No different to the vast majority of BMX parents Australia-wide, Glenn Eden & wife Janelle put it all on the line for their kids. They are committed to BMX. Past Legends of the Month have been club officials and long-time volunteers. This time around, we highlight the hard-working families.
BMX? That’s not a sport. It’s time to put your head down and work on your golf swing or your cricket skills.
Life could nearly have been so different for passionate Cairns BMX Club member Glenn Eden, if his parents had their way.
Golf, when Glenn was in his teenage years, was all about long socks, silence and was an old school gentleman’s game. Despite playing off an outstanding handicap of six at the age of sixteen, Eden wasn’t like his peers. He liked music and having the radio turned up loud.
When you think of a keen BMX rider being forced into golf at a time when it was all about a stiff upper lip and pompous attire, you can’t help but have a laugh. It conjures up thoughts of a rebellious Chazz Michael Michael’s in the hit comedy ‘Blades of Glory’.
Fictional figure skater Chazz Michael Michaels couldn’t be contained by the traditions of his sport, just like Glenn Eden was made for more than traditional sports
Essentially, Eden was a square peg in the round hole of traditional sports. Had it not been golf, a chance to play cricket for Queensland in his teens beckoned. But like chipping a ball onto a green, the cricket whites weren’t for him either.
And so just like that, a talented sportsman walked out on sport.
Eventually he focused on family and met his wife Janelle. Together they have three children – Jemma, Flynn and Portia – and it was when the family came along that BMX came knocking on the door, for real this time, not just as a dream.
First it was Jemma, who at 14-years-of-age decided that she wanted to give the sport a go. Flynn followed, Glenn was next and then at the age of two-years, three months and two days old Portia got on the bike too. In total, just nine-months had elapsed from Jemma starting to when four of the five family members were hammering on the pedals.
At the point when Portia became involved, there were no strider bikes to be seen. She got straight on the bike, and Glenn said that he had a bit of a feeling that this sport might have been made for his youngest daughter.
“I had an inkling that she might be talented,” Eden surmised.
“I never thought she would be as good as she is, but after her first worlds it was Luke Madill who suggested she could be a champion. But I didn’t think much of it, as we were only five-years into the sport at that point.”
Like many families there is more to participating in BMX than simply rocking up to the track and riding. Powering the Eden family along from the start has been Glenn’s wife Janelle, who keeps the ship moving and switches between roles of chief organiser, supporter and motivator. As Glenn noted, it’s Janelle who gently pushes team Eden back to the track, even when they might not feel like it.
Squad goals, the Eden family have their own BMX track at home!
It may sound like tough love, but at times a gentle push in the right direction is just the tonic when there are so many benefits to a life involved in BMX.
“I think a lot of families are spending tens of thousands on BMX each year,” Glenn continued.
“My wife and I were talking about it the other day, whether we would take back the past six-years of BMX and travelling around the world. We looked at each other and both said, ‘no way’. We have seen some amazing places.”
Glenn and Janelle commit to their children, which means a commitment to BMX. In recent times much of the focus has been Portia, who recently claimed gold in the 11-girl’s race at the 2018 UCI BMX World Championships.
Their commitment and passion for their kids was exemplified at this year’s worlds in Baku, Azerbaijan when Glenn was filmed avidly supporting Portia as she raced for the #W1 plate. Hot-footing on the spot and finally leaping into the air with joy, the video shows sheer jubilation of a parent thrilled that his daughter achieved a major goal.
Glenn doesn’t mind that the video has gone from a post on social media, all the way to the nightly TV news bulletin. According to him, it simply shows what he loves about BMX.
“I love the sport and everything about it,” Eden boasts.
“I like the challenge of doing something that might scare you. I love the challenge of being there only to better yourself. If you can go to the track and leave knowing you’re better than when you’ve arrived, then you are getting something out of the sport.
“At the world championships you see raw emotion. Win or lose, riders put it all on the line. It’s also a chance to meet new people.
“But more than anything else, I love watching Portia ride. Worlds this year was a moment in time where she won, and you can’t buy that moment with all the money in the world…you just can’t buy that.
“BMX to me is good, clean, family fun…and by clean, I mean there’s no smoking and drinking at events, it’s legitimately clean. Everyone can be involved.”
If you have someone who you think deserves to be highlighted as BMX Australia’s ‘Legend of the Month’, get in touch and email firstname.lastname@example.org