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, May 4, 2009

The More You Complain...

...The Longer God Lets You Live. - Bumper Sticker

One of the first things I love/hate to do immediately after a local running event is to read the bulletin board for the local running organization. I am amused & appalled, all at the same time, by the commentaries. Traditionally these are the posts you end up seeing:
1. Looking For Results. - This person may (or may not) know the event was produced by someone other than the organization who hosts the bulletin board, & doesn't check the web site for the race management company who did time/score the race. Diagnosis: Benign lack of knowledge. Treatment: Education on who scored the event, taken every six months. Prognosis: No known cure.
2. Where's My Award? - this person couldn't stick around for the age group awards because they had to work, didn't want to spend time around a bunch of people drinking light beer at 9:30 in the morning on a Saturday, or knew if they stayed and had beer at 9:30 in the morning they would be completely useless for the remainder of the afternoon. Doesn't matter the award is a nondescript beer glass with no specific year, age or place information (I used to complain about that before, but now, as a race director I learned it's a way to keep the award costs down.), or worse, a nylon ribbon with no race information on it...they want that piece of swag; they need that piece of swag for their I Love Me wall. Diagnosis: Low-grade isolationism. Treatment: Proxy award recipient, taken as needed. Prognosis: Curable, usually by attending evening events or events where beer is not served.
3. You Timed/Scored Me Wrong. - When the individual participant's time doesn't match exactly with their Timex Ironman. I've seen some discrepancies of 10 seconds for every three minutes it takes to run a mile, on average, for which I have no clue. Sometimes I think it's human/computer interface, sometimes I think it's 50 cycles versus 60 cycles of power...again, something for which I have no clue. I once thought bandits were the reason, then I figured 'dude, there'd have to be a lot of banditry to put an ever-increasing margin of error across the board...' Of course, in my humble opinion, as long as you get my score correct (first master, first age group, second age group, whatever...) I'll can accept my own timing & overlook yours. Diagnosis: Multifactorial time-space-training continuum dysfunctionality. Treatment: Popsicle stick/three-by-five card scoring system, take for next three mid-summer races. Prognosis: Presumably non-fatal, but replacement of wanna-be professional chip with amateur chip may be needed in two years.
4. Race Organizer Done Me Wrong. - This could be something as simple as not announcing a name correctly during the awards, to a perceived slight, to not getting the right sized t-shirt...not enough beer...stale bagels...cold chicken chicken wings...and the list goes on...and on...and on... Diagnosis: Sub-acute Nominally-Anonymous Running Know-It-All Yahoo B@stard (abbreviated: "SNARKY B@stard"). Treatment: IP search, followed by clumsy bludgeoning until apology elicited.
The postings become more & more anonymous, & more inflammatory as you move further down the spectrum from 'can you help me find the results?' to 'why was so-and-so (in my humble opinion) acting like a jerk?' I haven't figured why someone with an axe to grind (all right, that's me on some occasions...) takes their frustrations out on someone in a bulletin board without having the decency to either say it constructively or to identify themselves positively.
I guess it's always more fun for the knucklehead who posts anonymously on a bulletin board to be the one who throws the grenade into the crowded conference room. Rather than saying: 'dude, this race s*cked because this wasn't done; where can I help out to make the event better next year?' they say, 'dude, this race s*cked.'
In defense of most race organizers, they're trying often to do the right thing; make certain nobody gets hurt, then make certain people have a good time...usually in that order. Usually the people who are posting derogatory, anonymous posts are a very small minority, the ones you would not mind not showing up to your next race because they'll never be happy & you'll never be able to encourage them to help out with an event...see the other side of the fence.


Happy 69th Birthday, Dad. I'll do 69 minutes on the treadmill in your honor tonight.

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