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, December 2, 2009

Take A Deep Breath And Read The Fine Print

Some friends outside of the immediate area enjoy borrowing my posts; I guess every so often I manage to transcend the personal & slide right into the universal. Doesn't happen as often as I like, but when a good post is borrowed I really appreciate it.
If you've ever read a piece of literature or an article - or for that matter, a blog post - without looking closely into the perspective or the context under which it was written you might miss the point. Sometimes I have to point the reader to a piece of literature, a song, or a movie in order for them to understand exactly what I'm talking about. I've had friends tell me, or more often, my wife, 'you know, he's a good writer but sometimes we don't have a clue exactly what he's talking about.'
The main page of my blog has a disclaimer I adapted from one on the weblog of two-time Olympic medalist Simon Whitfield. In essence, it says: 'dude, this is my opinion. Take it with the amount of salt needed to be palatable.' My wife is wise enough to ask me to clarify. My father has read enough missives from me in the past three decades to translate (now you know why the Bible can be so hard to interpret?). Most other people only read a piece of what I've written then go off on a tangent, have a conniption fit, & set out to prove me wrong.
My friend Kevin Spain is a sportswriter for a large newspaper. There are certain times of the year he has no lack of material for the on-line & print versions. Other times he looks for something that's a little more out of the ordinary. Occasionally he borrows from me, or asks me to write something on a topic which he feels the need for coverage. I'm not one to deny the request of a friend. A blog post of mine about a Red Dress Run & my observations was decent enough to make the electronic world. I harbor no fantasies of being a big-shot writer, much less a big-shot coach or a big-shot in the running community, as I was once called by a USATF official in Dunedin. To think my opinions & observations of a very large running/social event (frankly, one of the largest of it's kind in the country!) would hold water with the lumpenproletariat is beyond my understanding.
Hey, I'm just a guy telling my story.
Imagine my surprise last night when I received a couple of e-mails: One was from the organizer of the event in question. Another was from a person who did not provide their affiliation, but must have been a member of the same organization, or all-too-emotionally attached to the event.
The rebuttal from the event organizer was gracious; to the point she wished to provide her side of the story, with a press release about the charitable proceeds of the event. The second e-mail was, er, less-than-gracious, & quite typical of e-mails I've received from members of the organization in question when they feel they've been wrongly maligned. I proceeded to tell the event organizer she missed some of the salient points of my blog, & provided some additional information I left out in the intent of putting a best face on the event.
We all have, some preacher once told me, the opportunity to influence 150 people. We have close enough relationships with that many persons; most will not hesitate to speak well of the good customer service situations, or restaurant experiences, or holiday trips, or running events. Same goes for bad experiences - those 150 can be influenced to be a future customer or to never darken the doorstep of your business. I didn't want to tell this event organizer I would be a dissuading influence on her event, but merely a single customer who decided his preferences would lie somewhere else for that particular event in the future.
After the second e-mail, I decided on dissuasion. I can spend the same amount of money in that town; stay at the same hotel, & have as good a time as a spectator...better, actually...than as a participant. And I told the event organizer thus.
That's the joy of capitalism. Sometimes the hired help shoots management in the foot.

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