I’ve been getting really in to sports lately and the main reason is because sports is one of the last thing in the world where narratives aren’t constructed. Take TMZ for example – TMZ is basically one giant factory of narrative. Every TMZ story is essentially as follows: “This happened and you should care about it”. After a while, everyone hits that realization and thinks “why am I reading this”?
Sports are different. Every single game has a protagonist and an antagonist and it all depends on your preconceptions, based on a multitude of factors (geographical location, perception of players, bandwagonism, etc.) and the objectives are clear. You want your team to fuck over the other person’s team in a the most brutal and soul crushing way possible. The narrative is built in because there will be a winner and a loser.
But what about running? In my last post, I talked about the website that I had made for my friend Aimee about her running club The Night Terrors which is a group of people that run together. The website I built was designed to build some unity through a shared experience and showcase that unity to the world.
So now we need an antagonist.
If you’ve ever seen the movie “The Warriors” you’ll immediately get this concept, but if you haven’t, this it it in a nutshell:
- You have your crew.
- You go around town claiming territory.
- Anyone that takes your territory is toast.
- That’s it.
The team concept is easy enough. But territory is a little harder. I started brainstorming about what possible way you could apply the concept of territory to this activity, and what came out was the idea of using the APIs of running trackers (Nike+ will be the first one that we’ll be using) and mapping it out on Google Maps. This concept of plotting your run isn’t new or revolutionary, but what is unique is merging your running data with a “team” and mapping that data against other teams.
The final product will be something like this:
Step 1. You log in to the site using Nike+, which will then take your running GPS data.
Step 2. Your data will be pooled into your team.
Step 3. Your team’s data will be plotted in a certain colour over google maps. The other team’s data will do the same.
Step 4. The overlapping streets on a map will be a mixture of colours and the only way to claim that street back is to run over it more. Or alternatively you can choose to roam on the uncontested territory and get a larger piece of the street.