So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lost In Translation

Last night was the local triathlon club's general membership meeting, holiday party, eat, drink, merriment-a-thon, or drunken bacchanal, depending on your particular point of view. Coming two days following the swim group's (post-workout) holiday breakfast & five days following the local running group's mid-week run/social...there were ample opportunities for "translation." Well, more of opportunities to look at the similarities, differences & idiosyncracies of three completely different groups, some of which have intersecting membership sets.
First, swimmers can discuss almost any topic at a conversational tone in a group of people, because they are more likely talking to the closest three or four persons around them. The next lane, or the next four chairs on either side of them might as well be an entire world away, because it is. I'm only concerned about someone in the next lane if their kicking gets as strange as mine is once fatigue sets in...or if they're doing the backstroke (of course, my lane-mates are more scared of me during the backstroke section of a workout than they are any other lane).
Runners are going to speak at the top of their voice, especially because everyone else is. That's usually a side-effect of alcohol, I realize; give a runner a couple (or a couple too many) beers & they feel the irrational desire to announce all sorts of embarrassing stuff to the entire world. Most of the time they are fortunate & nobody hears a thing...once again, the rest of the room is all at a near-bellow to their closest companions. The only time anything really scandalous is revealed is if someone with the lack of impulse control hears it & passes it along to their group of fellow curiosity compulsives...that's how mass communication (and unearned reputations) happens. The only other time is when something is blurted out as the volume wanes in all the other groups. Happens every once in a while, with humorous (if you're the hearer) or disastrous (if you're the speaker) consequences.
If you're a leader, forget having announcements at the meetings of either one of these two groups. The former group wants to save their oxygen; the latter group would prefer you not shout & utilize more than your fair share of the same.
The announcement portion of last night's triathlon group meeting was done at a good time; all of the meeting participants had enough time to consume at least one adult beverage. But we weren't three sheets to the wind, nor in a room where we couldn't hear each other converse. Pragmatic conversation. Of course, there was also good food at hand, so we wanted to get our fill before the main portion of the meeting; the white elephant gift exchange. Probably the most civil game of "dirty Santa" I've ever experienced.
I guess when half of the white elephant items are alcoholic & the other half are practical items for the average triathlete (yep, a pragmatic bunch!) civility will abound. That's probably the joy of dealing with most triathletes...the drafting rule from most event bike legs often carries over into the other aspects of their lives. It would be interesting to see how a triathlete drives to the mall or deals with the struggle for a parking space. Bet they take the space nearest the exit.

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