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.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Humiliation as a Means of Teaching Humility?

Well, lately it's become painfully obvious to me people (Other than my family - thanks, Dad, for the compliments! I guess you've read enough stuff in the past seventy years to know what you're talking about...) do follow what I write here. So what if the blog is dull? Just because I write here doesn't mean I possess expertise or claim accomplishment at ANYTHING. (There are plenty of self-absorbed bloggers in this world who use their space as a cathartic. why should I be less worthy of that opportunity?) I have no corner on deep secret wisdom with regard to swimming (as my swim coach could tell you!), cycling, or's my way of thinking about what a lot of smart(er) people have theorized, hypothesized, analyzed, pasteurized & cannibalized...trying to boil it down into a (hopefully) more entertaining format. If I could do it in as witty a manner as Chuck (Chuckie V.) Velyupek I might have a few more friends, or at least fewer detractors.
That having been said, it was interesting to read Shane Bacon's article in Yahoo Sports this morning:
"There are times to be competitive. Moments when all you want to do is humiliate your opponent as you defeat him. It's the nature of sports, and what our internal competition meters usually read. That, we all know, is how athletes feel most of the time. But, at times, and these are few and far between, we see acts that defy wins and losses. A moment when a girl is brought in on crutches to score a layup to break a record or someone being carried around the field after she twisted her ankle rounding the bases. Opponents coming together to transcend the game. That is what happened between two collegiate golfers, vying for a spot in the NAIA National Championship. A sophomore at the University of St. Francis had locked up a spot in nationals with his team, which won the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship, but was in a playoff against an Olivet Nazarene golfer for individual honors. As championships go, both the winning team and winning individual are asked to move on to nationals, so if the St. Francis golfer won the playoff against the Olivet golfer, he'd be honoring both spots. What happened next is the type of stuff movies are made about. The St. Francis golfer stood over his tee shot on the first playoff hole, looked down the fairway and back at his ball, and hit it 40 yards right of the fairway, out of bounds by a mile. He made double bogey, the other golfer made par, and Olivet Nazarene had a man in nationals. What makes it so incredible?
The St. Francis golfer felt his opponent had earned a spot in the next round.
"We all know him very well, and he not only is a very good player, but a great person as well. He’s a senior and had never been to nationals. Somehow, it just wasn’t in my heart to try to knock him out. I think some people were surprised, but my team knew what I was doing and were supportive of me. I felt he deserved to go (to nationals) just as much as I did. It was one of those things where I couldn’t feel good taking something from him like this. My goal from the start was to get (to nationals) with my team. I had already done that."
Too many times we read about cheap shots or fights or cheaters, and it is stories like this that make it all seem petty. A golfer simply knew his place, was comfortable with where he was, and thought that a senior, playing in his final tournament as a collegiate golfer, had done enough to earn one more week with the game he loved. I'm not a big believer in karma, and I'm sure the story won't end the way it should, but if the St. Francis golfer somehow won nationals, it would make for a really nice screenplay. He did what most of us would never do, and although he is short a trophy in his case, he earned respect from anyone reading this story." One thing I will never be accused of is sugar-coating my own foibles. I lay out my mistakes & weakesses, my warts & battle scars, all to hopefully save some other well-intentioned runner or entry-level triathlete from falling down the same storm drains from which I continually extricate myself. I think some of the more critical followers of me & this blog fail to read (the same way we mindlessly sign the waiver on race entry forms...but that's another topic altogether...) the disclaimer I shamelessly adapted/borrowed from Canadian Olympic/ITU triathlete & two-time Olympic medalist Simon Whitfield:

Whatever is said here - as with any blog/"tweet"/mountain top announcement - is an opinion, a perspective, a rant, a cry for help; some innocent chest-thumping, painfully-inane humour, useless/useful banter and/or all of the above. Take all that is written within with the amount - grain, shake, shaker or entire box - of salt to make it palatable. Heck, you can even apply that to this disclaimer.
Even the title of this blog is a proviso: I've had many runners ask me questions about training specifics, injuries & events; the first words out of my mouth have always been, 'if I were your coach...' Some even follow & appreciate the advice; a few have even had some success (Ironman finishes & Boston qualifications)...every once in a blue moon I even receive a public thanks...which means a great deal to me.

What I write here is not the sum total of all my foibles, weaknesses & shortcomings. If I were to do that people would mistake me for a negative whiny-butt...& then nobody would ever read it, including my parents. So I really don't feel the need to be more humble, & those who consider it their mission in life to publicly humiliate your efforts.
My friendly neighborhood swimming pool is humility-check enough.

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