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.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Things Aren't Always As They Seem

"There's one guy we don't have to worry about." - Gordon McKenzie, American marathoner, thinking about Abebe Bikila (standing shoeless), before the Rome Olympic Marathon (1960)
The nice thing about sports is it's loaded with irony. The media are not the only ones who tend to get the predictions wrong more often than not (think Bode Miller in Torino rather than Michael Phelps in Beijing), coaches & individual athletes do so, too. While you can make an educated guess as to how well a person is going to perform from the exterior view it's much harder to tell what lies underneath the flesh, dwells within the muscle, bone & nerves of the individual. You cannot measure drive - heart - of an athlete by their physiological data.
One of my favorite training partners in the past five years, if you looked at him before a workout or a race, you would not be a bit impressed. In fact, he always looked more like a misplaced softball player than he did a road racer. I think nearly all my best workouts/races always had something to do with him...and many of his with me. Before a knee injury cut short his career about two years ago, he went on a tear...ended up winning a local half-marathon, ran some great trail ultra-distance races, and such. I miss not having him around to sharpen me up.
Not every athlete exudes what my father once desctibed as bad-ass in three easy lessons. A great case in point can be found in the realm of masters' swimming. A (relatively) slender, cardiovascularly efficient young(er) guy can be on the blocks at a masters' meet next to someone ten years older with a serious case of dunlap disease (the disorder where ones' midsection has done lapped over ones' belt line)...yet the paunchy, hoary one might be the one handing back the @$$ of the younger, relatively svelte, technically less-efficient swimmer at the end of the event. Trust me on this one. I've stood on the deck trying to find a way to graciously stuff my butt cheeks back down into my Speedo after having them handed to me by one of my adipose-enhanced training mates.
Our favorite local beer/bite hangout didn't quite go all-out last night for St. Patrick's Day; they did offer corned beef & cabbage, but we avoided it. It's not that I doubt the uniqueness or the genuine-ness of a place with the last name of O'Brady's, but I knew it would not sit well in my tummy either last night or this morning...especially this morning, in the pool... They did surprise us with some new appetizer items, one of which is a fried calamari, something we don't see much of unless we assault an Italian joint, a place I eat at only under extreme duress. My friend Paul doesn't do calamari, but Suzanne & I will try anything on the menu there at least once to make certain it's not bad. It wasn't the classic overly-chewy squid rings, though. A tad more on the crunchy side, as though they had been fried a little longer than the average bear. However, there was no overwhelming garlic smell/taste (and I like garlic!), nor serious grease...not bad with a side of marinara.
We're approaching the mid-term for our performance system, which means it is high time to do what is better known around here as brag sheets. Unfortunately, with this system, you might be in the walk on water, talk to God realm in all of your duties, but if your duties don't exactly line up with the standards, you are screwed. Yep, you can do all the good things for your fellow employees, your instructors, your courses & the service at large, but if you can't justify it, it's like you did nothing for the past six months but sit on your butt, drink coffee & write blog entries. Oops, I did it again, didn't I?
Is any one else as offended as I by the audacity of big corporations, ostensibly owned now by the federal government (& hence owned by the taxpayer), giving millions of dollars to executives for driving the business into the ground during the previous year? And then, my co-worker tells me some of the executive recipients are people who left the company. Well, I guess that blows the if we don't pay them their bonuses they might leave argument right out of the water, doesn't it?
Oh, & for those of you who don't know the rest of the story: Bikila destroyed the Olympic & world best times for the marathon; McKenzie finished 18th. As Chuck Berry sang: C'est la vie...most days you never can tell...

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