because the bike does some of the work for you. The hardest part for me is the swim because I’m not a swimmer and don’t practice enough.

What has been your favorite race thus far and how did you do?

My favorite race was Iron Kids because the run was on a trail, so there was a lot to see. I liked doing it with a lot of other kids. I did Tri for Tourettes and it was cold and raining and not as much fun. I finished both races and felt good!

Do you have any other triathlons on the calendar that you are looking forward to?

I am hoping that I can do Iron Kids 2012.

When I was a 4th grader in Catholic school the sports trilogy went something like kickball-dodgeball-wiffle ball.  Is training for triathlons too serious an endeavor for a kid?

It depends. If you really put your mind to it, you definitely can make the time to train.  You have to really want it and dedicate yourself to training if you want to do it.  Most of the races are in the summer when you don’t have to worry about school or homework, so it’s easy to find time to train.

I hear you set goals for yourself with workouts consisting of things like sit-ups, pushups and calf raises. How many pushups can you do in a row?

Forty. Once, someone told me that my calves were small, so I did 400 calf raises. I could hardly walk for days.

That’s why I only do sets of 395!  Your mom (Christa) told me you beg to be woken up at 5:30 am to go for a run with her but she won’t do it because you need your sleep. Care to make a very public counterpoint?

I’ve told her so many times that it’s the only time I have because of my other sports and school homework, but she hasn’t woke me up that early yet.  Maybe one day.

Your other sports include football, baseball and basketball in the Northside Youth Organization out of Chastain Park. Who does your homework for you while you pursue a career in athletics?

Lucky for me, we have study hall at my school so I try to get most of it done before I even get home. My mom gets really mad if I save any of my homework to do after practice.

What’s 90 percent of 150?  What’s the state capitol of New York?  Which planet is closest to the sun? (Just checking).

Uhh… can I use a calculator?  Just kidding. 135, Albany and Mercury (I looked that one up).

Fair enough. Have any of the major sports outfitters come calling to sponsor you yet?

I wish I could get sponsors. That would be so cool!

Word on the street is that your dad (Matt) is a pretty good triathlete as well.  How old do you think you’ll be the first time you beat him?

Probably like 18 or 20.  I think he’ll slow down and I’ll get faster.

Well, with an 8-year-old brother named Champ, you might have other competition in the family too! Best of luck Matthew.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

10 replies on “Intown Runaround: Run, Bike, Swim, Homework”

  1. Mathew, I admire your dedication, just remember to have fun dear not to lose your childhood and remember to be a kid. I hope to one day get to see one of your races! On a further note, I have been inspired to began to do some modest training and work out. Someday maybe I too can be able to make it through a triathlon! “but, I doubt it!” 🙂 Way to go kido!

  2. Mathew, I admire your dedication, just remember to have fun dear not to lose your childhood and remember to be a kid. I hope to one day get to see one of your races! On a further note, I have been inspired to began to do some modest training and work out. Someday maybe I too can be able to make it through a triathlon! “but, I doubt it!” 🙂 Way to go kido!

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